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Volunteers’ Week: Q&A with Kanzis Mattu

Volunteers’ Week: Q&A with Kanzis Mattu


06 June 2024

This Volunteers’ Week, we continue our celebration of RMetS volunteers via a Q&A session with Kanzis Mattu, Scottish Representative on the RMetS Youth & Early Career Special Interest Group (YEC SIG) and co-chair of the Student & Early Career (SEC) Conference.

We’re grateful and privileged to have the support of Kanzis and other talented early career scientists whose passion, dedication and commitment make a valuable contribution to our mission of advancing weather and climate science for the benefit of all.


Q&A with Kanzis Mattu, Scottish Representative on the RMetS Youth & Early Career Special Interest Group (YEC SIG) and co-chair the Student & Early Career Conference

RMetS: Hi Kanzis – thanks very much for speaking with us today! Why don’t we start with you telling us about your current activities outside of volunteering with RMetS?  

KM: Hi RMetS, thanks for inviting me! Sure, I am a second year PhD student within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow). My current research looks at characterising multivariate compound cold events in the UK and explores how utilising weather patterns could enable impact-based forecasting for these cold events at longer lead times.

As a PhD student my work involves being a researcher, so my time is spent reading, developing methodologies, analysing data and writing up the results.  

RMetS: And what inspired you to volunteer with RMetS?  

KM: As a Scottish student, and with the hub for meteorology in the UK located in the south (Reading/Exeter), I was keen to get involved with RMetS so that I could still be a part of the meteorological community despite the geographical distance. At the RMetS Student & Early Career Conference 2023 I noticed that there was a lack of Scottish representation at the event, with only myself and one other PhD student from the University of Edinburgh. This realisation prompted a discussion with the Youth & Early Career Fellow, and I was subsequently invited to join the Youth & Early Career Special Interest Group as their Scottish Representative. In addition to this I volunteered to be on the organising committee and co-chair the Student & Early Career Conference 2024.  

Kanzis presenting at the RMetS Student & Early Career Conference in 2023.

RMetS: And what do you do as a volunteer at RMetS?  

KM: As part of the YEC SIG I am involved in quarterly committee meetings where I am able to share my thoughts and opinions on ongoing projects and initiatives being run by the group. Most recently I participated in filming videos for the society’s series “Communicating Your Science” where I discuss the different options for sharing your research on social media. Later this year I will be speaking at the “PhD Info” webinar and will share my personal experience of starting a PhD.  

As part of the SEC organising committee, I have been involved in the planning of the event (which will take place this July at Met Office HQ in Exeter). The biggest responsibility associated with this role has been reviewing abstracts and putting together a programme for the three-day event. As a member of the YEC SIG, I am also involved in setting up a social event for the SEC.  

Through both these roles I support the society through social media and word of mouth to promote awareness of events.

RMetS: Have you found volunteering with RMetS helpful?  What kind of benefits do you see from it?

KM: Volunteering with RMetS has allowed me to exercise a range of different professional and soft skills. I was able to work on my media skills by filming videos for the YEC SIG and develop my more critical skills by reviewing abstracts for the SEC conference. Being part of both committees has improved my confidence with sharing my opinion in a professional setting and speaking in front of groups.

It has given me a great sense of satisfaction too, to know that I am contributing to the meteorological community in some capacity. I take pride in acting as a role model for other young mixed-race women in this field and hope that the work I do with RMetS shows that there is a place here for everyone. Volunteering at RMetS has given me an insight into the kind of initiatives and projects that the society is developing as well as providing an excellent opportunity to network with other students and early career researchers.  

I proudly tell people that I volunteer with RMetS and have it featured on my CV and LinkedIn profile (and always have my RMetS tote bag on hand!). I think it’s a great way to make connections within meteorology as RMetS lies at the heart of weather and climate in the UK. 


RMetS: What are some of the projects or activities that you are most proud of or excited about as a volunteer?

KM: I am really looking forward to the Student and Early Career Conference this year as I played a role in organising the event and programme. I will also be chairing some of the sessions – something I never imagined I would have been doing when I first attended the conference last year!  

We had an overwhelming number of abstract submissions this year, so I am excited to hear everyone’s presentations and have a great couple of days networking. 

RMetS: What advice would you give to others who may be thinking of volunteering with RMetS?

KM: My advice to others would be to get involved in any way that you can. Personally, I have found that a huge part of doing a PhD is about networking and RMetS provides an excellent platform to do just that. Being involved with the society has allowed me to participate in fun meteorology related initiatives without being strictly academic – providing a nice break from my studies!

6 June 2024

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