Janine Krippner (PhD Student, University of Pittsburgh)

1Name: Janine Krippner

Job Role: Volcanology Ph.D. Candidate

Organisation: University of Pittsburgh

Education Background:

MSc in volcanology, and BSc in geology at the University of Waikato (New Zealand)


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

I always loved volcanoes! When I was 13 I realized it was actually something I could do for a career and many years later I am still on that path. I love being outside, travelling, and solving problems, and the environments around volcanoes are absolutely beautiful.

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

I realized at a very young age I would need a Ph.D., so after high school I went to university for my Bachelors and Masters degrees. Due to family reasons I moved to Australia for three years and worked as a geologist for Shell. There I got world-class training in geology, leadership, teamwork, and project management. That takes me to where I am now, in my final year of my Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh working on my dream subject – pyroclastic flows!

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3. What does your current job role involve?

My Ph.D. research involves using satellite data, and data collected in the field, to study pyroclastic flows on Shiveluch volcano (Kamchatka, Russia) and the Mount St. Helens (Washington,USA) 1980 deposits. I am looking at the different shapes and sizes of the deposits and relating them back to the type of eruption that formed them, and what we can learn about these deposits and eruptions from a safe distance. In my own time I also write about volcanic activity on twitter (@janinekrippner) and on a blog I write with another volcanologist which is fun, and also keeps me up to date with volcano activity around the world.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I think I am very lucky to study some of the most powerful phenomena on Earth. Seeing volcanoes through satellite images, and then going out into the field to collect samples and data is so much fun. Seeing deposits in the field makes the satellite images make so much more sense, it’s like solving a really big puzzle in some of the most beautiful places on Earth. This means travelling around the world and seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, and when I’m really lucky, watching volcanoes erupt (safely).

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

It is an amazing career that is so rewarding and fun. Not only is it exciting working on volcanoes themselves, but you get to travel the world to conferences to meet up with other volcanologists/geologists/emergency managers and learn from each other. The more diverse the group is, the more we can all learn from each others different perspectives and solve tougher challenges.

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

Follow your heart and go with what excites you the most and leaves you feeling inspired, this will get you further than anything else in life. Be open minded, be curious, ask a lot of questions, and be creative, you never know what skills will prove to be very useful in your future. Finally, reach out to people in areas you are interested in to learn more about what we do and the best ways (there are more than one!) for you to succeed in the path you wish to take.

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Aerona Moore (Tutor, Leeson House Field Studies Centre)

aerona-pic-4Name: Aerona Moore

Job Role: Tutor

Organisation: Leeson House Field Studies Centre

Education Background:

  • BSc (Honours) in Geoscience, University of St Andrews, UK, 2010
  • MSc (Research based) in Igneous Petrology, University of Victoria, BC, 2013.

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

Throughout high school I really had no idea what I wanted to do…. I took a crash course in geography in my final year to fill out my timetable a bit and I really got into the geological side of it. I chose to do Geoscience at St Andrews University, and it was after our first field trip to the North coast of Scotland that I really got hooked on it. It was the only subject that I got to actually learn outside the classroom for a large proportion of time, which I found so refreshing. The people and lecturers there made those four years some of the best I have had.. there is no half measures in geology, the people that get into it end up loving it!

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

After my undergraduate degree I wanted to move abroad. I ended up in Canada where I started my research Masters studying the magmatism beneath the East Pacific Rise mid ocean ridge. The combination of living right next to the mountains and rugged coastline of BC and studying geology in a new place was amazing!

Alongside my MSc I taught various undergraduate geology labs and field trips around Vancouver Island. I found I really loved inspiring people to become interested in geology. Once I completed my MSc, I spent nearly a year continuing to teach at the University in addition to working as a research assistant for my supervisor.

After spending so much time working inside at a desk, I began to crave working in the outdoors. I knew that unlike many geologists, I definitely didn’t want to work in the oil/mining/engineering industry. I made the move back to the UK and got a position as a tutor at Leeson House Field Studies Centre on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. This was a big change in many ways – switching from igneous rocks to sedimentary rocks and from teaching older students to primary and secondary aged students– but I have learnt lots through my job here.

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3. What does your current job role involve?

As a tutor at Leeson House I teach a range of curriculum based field work (geology, geography, and biology) from KS1 up to A2 level. I get to teach fieldwork skills in lots of incredible places along the Jurassic Coast, including beaches, Durdle Door, Kimmeridge Bay and Old Harry Rocks.  We also do a lot of teaching on site with younger children. This can involve studying what lives in our ponds, learning about how fossils are made and what makes a volcano explode! When I am not teaching I keep the teaching resources up-to-date by helping to design new fieldwork opportunities and updating our activities.

My job allows me to travel to different conferences where we keep up to date with new teaching methods (e.g. the Geographical Association and the Earth Science Teaching conference). I have also had the opportunity to volunteer at the Geopark conference in Torquay.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love being outside all the time! Even if I am feeling really tired, working outdoors instead of sitting behind a screen completely changes my mood for the better. I find my job extremely fulfilling, as I get a chance to inspire people to learn more about earth science – whether that’s through teaching in my job, or taking friends and family fossil hunting or up an active volcano!

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

You would be stupid not to think its essential to encourage girls into the Geosciences! It is such an important subject, as it underpins everything else we study and do on this planet. Diversity is what drives science, If we shut out half the population then we are limiting what science can achieve. Anyone with an interest in geoscience should follow it. I believe this starts with capturing peoples interest in science at a young age and allowing them to follow it.

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

The most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing. No woman should feel scared or intimidated to study or work in a subject they are interested in. In my experience, no one loves their subject more than a geologist! Don’t forget that what you enjoy doing can change –  you don’t always have to follow a standard ‘career path’. Don’t be afraid to explore new things and make sure you follow your interests, no matter what.


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