Profile: Frances Cullen (Manager of Australasia Regional oil and gas activity research team, IHS)

Frankie Cullen.JPGName: Frankie Cullen

Job Role: Manager of Australasia Regional oil and gas activity research team, Tetbury UK

Organisation: IHS

Education Background: BSc Geology from Cardiff University


1. What inspired you to take up a career in the Geosciences?

I always loved Geography at school, particularly physical geography, and I thought it was important to study something at university that I enjoyed. I applied for the Geology course at Cardiff and loved it. I wanted to continue work involving something I enjoyed reading around and researching, so looked for jobs involving my area of study.

2. Can you give more detail about your path to your current job role?

I was lucky enough to get work experience at IHS in the summer before I went to university. When I graduated I applied for jobs with the company and started out as an analyst and researcher. I have since built up my skill set “on the job”, taking on responsibility of presenting to clients and managing people, leading to my current position managing the team of researchers and analysts (mainly geologists!). I think it is important to take opportunities when they arise (even if they don’t necessarily directly lead into other roles/promotion) as it builds your skill set and opens other doors later down the line.

Keep doing what you enjoy too (so if research is your strong point, take on as much as you can, or if managing is your plan look for opportunities to demonstrate your abilities) as it is far easier and more pleasurable to work doing things you enjoy.

3. What does your current job role involve?

I manage a team of eight individuals, consisting of researchers, analysts and cartographers. As a team, we are responsible for sourcing, compiling and analysing all the data that we provide to clients on the upstream oil and gas activity in Australasia.

Day to day I contribute to the products that give our clients unmatched information and insight on the industry and manage the team that also fulfills this role. However I also get involved in client presentations, often travelling to other cities and continents, attending conferences and communicating with contacts around the world in various ways.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the people that I get to work with, both internally in my team, office and company, but also some of the characters that I have met in the industry since I started. The industry pulls in a wide range of people and I have met people that have travelled and lived all over the world.

I also very much enjoy presenting to people on my area of expertise. Though I know standing up in front of a group is not for everyone, I get a real buzz out of it and enjoy the conversations around maps/activity that we have afterwards.

5. Why do you think it’s important to encourage more girls into Geoscience?

I think the industry has in the past (and still is in many areas) very male dominated, and having more women involved offers a broader diversity – which I believe results in different ideas being brought in, a broader range of people to think through problems (and solve them) and is an important part of any company.

6. If you could give a piece of advice to girls currently thinking about a career in the Geosciences, what would it be?

If you enjoy it, do it. Don’t ever feel held back due to a lack of women in the industry or because you feel out of place. There will be experiences where you feel “outnumbered” but they’ll be so many more when you get to meet some of the great women in the industry as well as all the other people that share the same interests as you.


A new profile is added each Wednesday at 10am BST. If you’d like to be involved, upload your profile today using the ‘profile uploads’ page or email: lara.mani@plymouth.ac.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @girlsingeosci

Advertisements

Profile: Nina Koele (Events Assistant, International Society for Microbial Ecology)

Nina Koele

Name: Nina Koele

Job Role: Events Assistant

Organisation: International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME)

Education Background:

  • MSc in Physical Geography
  • PhD in Soil Science

1. What inspired you to take up a career in the Geosciences?

Being interested in a wide range of subjects and wanting to travel to exotic places, I chose to study physical geography, as it combines all of the natural sciences. It also allows one to travel to all sorts of places and study interesting landscapes.

2. Can you give more detail about your path to your current job role?

The path to my current job was long and winding, but as such probably not unusual. I finished my studies with an internship for a nature conservancy in Canada looking at soil chemistry of a new nature reserve, and while there I also came into contact with forestry students and researchers. I became quite obsessed with sustainable forestry and forest soils, and tried to find a PhD in that field.

After a rather random internet-search I found a promising PhD position in Germany, as far as I could understand from the German job description; my German was pretty bad back then. Soon I found myself in Germany struggling with experimental design and local dialect. At the end of my PhD, three different people sent me the same job advertisement for a postdoc in New Zealand. The position seemed like a perfect fit, and although the telephone interview was largely obstructed by the bad connection, I was offered the position and we moved to New Zealand. The postdoc combined geochemical methods (Sr isotope ratios) with molecular soil fungi identification to trace nutrient cycles in forest ecosystems, above and belowground. New Zealand proved to be an amazing country to live in, the only downside being numerous earthquakes shaking the place where we lived (Christchurch). Unfortunately though through the rebuilding expenses of Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, there was little research funding left, and we started looking for jobs elsewhere in the world.

