GiG 2018

group pic 2018

Girls into Geoscience 2018 was held on the 2nd and 3rd July, and once again we welcomed enthusiastic young female Earth Scientists to the University of Plymouth.

Monday (2nd July) saw us taking 24 of the girls to explore the superb geology of Torbay during this long hot summer.  Starting at Triangle Point, the students were split into three groups as we would for an undergraduate field course.  Each group in turn explored different aspects of the sedimentology and palaeontology of the Daddyhole Limestone of Devonian age, and then the features of a major cross-cutting oblique-slip fault.  In the afternoon we headed to the classic unconformity between the Devonian and Permian exposed on the foreshore at Goodrington Sands.

DSC_09941Many of the girls have not have the opportunity to undertake geological field work before, so as well as demonstrating what a day in the field is like for an undergraduate student (although normally not so hot!) they also learnt some skills in note taking, sketching and rock/structure identification.

DSC_10021I think we were all glad of the ice breaker, held on sea front in the Barbican Region of Plymouth, to cool down and re-hydrate after a glorious day in the field.

The following day saw us retreat inside for a morning of talks and an afternoon of workshops, with 65 students from across the country.  The talks are chosen to span a range of Earth Science disciplines; this year we heard from Lucy Cotton (GeoScience Ltd) on her work on geothermal energy in Cornwall, Jenny Symonds (Ramboll) on engineering geology and the challenges of working in Antarctica and on big projects like the new Queensferry bridge in Scotland.  Our final talk was by Rachael Arnold (BP) on the challenges of working in the petroleum industry.

After lunch and a chance to talk to the speakers the girls could take part in two workshops of their choice run by University of Plymouth academic staff and postdoctoral researchers.  Again a range of topics from the Holocene to deep time were on offer.  Caroline Clason reconstructed past glaciations from high resolution imagery, while Jodie Fisher used microfossils to investigate climate change.  Michelle Harris ran a workshop looking at the rocks under the sea using a core replica on loan from the IODP.  Lucy Campbell and Irene Manzella’s workshop meanwhile looked at geological hazards investigating earthquakes and volcanoes, respectively.  Finally, Natasha Stephen took us off planet to look at the composition and structure of meteorites.

The day drew to a close with the presentation of certificates and a farewell to our visitors.  We like to thank the students, staff and speakers for making the day such a success and hope to see you back in Plymouth soon!

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Profile: Lynsey Fletcher (Soil Engineering Geoservices Ltd)

Name: Lynsey Fletcher

Job Role: Engineering Geologist – Estimator

Organisation: Soil Engineering Geoservices Ltd

Education Background: BSc (Hons) Geological Sciences (Plymouth University);                                                        MSc Geohazard Assessment

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

Mud Pies!

I grew up in Sheffield on the edge of the Peak District and without realising it was highly influenced as a child by the natural world around me.  I loved all things to do with Volcanoes and David Attenborough is my childhood hero.  If I didn’t become a geologist I have been another “…ologist”  like Marine Biologist or Ecologist.  As long as I was outside I was a happy girl.

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

I started off in Consultancy, working for the likes of Mouchel and Atkins down South, although my role as an Engineering Geologist took me all over the UK.  I completed my right of passage, travelling and living out of a bag as a graduate engineer and remember during a secondment to Network Rail working anywhere between Paddington to Penzance to Pwhelli.  The best job I had was a site engineer on the 2012 Olympic Site, in Stratford where I was stationed for a number of years.  I was part of a team initially supervising the ground investigation, working my way up to managing aspects of the follow on works.  It was full time and full on, but a hugely satisfying project to work on.  My work has always been biased to the Civil Engineering sector which at the time was where the majority of work was for Graduates.  I took 5 years away from industry to raise my son before coming back to geotechnics as an Estimator.  In the intervening period I worked in the education sector.  As a result I am now a STEM Ambassador encouraging others into the Geosciences using the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Skills learnt a school in a different way they may not have considered before.

