Clara arctic feature

Clara representing EUWRFC and pictured in Svalbard

Women’s Rugby Sports Scholar Clara Nielson heads to the Arctic

Fresh from winning BUCS Gold with the University of Exeter women’s rugby side, Sports Scholar and PhD in Biological Sciences student Clara Nielson is spending 2 weeks in Svalbard as part of an ongoing research project.

Clara is part of a research trip to Svalbard in the Arctic with 2 other members of her Exeter research team including University of Exeter Marine Biologist Dr Kathryn Smith, in conjunction with the company Digital Explorer. As such in addition to undertaking research in microplastics and ocean acidification the team are taking part in Arctic Live 2018, which is a live education stream to connect school children across the country to the UK science expedition team at the UK Arctic Research Station in Ny-Alesund in Svalbard. This includes a series of live investigations, interviews with science and polar expedition team members and an open Q&A session.

Looking ahead to the trip Clara commented “I’m really looking forward to being part of the trip to Svalbard. It’s definitely going to be a unique experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity that is really exciting. Being able to combine my rugby and academics over the past few years at Exeter has been great and to win BUCS gold whilst completing my PhD and going to the Arctic is a year to remember!”.

University of Exeter High Performance Manager Charlotte Hale added “It’s great to see our High Performance athletes not only succeeding within their sport but also doing incredibly well in their academic studies and making the most of the opportunities available to them whilst at Exeter. Clara has been an integral part of our women’s rugby programme throughout her time here and to finish her final year with a PhD and a BUCS Gold is thoroughly deserved”.

Rugby Union is one of the 9 focus sports at the University and Clara has been part of the High Performance Programme throughout her time here. The High Performance Programme offers student athletes a comprehensive support services package including strength and conditioning (S&C), physio, lifestyle workshops (nutrition, employability, sports psychology, time management and goal setting) and individual lifestyle mentoring as required. The aim of the programme is to support students to compete at the highest level within their chosen sport alongside a full time degree programme, ensuring they achieve both academically and within their sport.

Date: 30 April 2018

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