My partner found a job in the Netherlands, and we moved there. I did some freelance educational and scientific work, and worked for a scientific publisher for a year. Working with scientific journals, Editors and publishing staff was fascinating, as it is a whole separate enormous (commercial!) world that you don’t know or understand as early-career scientist. I learned a lot about Open Access publishing, predatory journals, Impact Factors, project management and learned to communicate effectively and with a lot of diplomacy. However, research kept calling me, and I managed to do a short postdoc in Brazil, analysing carbon data from the Amazon and learning Portuguese as I went. Back in the Netherlands I then found a temporary job to assist in the organisation of a large conference. The last years have proven it to be challenging to find an interesting job in the same country as where my partner works, and we foresee this to remain a challenge in the future.

3. What does your current job role involve?

The organisation of a large (2000> delegates) scientific conference requires years of preparations, for which my colleagues are responsible. As the conference gets closer (in August this year) the organisation also peaks, with abstracts being submitted, registration opening, and the scheduling of scientific and social events. I am assisting mostly in the preparation of the book of Abstracts, registration (checking payments, asking for student verification, sending invitation letters), and various little tasks (such as ordering sweets from a local sweets-maker for the registration desk!).

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

My current job doesn’t have very exciting tasks, and it is clearly an in-between-job. Having said that, I enjoy reading all the abstracts, learning about research that I otherwise wouldn’t know about, and I think it is a good skill to know how to organise a large event. My main goal of this job is to attend the conference, network and find another exciting research position.

5. Why do you think it’s important to encourage more girls into Geoscience?

Personally I cannot understand how anybody could want to do anything else than work in geosciences …! I think many girls are already taking up geosciences. At least from my experience, I didn’t notice there were less girls than boys studying geosciences or doing a PhD or postdoc in Geosciences. Nevertheless, I think more people in general should be interested in Geosciences as it studies the world we live in/on and with us pushing the boundaries of the planet, there will be more and more “conflicts” between geo-related hazards and people. Earthquakes, floods, landslides, soil degradation: these are all events that become more threatening with increasing world population and most of the hazardous land being densely populated.

6. If you could give a piece of advice to girls currently thinking about a career in the Geosciences, what would it be? 

Get out in the field, travel to inspiring landscapes, pay attention to the microscopic detail but never forget the big picture.

7. Where can we read more about your work and transcontinental migrations?

Through the years I kept blogs for my friends and family as I kept moving countries and doing interesting studies. I bundled some of those posts, and occasionally post about my perception of Geosciences here: soilmonster.blogspot.com


A new profile is added each Wednesday at 10am BST. If you’d like to be involved, upload your profile today using the ‘profile uploads’ page or email: lara.mani@plymouth.ac.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @girlsingeosci

Girls into Geoscience – Talks & Workshops – 4th July 2016

This years ‘Girls into Geoscience’ event was held at Plymouth University on the 4th July. The morning saw talks from Sarah Boulton of Plymouth University, Claire Jennings of AquaGeo, Kathryn Hadler of Imperial CSM and Michelle Harris of Plymouth University. During the afternoon there were four workshops to introduce the types of subjects and skills that the students may experience at university. These included: Faults in Google Earth (GIS), Microfossils and Climate, Reconstructing Geological Time and Planetary Geology: interplanetary fieldwork.

Here are some photos from the day!

IMG_1052
Sarah Boulton introduces the days event by showing some typical Geology stereotypes
IMG_1055
Claire Jennings of AquaGeo introduces her talk on ‘Geophysics and Seismic Acquisition’
IMG_1058
Claire Jennings explains the role of 4D surveys in data acquisition
IMG_1059
Kathryn Hadler introduces her talk on ‘Mineral Processing – a career in bubbles’.
IMG_1061
Kathryn Hadler explains the process of froth flotation and its role in mineral processing.
IMG_1064
Michelle Harris introduces her talk on ‘Exploring the Earth under the sea: scientific ocean drilling and me’
DSC_5743
Michelle Harris explains why she loves to study the sea floor.
DSC_5735
Networking during lunch
DSC_5745
Workshop 1: Finding faults in Google Earth with Sarah Boulton
IMG_1076
Workshop 1: Finding faults in Google Earth with Sarah Boulton

IMG_1071

Workshop 2: Microfossils and Climate with Debbie Wall-Palmer and Jodie Fisher

IMG_1072
Workshop 3: Planetary geology with Natasha Stephen
IMG_1078
Workshop 4: Reconstructing Geological Time with Meriel FitzPatrick
IMG_1080
Workshop 4: Reconstructing geological time with Meriel FitzPatrick

The day in Tweets:

 

You can see more tweet from the day on our @girlsingeosci Twitter account!