  1. What does your current job role involve?

I guess for a living!  No. Seriously!  I “Estimate” the cost of carrying out site investigations, pricing against industry competitors and negotiating with clients and suppliers to secure contracts.  I’ve worked for the same Group for the last 4 years, recently changing departments from Specialist Geotechnics (Soil Nails, Anchors, Restricted Access Piling and Specialist Grouting) to the Site Investigation pre-construction department. I look at how much a drilling rig costs, what soil samples we need to collect and what laboratory testing is necessary to build a picture of what the ground is like beneath the surface.  My company has it’s own laboratory and equipment and most if not all of my colleagues have training in the geosciences.  A colleague describing my role recently said, that I am responsible for keeping everyone one else in the company employed… No pressure then!

  1. What do you enjoy most about your job?

No two days are the same.  I see a wide variety of projects from a £5000 private development to millions of pounds infrastructure project such as HS2.  I’m office bound at the moment, which for me is not so great but my company are flexible in terms of adjusted hours so that I can work around childcare arrangements. Personally I’d like to get back towards research, but for the time being I enjoy what I’m doing and work with a great crowd, on a 50% split male:female which in this industry is rare.

  1. Why do you think it’s important to encourage more girls into the Geosciences?

We make up 50% of the population, and are only limited in our career choices by a lack of imagination and lack of knowledge of the options available.  Historically we are a small percentage of the workforce within the geosciences.  I think the figures for civil engineering are something like 7% overall.  From personal experience I’ve been the only “girl” in the department.  However, geosciences covers a wide variety of specialist subject areas which are open to all and not all have such a dominant split.

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

Go for it! Don’t be put off by preconceived ideas and opinions of others.  Research a course that interests you and more importantly the career options at the end of it.  If the outdoors is not for you, don’t worry there are more than enough options either Lab or office based. Worried you’ll be the only female and may face prejudice.  Don’t be, work for it and prove your worth and you won’t go wrong.  At the end of the day if you are the right person for a job, you will get it.

 

Girls into Geoscience Ireland

The inaugural Girls into Geoscience – Ireland event took place last Saturday March 10th at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science in University College Cork. The exciting one day event was specifically designed to introduce female school (Senior Cycle) and university students to Earth Sciences and demonstrate the world of careers open to geoscience graduates today.

At the event, attendees heard from a variety of speakers including Marie Fleming, associate engineer at Arup, Dr Siobhan Power of the Geological Survey Ireland, Dr Anthea Lacchia of iCRAG at University College Dublin and Dr Una Farrell of the School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin. The speakers covered their career paths to date and gave excellent insights into the day to day activities of professional geoscientists. A highly successful “speed-dating” session was held in association with the Irish Association for Women in Geosciences. Two hands-on, interactive workshops also took place: the first on fossil and mineral identification led by Dr Maria McNamara of the UCC School of BEES and Girls into Geoscience – Ireland co-organiser, and the second on the use of Geographical Information Systems for examining geoscience data led by Dr Fiona Cawkwell of the UCC School of Geography.

Speaking at the event Dr Fergus McAuliffe, co-organiser and Public Engagement Manager at iCRAG, said: “Today’s event was about showcasing the vast array of careers in geosciences that are waiting to be discovered. Attendees got the chance to meet professional female geoscientists, hear their amazing career journeys that have taken them around the world, and also to try their hand at mineral identification, fossil examination and Geographical Information Systems. On behalf of Girls into Geoscience – Ireland we are delighted that the event has been so well attended and we hope to see some of today’s attendees in our first year university lectures in the next few years!”

‘Co-organiser Dr Maria McNamara said ‘It was very exciting and inspiring to see so many young women who are passionate about geosciences and it was great fun to share experiences with them. It is so important to have informal opportunities like this to pass on our knowledge and experience to the younger generation, and this is really setting a precedent for making this a regular event in the national calendar for geoscience and schools.’

