Profile: Anita Di Chiara (Post Doctoral Researcher, Plymouth University)

Anita Di Chiara

Job Role: Marie Curie Post Doctoral Fellow

Organisation: Plymouth University

Education Background:

  • BSc Geology, University of Palermo
  • Masters University of Rome
  • PhD University of Rome

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

First time I went out in the mountains with a geologist I was 18 and I recognized a fold and fault.I become so excited about it that I realized I wanted to understand more about the Earth system. At school age one of my teachers in Science advised me not to get into any science nor a geoscience career. It was going to be difficult to find a job, she said. Nonetheless, I found myself going in a geology fieldtrip and decided that I really enjoyed and wanted to engage in a scientific career.

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

I studied for three years of Geology in Palermo, my hometown in Italy, and then decided to move to Rome to complete my Masters degree, for which I worked on the volcanic island of Pantelleria (Italy). Then I did my PhD, studying active volcanoes in the Azores through the study of the ancient magnetic field recorded on sequences of volcanic rocks. Three years later, after completing my PhD, I started a two year post-doc in San Paolo (Brazil) to study the intensity of the magnetic field recorded on 1.2 billion of years old rocks from Amazonian Craton. Finally, last September I started my second post-doc here in Plymouth to study relict of oceanic crusts in Canada and Oman.

3. What does your current job role involve?

This has involved collecting rocks during fieldwork in Canada (last September) and Oman (last March) and I will again be heading back on fieldwork to Oman next year. The rocks collected are then analysed in a paleomagnetism laboratory at Plymouth University and then the data will be interpreted to understand the evolution of these two relicts of oceanic crust. The work will be summed up in scientific paper to present in international scientific conferences.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love going in the field to study the geology and collect rocks. I enjoy trying to understand and interpret the outcomes as well writing essays and scientific papers. I  also enjoy presenting at conferences and meeting colleagues from around the world to exchange ideas. I like to have dynamic life and have many different stages in the job to follow. I never get bored!


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

First of all, in my opinion, it is highly important to encourage everyone to follow what one actually, really likes, without being discouraged by the difficulties. Geoscience is generally considered as a career with limited opportunities for women and with a male-predominance. We need to encourage ourselves and give an example to the other girls, being a living testimony that girls can actually succeed in a geoscience career. We’ll need to increase the numbers of female scientists and ensure for us a friendly and comfortable environment

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, don’t be afraid to start a career in Geosciences, if you like an aspect or many aspects, if you are driven by curiosity and eagerness of travelling, and working in multicultural environment.

Anita also features in an interview about her career to date, filmed with Iain Stewart:

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