Girls into Geoscience

Girls into Geoscience introduces girls from S5 to S6 (GCSE to A level) to the Geosciences; a diverse subject that incorporates aspects of geography, biology, chemistry and physics in which hazards, the evolution of life and our planet, and natural resources can be studied.

This event brings together women from industry, government bodies, academia and High Schools in order to highlight and promote the role Geoscience has in our society and its potential to be an exciting and worthwhile subject and career to pursue for women.

The event has a mixture of activities taking place, ranging from a mini lecture, career talks from those who have gone into Geoscience careers as well as labs and workshops where participants are able to get hands on with Geoscience concepts.

Girls into Geoscience has grown from an initial concept at the University of Plymouth, with events now present in Ireland, Wales and Scotland. It is a fantastic, supportive network that we are very proud to be a part of.

For any queries, or if you would like to join our mailing list, please contact us on girlsintogeo@glasgow.ac.uk or through Twitter and Instagram.

GiG 2021

We are delighted to announce that we have opened up booking for our 2021 event.

This year’s event, like last year’s, will be held online due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which offers new opportunities to expand the diversity of speakers along with the number of attendees. Girls signing up to take part this year can look forward to a varied selection of speakers, workshops, field trips and Q&A panels.

On Monday 28 June attendees can pick to attend two virtual field trips in the afternoon from a variety of locations across our planet (and solar system!):

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Fieldtrip 1 options

A) Ancient landscapes and life! How did the Yorkshire coast change 170 million years ago? (Dr Amanda Owen, University of Glasgow)

In this virtual field trip you will learn how Geoscientists interpret what our planet looked like millions of years ago. We will transport you to a number of sites around the Yorkshire coastline using fossils and rocks to help us determine the different environments and landscapes that were present, how they changed and why they changed. We will then discuss how your observations will inform our predictions of what will happen in the future as a result of climate change.    

B) 500 million year history of the Isle of Skye (Dr Anna Bird, University of Hull)

This virtual field course is designed to enable you to explore igneous and metamorphic rocks in the field. We will be introducing you to the classic and internationally famous geology on the Isle of Skye, NW Scotland. You will get to examine a range of igneous and metamorphic rock types developed over a long period of geological time, Pre-Cambrian to present day (over 500 million years)! We will examine thick Cambrian meta-sedimentary successions and igneous rocks, which relate to the opening of the Atlantic! You will use virtual outcrops to deduce the long geological history of part of the Isle of Skye.

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Fieldtrip 2 options

C) Hidden glaciers on Earth & Mars (Katie Miles & Adam Hepburn, Aberystwyth University)

When we think of glaciers, we usually imagine pristine, white masses of ice carving our landscape. However, many glaciers are hidden from view by a surface layer of rocks and dirt. On both Earth and Mars, these glaciers are incredibly important for future water resource supplies. On this fieldtrip, you will explore these hidden glaciers, unearth their distinct characteristics, and discover just why they are so significant.

D) Devil’s Tower – Wyoming, USA (Tracy Aze and Jacqui Horton, University of Leeds)

This trip will take you to the heart of an ancient volcano, where we will investigate this magnificent 872-foot igneous butte using drone footage, augmented reality, 3D virtual models of the out crop and pictures of rock specimens.

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On Tuesday 29th, attendees will listen to talks given by women from a diverse range of careers in the Geosciences (talk titles TBC) as well as take part in a number of Q&A sessions including careers, university life, opportunities and challenges. In addition, students can attend two workshops in the afternoon from the following choices:

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Workshop 1 options

A) Volcanoes, landslides, tsunamis, why look at one? Let’s do them all! (Dr Irene Manzella, University of Plymouth)

An insight on how we can model tsunamis caused by pyroclastic density currents and landslides in volcanic environments. With this workshop we will look at the main factors that influences these events, in particular how big the tsunami wave can be and how far it can go. At the same time we will have an insight on how geoscientists use numerical modelling to assess hazards and therefore reduce risks in rather dangerous environments.

B) Peruvian glaciers and water resources (Dr Caroline Clason and Dr Sally Rangecroft, University of Plymouth)

This workshop will explore environmental change in the Peruvian Andes, including the themes of glacier loss and water resources, and discuss what the implications are for local people under a changing climate and increased pressures on land use. You will explore the area in Google Earth and be given questions to think about and try to answer ahead of the workshop. During the workshop we will have a web chat to discuss these questions and your thoughts on the challenges that this region faces. We will also have a short Q&A about what it's like to conduct fieldwork in glaciated/mountainous regions as female scientists, and what it's like to be a female researcher in this field.

C) Forensic Geoscience: Using geoscience to solve crimes! (Elspeth Wallace,iCRAG)

What do police work and geoscience have in common? They're both crucially important to solving crimes! Join us in this workshop to discover what forensic geoscience is, how it works and to put your skills to the test to solve a murder mystery.

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Workshop 2 options

D) Microfossils as windows to past climates (Dr Tracy Aze, University of Leeds)

Marine microfossils are one of the most important groups for investigating and reconstructing past climate change. In this workshop you will learn how to identify key trends in species diversity and body size that will allow us to identify where our samples came from and what the climatic conditions were when they were deposited.

