Climate change and communication: meet Charuni Pathmeswaran

Charuni Pathmeswaran is an environmental science PhD candidate at the Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC) (affiliated with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes) at UNSW. Charuni is an accomplished UNSW Woman in Maths and Science Champion who is passionate about science communication and regularly engages with the public on issues related to climate change.

Charuni has always loved spending time outdoors. As a young child, she had a great curiosity in the environment. This interest led her to pursue studies in climate science. Charuni obtained her undergraduate degree in environmental science at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. During her degree, she undertook research on the impact of extreme weather events on coconut productivity. She then received a competitive Commonwealth scholarship to complete a Masters degree in climate change science and policy at the University of Bristol in the UK. Following her Masters, Charuni moved to Sydney to commence her PhD at the CCRC, where she is investigating potential links between co-occurring terrestrial and marine heatwaves. 

Charuni’s research in climate science could not be more topical. Charuni enjoys discussing her research with the public and has always had an avid interest in communicating science in simple yet effective terms. During her undergraduate degree she contributed science communication articles to a university-run blog and often received positive feedback from her peers who enjoyed reading her posts. Along with many other scientists, Charuni now regularly uses Twitter to communicate her science. As Charuni is a climate change expert, I asked if she had advice for individuals wanting to lead more eco-friendly lives. She emphasises that one of the most effective ways for individuals to take action is by voting for sustainable policies.

Charuni explaining climate change to a classroom of primary school students

During her free time Charuni explores the outdoors through coastal and bush walks. She also enjoys reading books and trying new recipes. 

I finished our interview by asking Charuni if she had any words of advice for young women interested in pursuing a career in STEM. She recommends making the most of any and every opportunity that comes your way. Charuni explains that she has had some of the best experiences of her career when she has pushed herself outside her comfort zone.

To find out more about Charuni’s research, follow her on Twitter.

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