We would like to thank The Micropalaeontological Society and the Royal Astronomical Society for sponsoring our workshops and to all our Student Ambassadors and helpers throughout the event. 

Lastly, we would like to thank all of our speakers and the girls that attended a great day. We hope you’ll keep in touch and tell us how you get on in the future!

GIG16 group photoEdit.jpg

Profile: Rachel Holley (Senior InSAR Scientist, NPA Satellite Mapping)

Rachel Holley.png

Name: Rachel Holley

Job Role: Senior InSAR Scientist

Organisation: NPA Satellite Mapping, CGG (@CGGNPA)

Education Background:

  • MESci, Earth Sciences, Oxford University
  • PhD, Environmental Systems Science, Reading University

1. What inspired you to take up a career in the Geosciences?

I’ve always been a scientist at heart – one of my first words was “Why?”. But I really caught the geology bug in my teens, on a family holiday to the Rockies and the Cascades. It transformed my view of geology from being ‘just a lump of rock’ to an appreciation of the huge scales involved, the enormous forces and timespans, and understanding the billions of years of history within each of those lumps. I love solving problems – figuring out how things work, and the stories behind everything.

2. Can you give more detail about your path to your current job role?

I was lucky enough to be able to study A-Level geology, and also took maths, physics and chemistry. I did a four-year degree in Earth Sciences, and loved the geophysics and remote sensing courses. I picked a masters project using satellite radar data (known as InSAR) to measure fault movement. I then did a PhD, using InSAR to study Mount Etna. When it came to deciding what next, I considered staying in academia, but eventually decided I’d rather work in commercial research and development, and was offered a job with NPA Satellite Mapping, part of geoscience company CGG.

3. What does your current job role involve?

My team use InSAR to measure ground deformation and subsidence for lots of different applications. Our projects have lots of variety – over the course of a typical month I can find myself working on sinkholes in Texas, oil fields in central Asia, tunnelling in London and mud volcanoes in Indonesia. A lot of my work is computer-based; I take the raw data from the satellite and process it to make measurements, and then write code to analyse and interpret the results. I also travel to conferences and present our results, and meet with clients across the world.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I still love finding things out, and solving problems. It’s a great feeling getting an interesting result out of the processing, and knowing I’m the first person in the world to see that. And I then have to work out why I’m seeing those measurements – comparing my results to other evidence from GPS, geophysics, geological maps, and even weather data, and putting together the pieces of the puzzle to explain what I’m seeing.

5. Why do you think it’s important to encourage more girls into Geoscience?

Because it’s awesome, and there’s no reason why we should have to miss out on the fun! But seriously – there’s so much to explore, and so many unsolved problems left to work on. It’s also very practical and analytical, and encourages you to think about where your bit of science fits into the wider picture. Those skills are really sought after by employers across a huge range of professions, even if you eventually decide you don’t want a career in geoscience. Geoscience is intertwined with so many aspects of life and society, and is the key to understanding the world we live in and the future challenges we’re going to face.

6. If you could give a piece of advice to girls currently thinking about a career in the Geosciences, what would it be? 

There’s a niche for everyone. With so many different methods and applications and environments and industries, there’s a huge variety of different paths you can take. It doesn’t matter whether travelling the world or the great outdoors is your thing, or you’d prefer an office and some computer code; whether you work best independently or in a team; whether you’re very practical, or more creative. Be curious, and explore, and you’ll find something that fits.


A new profile is added each Wednesday at 10am BST. If you’d like to be involved, upload your profile today using the ‘profile uploads’ page or email: lara.mani@plymouth.ac.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @girlsingeosci 

Girls into Geoscience, Dartmoor Fieldwork – 3rd July

Last week saw our ‘Girls into Geoscience’ event held at Plymouth University. This year was the first year we have introduced a fieldwork day prior to the event. We had 29 girls join us on Dartmoor for an introductory fieldwork day and here are some of the fantastic photos from the day!