Girls into Geoscience Ireland is co-organised by iCRAGUCC School of BEES, the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Irish Association for Women in Geosciences. To find out more about the event visit the Girls into Geoscience – Ireland website: http://girlsintogeoscienceireland.wordpress.com/

Profile: Brighid Ó Dochartaigh (Senior Hydrogeologist, British Geological Survey)

Brighid1Name: Brighid Ó Dochartaigh

Job Role: Senior Hydrogeologist  

Organisation: British Geological Survey (BGS)

Education Background: 


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

I’ve been interested in the natural world for as long as I can remember – I’ve always loved being outside. My favourite subject at secondary school was geography – a subject that tries to understand the natural world. I moved into geology to deepen this interest – literally, by looking down into the rocks below our feet! While studying geology at university I became especially interested in water resources, because water is essential – everyone, everywhere, always has and always will need water, every single day. So becoming a hydrogeologist – someone who studies water in rocks, or groundwater – was a natural step. It combined my interest and skills in geology and the natural world, and my wish to do something practical in my work.

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

I have quite a common educational background for a hydrogeologist – a BSc in Geology (mine was jointly with Physical Geography) and an MSc in Hydrogeology. I was lucky enough to apply for and get a job at BGS straight from my MSc, which has shaped my career. I didn’t originally plan to stay at BGS for so long, but my role here has been so varied that it’s allowed me to get experience on a whole range of interesting and rewarding projects. I’m a ‘generalist’ in terms of hydrogeology – I haven’t specialised in any one thing, but have a wide variety of hydrogeological skills and experience.

3. What does your current job role involve?

I use my hydrogeological expertise in a wide range of projects, most of which have an ‘applied research’ focus – investigating groundwater with the aim of improving water resource sustainability and environmental management, both now and in the future, given our rapidly changing world. I work in teams which usually have specialists from different fields, from groundwater modellers and other geologists to social scientists, irrigation specialists or engineers – from inside and outside BGS. Most of my work is in Scotland and countries in Africa and Asia. The projects I’m working on at the moment include: groundwater’s role in flooding and natural flood management in upland Scotland; improving access to hydrogeological information across Africa; the role groundwater plays in the hydrology of a glacial catchment in Iceland, and intensely irrigated catchment in north India – and how this might evolve as climate changes; how best to understand and manage groundwater in urban areas; and the natural chemistry of groundwater in Scotland’s aquifers. Some of my projects involve fieldwork to collect new data – often groundwater chemistry sampling, or installing and maintaining groundwater level monitoring equipment; and all of them involve managing, analysing and interpreting groundwater data and information.

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4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I like the practical nature of my work – I love to have the feeling that I’m helping to make people’s lives and the environment better, even in a small way. I also love the variety – that one day I can be writing a report on the potential for a new water abstraction borehole at an industrial site near Glasgow; the next I’m discussing groundwater level, river flow and soil moisture data from an upland observatory with colleagues to try and understand floodplain hydrology; and the day after I’m preparing chemistry sampling kit to take to India to study groundwater and irrigation.

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

There are fantastic careers in Geosciences – interesting, rewarding, fun. I’d love to see everyone who has a passion for geoscience be able to develop this kind of career. And geosciences always need great talent to keep addressing the challenges we face – we need to encourage all the best people to get involved!

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

Find out as much as you can about the wide variety of issues and potential jobs in the geosciences. If you can, talk to working geoscientists and to university course organisers/lecturers. There are so many different areas of geoscience and many routes into jobs and career paths. The best one for you might not be the most obvious.


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

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Profile: Kate Waghorn (PhD Student, University of Tromsø, Norway)

Kate Waghorn 2.jpgName: Kate Waghorn

Job Role: PhD in geology and geophysics

Organisation: University of Tromsø, Norway

Education Background: 

  • BSc Physics/Geology – University of Auckland
  • MSc Geophysics – University of Auckland

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

I am really passionate about being in nature and understanding the world around me, so geosciences was the obvious choice.

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

When I finished high school I had no clue what I wanted to do later in life, just that I should go to university while I figured it out. I enrolled in a mathematics and physics programme, and also took a few geography and geology courses. By the end of the first year I realized I was much more interested in more geology so ended up pursuing geology and geophysics as a career path.

3. What does your current job role involve?

I research how earthquakes and tectonics influence fluid flowing underground. My current study area is off the coast of Svalbard, in the Arctic, so naturally all my field work happens aboard a research ship.

Kate Waghorn 1

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Getting to spend time in the Arctic every year is pretty amazing as it’s not a place all that many people can say they have gone. I also really enjoy the travel component – getting to travel around the world and check out the cool geology. I also really enjoy telling my friends about the rocks they are standing on.

