Marzhan Baigaliyeva is a PhD graduate from the University of Nottingham in Geographic Information Science (GIS). Her research focus is water balance modelling for Burabay lakes. Marzhan was born in Semey, East Kazakhstan, and she holds a bachelor degree from East Kazakhstan State Technical University (Oskemen). In 2012, she won «Bolashak» scholarship for studying a postgraduate degree at the University College Dublin in Ireland. Currently, she works at Nazarbayev University, which kindly sponsored her PhD studies at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.
Marzhan defines Geographic Information Science (GIS) as the most efficient and innovative method for environmental studies. Marzhan emphasises the importance of her PhD research for Kazakhstan in managing water resources and natural reservoirs. According to her findings, the water level of Burabay lakes has been steadily decreasing. That is an alarming sign, considering the ecologic role of this particular area as well as investments that are made to develop touristic attractions in Burabay area. Marzhan suggests that water overexploitation and a changing climate are likely to affect water availability in this particular region.
Marzhan believes that every PhD experience is unique. In her personal case, the PhD has improved her as a professional. Doctorate study has contributed to improving her intellectual skills as well as personal qualities. Her attitude to work went through significant changes since working hard for thesis writing increased her self-organisation. At the same time, Marzhan advices to keep a balance between work and personal life.
One of the best things which Marzhan enjoyed during her student life in the UK were independence in conducting the research. Marzhan also noted that staff at the University of Nottingham is professional and extremely helpful for postgraduate students. Overall, Marzhan felt happy during four years of PhD studies, apart from the fact that she missed her family very much.
Looking back and contemplating over the period she spent as a PhD researcher, Marzhan regrets about spending too much time for a literature review. She recommends making some notes during the reading of scientific papers right from the beginning of PhD studies which is likely to save time in the thesis writing-up. In addition, she suggests starting writing literature review only after finishing chapters on methodology and results.
According to Marzhan, the role of Geographic Information Science in Kazakhstan is crucial because it would enormously improve water management and understanding of environmental problems in the country. In Kazakhstan, GIS methods will assist in preventing environmental disasters such as the disappearance of the Aral Sea, which is one of the best-known examples of the environmental, climatic, socio-economic and humanitarian tragedy of Central Asia. Therefore, Marzhan wants to help authorities in the sustainable development of water resources and managing natural reservoirs. Moreover, Kazakhstan is a landlocked country without access to seas and oceans, where water-related problems and water scarcity are likely to arise in the context of changing future climate.
In five years time, Marzhan sees herself working as a Professor at Nazarbayev University, contributing to water management and climate studies for Central Asia.