Zak Baillie has built a strong expertise in climate research throughout his studies at UNSW Canberra and will graduate this year with an Honours degree in Science.  

“I pursued this degree because I wanted to get more hands-on climate research experience. I wanted to complete a project that I designed, saw through and wrote up in the end,” Zak said. 

Zak cultivated and implemented his own research project on climate change, assessing how much we can trust the heatwave projections of high resolution climate models. His research included exploring the link between the frequency of heatwave days in Australia and using this to forecast and predict future climate.


 However, Zak’s research didn’t come without its own set of challenges and hurdles to overcome. 

“My discipline requires you to develop programming skills, which was challenging to learn. There were moments when I wanted to tear my hair out!” Zak said.

“But going through those experiences makes the end feel all the more satisfying. 

“Finishing my thesis was amazing because it was a culmination of so many different things – feelings, thought, thinking, reading, and analysing.”

Zak acknowledges the extensive support of his supervisor Dr Sophie Lewis and the UNSW Canberra Science academics who made his experience with the university highly positive.

“I got lots of little gems here and there in the tearoom and over the printer, so it was a great experience,” he said.

Zak’s experience with the university has set him up with useful knowledge and skills, which will help him in his next steps as he continues extending his expertise as a climate researcher.