From education to employment

Girls into Geoscience 2020 gives pupils a virtual insight into the Earth sciences

The next generation of female scientists will be transported virtually to locations all over the world thanks to an award-winning annual event.

Girls into Geoscience, coordinated by the University of Plymouth, was due to take place in the city in July but the physical event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, the organisers decided to stage the whole event online and have since pulled together the largest ever programme of its kind, with more than 250 girls from across the UK and Ireland having signed up to take part.

It will include talks, interactive workshops and panel debates involving female geologists currently working at a variety of universities and other organisations.

Girls will also get to talk to them about how they entered – and continue to succeed in – the profession, and their research into volcanoes, earthquakes, dinosaurs and other geological processes in locations ranging from Peru to Italy.

They will also be able to go on virtual field trips to Siccar Point in Scotland, widely regarded as the birthplace of modern geology, and the south coast of Cornwall.

Girls into Geoscience was founded in 2014 by Dr Sarah Boulton and Dr Jodie Fisher, from the University’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Its aim is to introduce female A level students to the Earth sciences and demonstrate the world of careers open to graduates, and since its launch almost 400 pupils from schools across the UK have taken part.

It received the Geological Society’s R H Worth Award (presented in recognition of achievements in outreach, public engagement and/or education) in 2018, and has also led to the launch of sister events in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

This year all those events are being combined into one on Monday 6 July, with the organisers – from the Universities of Plymouth, Glasgow, Aberystwyth, and iCRAG in Ireland – saying it has created a number of opportunities and possibly the most diverse group of speakers and participants ever.

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