- Graduate Students
Sarah Buckland is a Jamaican interdisciplinary researcher with a background spanning Bible evidence, Spanish language studies and the environmental and social sciences. Sarah’s multidisciplinary interests were evident from an early age, which led her to be heavily involved in impactful and knowledge-based co-curricular activities, including captaining 12 separate quiz teams from preparatory and high schools, Immaculate Conception Environmentalists and Tutoring programmes, preceding her journey to the Faculty of Science and Technology, The University of the West Indies, Mona. Despite her journey to The UWI being preceded by various health and financial challenges, Sarah’s primary motivations for her work, was founded in her faith in God, family support and a zeal to positively influence society.
Sarah’s UWI journey commenced in 2012, with a cross-faculty Bachelor of Science degree in Geography (Major) and Spanish (Minor) with First Class Honours. Building upon this foundation, she embarked on her MPhil/PhD programme in Geography in 2015. Sarah’s PhD research thesis, ‘Determinants of Drought Risks and Adaptation Response Options in Farming Communities across Clarendon Jamaica’ supervised by Dr. Donovan Campbell (Head, Department of Geography and Geology) was supported by The UWI Research and Publications Grant, UWI Postgraduate Scholarship and Geography Department focused on risks associated with water scarcity and adaptation practices among farmers in one of Jamaica’s breadbasket regions, Clarendon. Her research was strategically timed following one of Jamaica’s most devastating droughts in recent history (2014/2015), which cost the island over a billion dollars, with the hopes that through her research, such losses could be minimised/avoided in the future.
Sarah’s interdisciplinary research is one of the first in the Caribbean to use the IPCC’s Climate Risk Framework to characterize drought risks and impacts at multiple scales in a single study. The outcomes of her research offer practical contributions to enhance anticipatory planning and decision-making at the farm and policy-levels, including identifying specific drought-vulnerable sub-populations and regions, thus informing targeted and efficient resource allocation for future drought adaptation projects. Additionally, Sarah’s research is one of the first empirical assessments of farmers’ experience with multiple available agro-climate service products in Jamaica. Her research revealed a significant gap in climate service uptake among local farmers and that climate information service products with the greatest potential are least accessible. This finding can support decision-makers in their efforts to tailor local interventions to local conditions and effectively target socio-demographic groups that most need climate information service products. These contributions led her being awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Geography with high commendation from the University of the West Indies (2021).
Findings from Sarah’s dissertation have received significant recognition at the national and international levels. Portions of her dissertation have been accepted and published in international peer-reviewed journals (Geoforum and Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography). During her tenure in the MPhil/PhD programme, Sarah has also co-authored three technical papers, including the State of the Caribbean Climate Report published in 2020. Sarah also completed 11 seminar/conference interactions, including eight oral presentations and three poster presentations, both locally and internationally. Sarah was also the recipient of Jamaica’s Prime Minister National Youth Award for Excellence in Academics (2017). CCRIF-UWI Scholarship (2014-2015), and UWI Postgraduate Wall of Excellence (2018). Sarah has also served as a reviewer for various international journals and has collaborated in a supportive research role to several international projects.
In addition to her academic pursuits, Sarah is also heavily involved in Christian ministry and community outreach. She is also a co-contributor to two inspirational books (including ‘Life, Repurposed’, which is available at the UWI Mona Bookstore) and the founder and principal director of an educational and outreach focused non-governmental organization, Chosen to GLOW Ministries, whose mission is to empower and equip generations to live up to their potential and to amplify the Christian voice in the public sphere.
Sarah describes her primary motivations for her work to be founded in her faith in God, family support and a zeal to positively influence society. Perseverance and faith continue to keep her going amidst numerous challenges she has experienced in health and finances along her journey. Sarah encourages everyone to keep focused on their God-given calling, and to use setbacks as steppingstones. She believes that through faith in God, humility and perseverance, any challenge can be surmounted.
Published: December 15, 2021