Name: Georgia Melodie Hole
Job Role: PhD Student
Organisation: University of Oxford, UK
- MSci in Geology & Geophysics, Imperial College London
- NERC Research Experience Placement (REP) – National Oceanography Centre Southampton
- Currently PhD student in Holocene Arctic Sea Ice Reconstruction at University of Oxford.
1. What inspired you to take up a career in the Geosciences?
I was always fascinated by nature and how all these complex systems in the world around me worked. Geoscience was able to tell me so much more about the reasons for different rock types, how coastlines formed, why the sky is blue. It was like knowing the secrets of the world that most people couldn’t give me the answers to. I also love to be outdoors and what better way than to be sent there for your studies and work?
2. Can you give more detail about your path to your current job role?
When I started my undergraduate degree, I had no real idea what I would end up focusing on as I didn’t know that much about the Geosciences industry. The modules and research placements about climate and palaeoclimatic interested me most, and so through summer research placements and my Master’s project I gained more experience of these areas, which helped when it came to applying for the NERC Doctoral Training Program at Oxford (PhD in Environmental Research).
3. What does your current job role involve?
My current PhD research has cemented my move away from being a rock geoscientist, as it focuses on the Arctic environment, and specifically the interaction of climate and sea ice extent throughout the Holocene. I am using driftwood as a proxy for sea ice by tracking its age and path across the Arctic Ocean while caught up in the ice, therefore enabling the concurrent ice sheet dynamics to be reconstructed. With sufficient data, a pan-Arctic sea-ice reconstruction of high temporal and spatial resolution can be achieved. So far I have helped to develop the methodology for this quite novel project, travelled to Svalbard for sample collection, and attended courses around Europe including the Alps and Iceland. I also regularly work in 4 different departments for various lab analyses which makes the work nicely varied.
4. What do you enjoy most about your job?
The best part has to be the fieldwork to the Arctic. Ever since I was a child I had a fascination with all things polar, from the northern lights and Arctic wildlife, to the great explorers of Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton. So whenever I get to go to such spectacular places for my own work, I feel very lucky.
5. Why do you think it’s important to encourage more girls into Geoscience?
I think it’s incredibly important because it’s a highly dynamic and skilled industry where you can really get what you put it, end up in exciting places and doing exciting and relevant work. I also think the barriers that still exist for many women entering more technical job roles need to continue to be broken down.
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 say that if you’re already considering it, then that’s great, and you shouldn’t let anything hold you back from pursuing what you want to do. Geoscience is an area full of stimulating careers and dynamic people to work with, and so as long as you have the curiosity and dedication to work hard and find the right career path, then you could well have some exciting times ahead of you.
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