E) Telling the time with sand grains (Dr Rachel Smedley, University of Liverpool)

Ever heard of luminescence dating? It’s an amazing technique that can tell when grains of sand were last exposed to sunlight before they are buried. It provides timeframes for past environmental change, from the recent past, up to hundreds of thousands of years ago. In this workshop, we will explore how we use luminescence dating in many interesting environments, from the large ice sheets and river systems of Patagonia, to huge dust deposits of central Europe and working closer to home on UK coastal systems. Come along and learn about something completely new that continually pushes the frontiers of science!

F) Adventures on Mars (Divya M Peraud, University College London and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

The images currently arriving from Mars show that we have a lot in common with our nearest planetary neighbour. In this workshop you will get the chance to use your geography and geology skills to examine several Martian outcrops and features and work out what environmental processes are at play.

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Feedback for both our in person and online events have been overwhelmingly positive for attendees, so book your place to find out about the world of geoscience!

For more information please contact amanda.owen@glasgow.ac.uk.

 

GiG 2020: Going virtual across the UK

We sadly had to cancel our annual Girls into Geoscience event this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. However, we weren’t going to let this stop us, and with colleagues from Girls into Geoscience Plymouth, Girls into Geoscience Wales and Girls into Geoscience Ireland, we have put together a fantastic virtual offering encompassing all the aspects of our normal event and more. With inspiring speakers, stimulating Q and A panels, and even virtual fieldtrips, we hope that although we can’t meet physically, this virtual event will enable girls from anywhere in the UK and Ireland (and beyond) to attend, and to get involved in Girls into Geoscience.
 
This fantastic free event is aimed at girls about to undertake/taking Highers (ages 14-17) who are interested in finding out more about the geosciences and the directions it could take them. Teachers are more than welcome along too. Geoscience is a diverse subject and our talks and workshops highlight this with aspects of chemistry, biology, physics and geography coming together.
 
Material will be available online from Friday 3 July with the live event taking place on Monday 6 July. The event will take place on iVent, and once registered attendees will receive joining information and weblinks to the event and sessions they have chosen. In order to provide an inspiring and broad range of speakers, the talks will be made available prior to the event so the girls can watch them at their leisure and then take part in a live Q and A session with the speakers, where they can find out more about the amazing careers that the geosciences can lead to.

The rest of the day is made up of a range of workshops and panel sessions for the girls to choose from. The workshops are aimed at getting the girls hands on at home with choices from glaciers to natural hazards, and corals and climate to exploring Mars. There will also be short Q and A panel sessions on a range of topics such as applying to university, student life and dealing with change, challenges and opportunities. Panels are made up of a range of students, academics and industry geoscientists, all ready to answer any questions the girls may have.

Finally, we can’t go into the field, but let us bring the field to you; there'll be a choice of fields trips from both Scotland and Cornwall. Designed to showcase fieldwork techniques, these sessions are followed by a live Q and A where girls can ask experienced field geologists what being in the field is really like.

To book a place, email girlsintogeoscience@plymouth.ac.uk to request a booking form. All forms need to be returned by Friday 26 June.


GiG 2019

The first Girls into Geoscience event ran on August 1st 2019 at the University of Glasgow and attracted 25 students from a wide range of Scottish locations (from Aberdeen to Ayr) as well as locations as far south as Buxton, England. In addition, several school teachers attended as well as representatives from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

In the morning Jessica Smith from Atkins Global, Anna Hicks from the British Geological Survey and Amy Gilligan from the University of Aberdeen all gave talks on their personal journeys from what made them passionate about Geoscience from a young age and their career journeys to date. The talks took an innovative interactive approach, in which the participants handled seismometers, learnt about the role of geoscience in engineering solutions and the importance of science communication in natural disasters, all aimed to improve inquisitive based learning. After each talk there was an informal question and answer session within which the visiting girls engaged very positively and had open and frank conversations with our invited speakers. Subjects discussed varied from the science behind their jobs as well as how they have personally dealt with any barriers placed in front of them.

After an informal lunch in which the Hunterian Museum laid out spectacular samples for the girls to interact with, the participants chose from a selection of hands-on workshops. These included making 'volcanoes' in the lab, retrieving and interpreting their own sediment cores in 'Earth's past climates', studying meteorites from outer space and assessing changing landscapes.

GiG 2019 Programme

9:00-9:45. Arrival and registration

9:45 – 10:00.   Welcome talk.

10:00- 10:30. Talk: Dr Anna Hicks, Volcanologist, British Geological Survey ‘Volcanic Hazards and Risk’

10:30-11:00. Break

11:00-11:30. Talk: Jessica Smith, Senior Engineering Geologist, Atkins ‘Engineering Geology: practical applications of the Geosciences’

11:30-12:00. Talk: Dr Amy Gilligan, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen. ‘What lies beneath: using earthquakes to discover how our planet works’

12:00-1:15. Lunch

1:15-2:15. Workshop 1. Participants will decide between 2 topics:

  • Volcanoes in the lab: What rocks can reveal about volcanic eruptions
  • Outer space on Earth: what can rocks tell us about the formation of the solar system?

2:30- 3:30. Workshop 2. Participants will decide between 2 topics:

  • How do sediments record environmental and climate change?
  • Landscape dynamics in a changing world: how do we measure and interpret landscape change?

3:30 – 3:45. Closing remarks

Sponsors for the 2019 event: Atkins