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

A balanced work place is so important to any field, in my opinion. Geosciences is such an adventurous area to work in, and it adds such a different perspective to all issues surrounding geosciences when girls are getting as involved in the subject as the males.

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 love exploring the world and nature around you, and have a passion for adventure, geoscience is a fantastic way to combine this into a job. People working in geoscience have a fantastic opportunity to work in and with nature and we have the opportunity to leave the world in a better state than we found it.


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

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Profile: Jess Hillman (Postdoctoral Researcher, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research)

jh_photoName: Jess Hillman

Job Role: Postdoctoral Researcher

Organisation: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research 

Education Background:


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

I spent most of my childhood in East Africa, and had the opportunity to visit and explore some truly amazing areas with incredibly diverse landscapes and environments. This allowed me to develop an interest in geography, which stemmed from wanting to understand how all these different landscapes had been formed and what processes had shaped them. I didn’t have the opportunity to take geology or geoscience at high school, so I went to university with the intention of studying geography. I took geoscience as a second subject and by the end of my first semester I had switched to a BSc in geoscience.

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

I graduated from the University of St Andrews with a BSc (Hons) in Geoscience. Whilst I was an undergrad I had the chance to do a couple of internships, one of which was for Petroleum Development Oman, this gave me a chance to work with large seismic datasets for the first time, and I decided I wanted to pursue a career that focused on geophysics. As a result, I went on to do a PhD in marine geophysics at the University of Otago in New Zealand. My doctoral research focused on using geophysical data to investigate seafloor geomorphology, specifically looking at features related to potential release of methane at the seafloor. During my PhD I was able to participate in several research cruises around New Zealand, and also to travel to numerous international conferences and establish collaborations with several different research institutes around the world.

After finishing my PhD I worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the USA for a year at the Ohio State University, where I worked on data from the Gulf of Mexico. After working in New Zealand, where geophysical data can be rather sparse, it was a huge contrast to work in the gulf, where pretty much every inch has been surveyed at least twice!

3. What does your current job role involve?

I am currently working at GEOMAR, which is a large marine research facility in Kiel, Germany. My work focuses on a project that is investigating gas hydrates in the northern Black Sea. I use seismic data to investigate submarine sediments in the Danube Delta, looking at the role that gas hydrates play in fluid flux through the sediments and potential hazards in the form of submarine slope failures. This requires a lot of data analysis, mapping geological units and structures across a large area.

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4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy working in diverse environments and trying to understand how the different processes that are active in different areas have shaped the geological landscape we see today. Gas hydrates are a comparatively new research area in geology so we’re still trying to know exactly how they behave and how they form. A lot of my research has also involved areas where submarine canyons are found, these are features that we still don’t understand that well and they are very dynamic, so we are constantly learning new things. I still find it amazing how little we know about the seafloor and what lies underneath it!

I also love that I have been able to travel a lot with my work; I’ve done fieldwork in Spain, Oman, Italy, Switzerland, Greenland, New Zealand and Japan, and had the chance to travel to conferences in numerous other places. Going out to sea on research cruises to collect new data is really exciting, and it makes up for all the hours you spend sitting at a computer analysing the data afterwards!

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

Encouraging everyone, especially girls, to take an interest in the world around them is more important now than ever. The world is facing new challenges, and learning how geological processes acted in the past is a vital part of understanding what might happen in the future.

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

Don’t be intimidated, talk to people who work in an area / job that you think looks interesting, make connections and don’t be afraid to change your career path or your area of research if the right opportunity comes up. It is always good to try new things and there are so many exciting aspects of geoscience that you could work in! Imposter syndrome is more common than you think, and you should never be afraid to ask someone for help or advice.


