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Zak's on top of world in Alpine adventure

Monday 4 April 2016

GEOGRAPHY first-year Zak D’Amelio is off to study Alpine glaciers after winning a highly-prestigious Royal Geographical Society fieldwork apprenticeship.

The 18-year-old flies out to Zermatt, Switzerland this summer to assist in the extensive research of University of Salford professor David Collins.

Zak is one of only six UK undergraduates selected by for an RGS apprenticeship which carries a £2,500 grant plus £500 fieldwork equipment expenses.

Under the guidance of Professor Collins – who has now achieved 40 years of field work in the Alps –Zak will study the effects of rising temperatures on hydrological systems in the glacial environment.

'Meltwater watch'

Professor Collins has been measuring water quality of meltwater in the river draining from Gornergletscher since 1975 to assess impacts of changing climate and declining glacierisation on the hydrology of Alpine rivers.

To assist him this summer, Zak will be taking care of field collection and filtration of samples of suspended sediment and also use optical and other instruments to measure silt transport.

Professor Collins, who has taken approximately 500 students on expeditions to the Alps, Canada and the Himalayas, said: “Zak has done incredibly well given the stiff competition for these research roles. Not only did he interview well but the RGS assessors were impressed with his goals for the future and his enthusiasm for the discipline of geography.”

IMAGE: University of Salford fieldtrips to the Alpine glaciers are a regular feature of our Geography degree course.

For more information about Royal Geography Society apprenticeships, go to