Girls into Geoscience goes virtual

06 July 2020

Female scientists from across the UK and Ireland will convene virtually for the largest Girls into Geoscience event which takes place today, Monday 6 July 2020.

Dr Marie Busfield from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University is the founder of Girls into Geoscience Wales/Genod i’r Geowyddorau Cymru which was due to run its inaugural event later this year.

“I was really excited to launch GiG Wales in 2020 and showcase our fantastic local geology and geomorphology here in Aberystwyth, but COVID-19 had other ideas”, said Dr Busfield, one of the organisers of the virtual event.

“Whilst I was disappointed to cancel the event this year, being able to combine forces with the established sister events in England, Scotland and Ireland means we’ve been able to offer an outstanding and incredibly varied programme, and we’re delighted so many young women are registered to attend.”

Girls into Geoscience is an outreach initiative designed to inspire the next generation of female scientists by showcasing the vast array of careers and further study opportunities in geology, geography, and environmental sciences.

The flagship event was launched in 2014 by Dr Sarah Boulton and Dr Jodie Fisher at the University of Plymouth, and has since seen the launch of sister initiatives GiG Scotland led by Dr Amanda Owen at the University of Glasgow, and GiG Ireland led by Elspeth Wallace at the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG).

All four GiG initiatives faced difficult decisions to cancel their in-person events this year amidst the pandemic, but this created an exciting new opportunity to work together for the first virtual event of its kind.

As a result, participants this year will benefit from talks, workshops, and virtual field trips run by over 45 leading women in geoscience.

Dr Busfield added: “The really exciting thing about this virtual event is the sheer number and range of contributions we can offer. We have women in geological engineering and science communication, volcanologists and glaciologists, specialists in earthquakes and green energy solutions. It really gives us a chance to show just how broad this discipline is and introduce participants to experts and study sites from all over the world.”

The event will also offer a variety of interactive panels which give the participants a chance to talk to the professional geoscientists, current undergraduate students and each other about all sorts of topics from what life is really like on fieldwork, to applying to university, and how to deal with change and challenges which most should be more than familiar with this year.

As part of the event, Dr Busfield will be joined by Katie Miles, a PhD researcher in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, undergraduate students Holly Wytiahlowsky and Liza Riches, and Aberystwyth University Alumna Laura Hoath.

Dr Busfield said: “The organising team will miss meeting participants in person this year but hope the free online event will enable us to widen participation even further, and continue to breakdown some of the barriers to women in science and geoscience.”