PhD Personal Statement Example: Sustainability Management

Imagine a community where domestic and industrial wastes are dumped on land, in drainages, and in surface waters, causing pollution with negative impacts on air quality and public health. They are health hazards, traffic congestion, unpleasantness, unsightliness and blockage of drainages. This has been a normal practice in many communities since my childhood in Nigeria.

The determination to find enduring solutions to my country’s challenges prompted me to study environmental management at the university. Through my study and research, I have realised a simple solution; caring for the environment by living sustainably, I knew that I had to study within a system or country where the environment is well managed.

It took a lot of sacrifice to gather money to send me to England for my masters degreeMy family had to do their best to send me abroad to obtain my masters degree. The knowledge and skills I acquired at the University were transposed into field practice in my first year of employment as a chemist (2014) at two Power Plants owned by Pacific Holdings Limited in Nigeria. I observed a high level of environmental degradation and conducted an internal environmental audit highlighting areas of non-compliance while stating applicable environmental laws with recommendations.

The report was accepted by the management for implementation and that initiated the transition of the organisation to sustainability. Obtaining a PhD in Sustainability Management from the School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development (SEED), would help to grow as an expert in sustainable innovations considering the quality of research at the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo.

In addition to sustainability strategies, I am interested in climate law and governance as it relates to climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable development, finance, renewable energy, the Sustainable Development Goals, and other related issues. The courses at my master's degree in England (2012) made me see a new world of possibilities and critically rethink traditional approaches to supplier relations, resource use, waste management, and business models.

My membership in the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, England (2018) further enlightened me on practical ways of integrating development projects with environmental and social objectives from local to global levels to achieve sustainability. I then developed a paper; “Managing some of Nigeria’s Environmental Issues,” addressing environmental challenges from different sectors; this was accepted at the state and federal levels.

Having gained field experience from the energy sector, I realised that I still want to contribute more to sustainability research academically while gaining advanced skills professionally. I am excited about the courses and professional development seminars at SEED because I would be able to expand my knowledge of sustainability across various industries and practices. I would like to be supervised by Professor Marie-Claire because her areas of interest align with mine and has performed extensive research with hands-on experience in Climate law and governance. I believe she would be of immense help in guiding my research drawing from her expert knowledge.

Studying at SEED will also help me achieve my goal of starting my non-governmental organisation and helping the vulnerable communities in my country adapt to extreme climatic conditions. This inline would be useful in achieving my long-term goal of being at the forefront of policy formulation in my nation driving sustainability and also contesting for Senatorial office implementing change in the journey to a net-zero economy for the year 2050 and beyond.

According to the Congolese proverb “a single bracelet does not jingle,” my PhD program would also be an opportunity to work together with experts at the Faculty of Environment in finding solutions for ‘transition to a sustainable future’. The analytical, organisational, and technical skills I have developed from previous research (not published), group assignments, volunteering as a peer mentor and other experiences will be valuable to SEED. I am intrigued about studying at Canada's largest Faculty of Environment and also excited about studying at Waterloo; a city driving clean technology while achieving its sustainability goals. Thank you in anticipation, I look forward to being admitted into the University of Waterloo.

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I have a great passion to make my country sustainable, to help the vulnerable communities and create innovations on mitigation and adaptation measures for my country on Climate Change


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