IMG_1028
Everyone before heading to Great Staple Tor
DSC_5719
First stop, Great Staple Tor in the sunshine!
IMG_1029
Meriel FitzPatrick talking all things Geology with our girls
DSC_5695
Learning to scale diagrams
IMG_1031
Sarah Boulton instructs her group on the days activities
IMG_1032
A beautiful day on Dartmoor
IMG_1033
Drawing Great Staple Tor
IMG_1037
What minerals can we see in Great Staple Tor?
DSC_5700
Natasha Stephen and her group get to grips with Great Staple Tor
IMG_1038
Working in the shadow of the beautiful Great Staple Tor
IMG_1042
No fieldtrip is complete without lunch with a view!
IMG_1044.JPG
Natasha Stephen and Michelle Harris tweeting from our day!
IMG_1050
Great Staple Tor done… we’re off to Burrator!
DSC_5722
Investigating the slate and granite contact at Burrator Quarry

Some tweets from the day:

A big thank you to all the PU staff and teachers that came and made it possible. It really was a fantastic day!

Profile: Thorbjörg Ágústsdóttir (PhD Student, University of Cambridge)

2015-08-30 11.11.15-2.jpg

Name: Thorbjörg Ágústsdóttir

Job Role: PhD student

Organisation: University of Cambridge, UK

Education Background:

  • BSc in Geophysics, University of Iceland.
  • MSc in Geophysics, University of Iceland.
  • Currently PhD student in Volcano Seismology at University of Cambridge.

1. What inspired you to take up a career in the Geosciences?

Growing up in Iceland, I have always been fascinated by earthquakes and volcanoes. I am the kind of a person that needs quite a lot of variety in my life. I love the outdoors, the excitement and activities of geophysics. My work has taken me to many exciting places.

2. Can you give more detail about your path to your current job role?

My path is slightly unusual. I have done a lot of sport in my life. I did my studies and work part-time until coming to Cambridge for my PhD in 2013. My sport took me all over the world competing for Iceland in World Cups, World- and European Championships. I hope my unusual path can encourage others that don’t go the traditional route.

3. What does your current job role involve?

On a daily basis I sit in front of a computer and do raw data processing, scripting, plotting data, picking earthquakes and reading scientific papers. In the summer we do fieldwork in Iceland that requires a lot of preparation. I also have to go to conferences and do public outreach. July 4-10th 2016, my research group is taking part in the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition in London. We have been preparing this for the last six months and are very excited. Our exhibition is called Explosive Earth: Earthquakes and Eruptions in Iceland and we are presenting work on the 2014-15 Bárðarbunga-Holuhraun eruption and the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption that closed European airspace. My group is the Cambridge Volcano Seismology group that explores the many applications of volcano seismology, from what we can learn about movement of magma in the earth’s crust and rift zone dynamics, to the very structure of the earth itself. Our current research focus is central Iceland where we operate an extensive seismic array.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the excitement of the fieldwork – using snow scooters, helicopters and super jeeps. I also like the public outreach a lot and seeing all the hard work coming together in a talk or a paper.

5. Why do you think it’s important to encourage more girls into Geoscience?

It is exciting! It is cool and takes you to incredible places. So anyone interested in geosciences should definitely go for it! Geosciences need to have a broader variety of people in the field. It has endless options and opportunities and is very exciting. I have been on many volcanoes, ice caps and witnessed an eruption first hand.

6. If you could give a piece of advice to girls currently thinking about a career in the Geosciences, what would it be? 

I would encourage girls to do what they want, to think about what kind of an environment they would like to be in and work in and the opportunities it offers. Geoscience is a great choice, it’s interesting and brings you to exceptional places. It is good to be a curious person and have a background in maths, physics, geology, engineering – coding and scripting is becoming more and more important to the daily work of a geophysicist. Social skills and decent English proficiency are important too for outreach.

The ‘Explosive Earth’ exhibition is a free public event being held by the University of Cambridge at the Royal Society, London between 4th-10th July. Find out more: @ExplosiveEarth or #ExplosiveEarth 


A new profile is added each Wednesday at 10am BST. If you’d like to be involved, upload your profile today using the ‘profile uploads’ page or email: lara.mani@plymouth.ac.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @girlsingeosci