Analogue leadership in a digital world

Berivan Esen
Doughton Scholar
2016 – 2018

Berivan completed her PhD at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. Berivan is an astrobiologist, interested in the search for life (or its remains) on Mars, with a focus on the analytical techniques used in these efforts.

In 2019, Berivan undertook a Science Policy Fellowship with the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), based in Westminster. There she led the research and writing of a POSTnote, on the topic of “Remote sensing and machine learning”

What has your Fellowship enabled you to do, explore, or gain that you wouldn’t have otherwise?

The Fellowship allowed me to focus my energy and attention entirely on my PhD project rather than its funding, especially during the crucial first year as I transitioned into the program and developed the questions which would provide the critical framework for the next few years. The Fellowship, especially conversations with Anni (one of the founders), also helped me enter this stage in my career with a greater sense of balance and a vision for what I wanted this experience to be. With the support of the Fellowship, I feel that I am proactively creating/curating my professional experiences rather than reactively being pulled along by them.

What impact has your Fellowship had on your ability to lead in the 21st century?

At this early stage, the Fellowship has broadened the landscape of questions for me. Questions like, what does leadership mean for me? And, how might I want to develop those leadership skills moving forward? Through contemplation of these questions, the Fellowship has developed my confidence in viewing myself as a leader. I have had time to think mindfully about myself in a leadership role and the ways in which I might pursue different kinds of leadership as a long-term endeavour. The Fellowship has also given me a support network of international and interdisciplinary peers, with a rich set of experiences that I can turn to with regard to leadership questions moving forward.

How do you imagine your Fellowship will impact on your personal and professional growth in the next chapter of your life?

While I cannot predict the impact that connections forged by the Fellowship might have on my future, I am excited to be a part of this community. The values that drive this Fellowship are a force for good in the world. The immediate impact of being part of this community is most evident after meetups and discussions I have with Fellows and Intersticia Founders. Following these meetings, I feel motivated and eager to put new insights into action and to further explore those which are less clear. I feel supported and inspired to support the other Fellows, to work together and to be open to opportunities for future collaboration.

Berivan has recently commenced a three month UK Government Science Policy Fellowship with the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), based in Westminster. She is leading the research and writing a POSTnote, to be published online and distributed to ministerial and shadow ministerial teams as well as relevant Government departments, on the topic of “Remote sensing and machine learning for environmental monitoring and will include elements of Application of remote sensing to water resource management.”