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

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Profile: Concetta Rispoli (PhD student,University Federico II, Naples)

icelandName: Concetta (Tina) Rispoli

Job Role: PhD Student (Applied Mineralogy)

Organisation: University Federico II, Naples (Italy)

Education Background:

  • Undergraduate degree in geology and applied geology
  • Master’s degree in innovative diagnostic methodologies for the safeguard, use and conservation of cultural heritage

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

My career in the geosciences is born from love for the land where I live – Italy. Land of volcanoes and wonderful landscapes. I come from the province of Naples in Campania (South Italy) and every morning since I was a little girl, the first thing I see when I open the balcony of my room is Vesuvius. Vesuvius is the only active volcano in continental Europe,  the most studied in the world, and one of the most dangerous because of the population in the surrounding area. I had no chance about the subject to love at school.

2. What does your current job role involve?

Currently I am a PhD student in applied mineralogy. The three-year course will end in February when I shall get a PhD degree. My research project concerns the study of ancient Roman mortars in order to improve the mix design, the provenance of raw materials and secondary minerogenetic processes. Furthermore, this project research could offer important information about how to do restoration work.

I would love it could remain in the context university research, but how we use say in Italy: “Time will tell”.

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3. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Almost all!!!

I got into geology because I love being outside, so fieldwork in the beautiful parts of the world is always fantastic. With geology, I have had the chance to do fieldwork in Iceland, Sardinia and  in amazing archaeological sites such as Pompeii. Just spending a day touching and trying to understand the secrets about how are made structure erected about 2000 years ago is absolute bliss.

I also love conferences – the idea of people gathering from all over the world to talk about geology really appeals to me.

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

Because unfortunately there are still too many stereotypes which do not permit the female growth in a series of geology sectors.

The fierce competition that you meet along the road of career, requires aggressiveness considered more typically masculine, and also the rationality of scientific activity might seem incompatible with the image of women oriented more towards the emotional aspects that favor the subjectivity.

We “geology ladies” have to demonstrate that our determination, attention to the detail and spirit of sacrifice are some real strengths that can allow us to challenge for the top jobs.

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

Be flexible! Jump at the chance to do something interesting, even if it is difficult or a bit uncomfortable. The more you are willing to do something you know little about it, going to a new place, or learning a language you have never spoken before, the more future opportunities you will get.


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

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Profile: Kathryn Cunningham (Environmental Geophysicist , TigerGeo Ltd.)

kc-in-actionName: Kathryn Cunningham

Job Role: Environmental Geophysicist

Organisation: TigerGeo Ltd

Education Background: BSc (Hons) Applied Geology, Plymouth University


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

My interest in Earth Sciences emerged while working as Nature Guide in South Africa in the Kruger National Park. From there I decided to develop a career in the Earth and Environment by applying to University. I began my University career with the BSc Extended Science single year course which allows progression to a science degree at Plymouth University. This course included a module in geosciences and  this was the spark that led me to undertaking a degree in Applied Geology.

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

My current job role arose from a search for companies with geological interests within a commutable area from where I’m based. I came across TigerGeo Ltd (then known as Archaeophysica) and wrote a letter detailing my experience with the hope of them offering work experience. A permanent role came from a month of work experience with them. It’s important to mention that this first month was probably the steepest learning curve of my life. I hadn’t previously considered working within geophysics, and all of the experience I had was working with scales in the hundreds of metres, whereas this role usually involved only the top four metres of the subsurface! It has inspired however to continue with a career in geophysics.

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3. What does your current job role involve?

My current job role primarily involves conducting geophysical surveys around the country with various methods. Our usual routine involves collecting data, generation maps and producing reports for clients, usually with the view to locating areas containing archaeology. A few times a year we also get involved with research projects that comprise a range of disciplines (including archaeology and geology).

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

The two aspects I enjoy most about my job are the variability from week to week, and the opportunities for using new and innovative methods with research projects, for example using data from laser-scanning for topographic correction of resistivity data.

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

My experiences while studying for this course included some people outside of the geological community casting doubts as to the usefulness of a degree in geosciences. There was a definite attitude that there was very little with regards to job prospects. I think it’s important to encourage more girls into geoscience if only to highlight the range of opportunities available to them.

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

Earth Sciences incorporates such a range of subjects and specialisms that may not have previously been of interest to you, or you may not have come across before, therefore  my one piece of advice would be to keep an open mind. Some people can enter a degree or career in Earth Sciences with a clear objective of what they want to achieve, and while that’s commendable I also think it’s important to remain open to different opportunities.


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

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

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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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