Meet Jennie Lundquist – iEarths new PhD student at UiT

My name is Jennie Lundqvist and I partly owe my PhD position at The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) to a starfish from the North Sea. When I began my academic journey, my eyes were set on studying marine biology at the University of Gothenburg. At that point I did not know that there was a discipline called geoscience, but I did not have to wait long to discover it. In the middle of my first semester, I was introduced to a course in oceanography and I came to learn two important things about myself.

First, I did not want to dissect living starfish from the North Sea and second, I wanted to learn more about waves, currents and the ocean. So, I went from studying marine biology to studying physical oceanography and since then I have been stuck in the field of geoscience. Alongside my interest in geoscience, I have always had a passion for how individuals experience the world around them and  how they learn. This passion for individuals’ experiences and learning lead me to discover the field of geoscience discipline-based educational research (geo-DBER). Thanks to Karl Ljung at Lund University, I was given the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in geo-DBER which I began in the fall of 2019. In my master thesis, I focused on how individuals experience the phenomenon of geological time.

In January 2021 I began my PhD employment at UiT and my PhD project is tied to iEarths’ progress domain 2 with focus on students’ learning processes. Within this domain I would like to explore the area of disciplinary generic skills in geoscience and gain a deeper understanding for the formation and development of spatio-temporal skills in geoscience (known as spatio-temporal competency). I am interested in the spatio-temporal perspective of geoscience education because it plays a central role in students’ experience of geoscience and their ability to solve ill-structured problems. In order to experience and understand the immense spatio-temporal scales involved in geoscience students must move from the concrete to the abstract, they must go from being able to see and touch a phenomenon to being able to only imagine the phenomenon in their minds. Beyond this, students also need to use an array of different representations, for example, equations, diagrams, satellite photos, and computer models, in order to experience and communicate their understanding of a geoscientific phenomenon, such as plate tectonics or the impacts of climate change. By choosing this perspective on progress domain 2, I can also build on the knowledge I gained from my master thesis and explore the formation and development of spatio-temporal competency in geoscience through theoretical frameworks, such as social semiotics, phenomenography, and the variation theory of learning.

I am excited to see where this next step of my geoscience journey will lead me, and I look forward to work together with not only my supervisors Anders Schomacker, Anders Ahlberg and Urban Eriksson but also the community in iEarth, Lund University Physics Education Research (LUPER) group and all the interesting people who are still unknown.