In September of 2015, Dr. Anna Åkesson received her PhD in Hydraulic and Hydrologic Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Anna received her MSc in Environmental Engineering from Lund University, and did her MSc Thesis as a Minor Field Study in Mozambique, with a scholarship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Anna’s PhD was funded by the Swedish hydropower industry, with the ultimate goal of improving peakflow predictions. Her research involved increasing the physical basis in hydrological models of the routing routines, i.e., the hydrodynamical processes that take place in the stream network itself. Anna’s PhD research showed that these improvements are important, particularly for predictions of peakflows of previously non-measured magnitude, for ungauged basins, and during non-stationary conditions, for example, due to climate and/or land use change.
Anna joined ESWN in 2009 at the EGU (European Geosciences Union) meeting in Vienna, and has attended several meet-ups in Vienna and San Francisco, and makes good use of the website and the forums. Anna thinks that ESWN is “a wonderful initiative, and I am very thankful for the efforts made by all the active members.”
During the course of her PhD, Anna has been very grateful for the support of two mentors, one through a mentoring program for female PhD candidates at her university and the other through an initiative of the European Geosciences Union Women in Geosciences Mentoring Programme. Additionally, Anna has had a few brilliant ‘secret mentors’ who have been great role models for her personally (probably without them knowing). Anna strongly recommends having a mentor, and is excited by the possibility of being a mentor herself to a more junior colleague in the future. Anna strongly believes that many academic work environments could benefit from becoming more supportive and encouraging, and she has promised herself to strive towards giving more positive feedback to people around her – especially women.
The opportunity to do a PhD attracted Anna, particularly to have the chance to develop her skills regarding hydrologic modelling. Anna says, “Presently, I do not see myself in academia in the future. Up next, I’ll be trying my wings in consulting, and in the long perspective, I’d like to work with hydrological issues within larger governmental or non-governmental organisations, believing that experiences from both academia and consulting could be very valuable.”
During the time of her PhD, Anna gave birth to her two precious sons, and is very grateful to be living in the country with perhaps the most generous parental leave legislation in the world (each parent has the right to ~8 months parental leave at roughly 80% of your pay for each child). Anna particularly appreciates this after following numerous discussions in the ESWN network. With recently receiving her PhD, Anna is so happy for her degree/thesis as well as her kids, and is very content that she had them during the time of her PhD, as it made her much more effective at work.
In her spare time, Anna is a devoted classical trumpet player, and enjoys spending time in the outdoors.