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.

Dr Boulton, Associate Professor in Active Neotectonics, said:

“I was initially very disappointed when we had to cancel Girls into Geoscience this year as many months of work had already gone into organising our event, and I really look forward to meeting in person all the enthusiastic young women each year. However, we quickly made the decision to switch to a virtual event and were really pleased when our sister events in Scotland, Ireland and Wales agreed to join us.
"Getting everything online in a short period of time has been a mammoth task made easier by our excellent team. Although it will be sad not to see the girls in Plymouth, we hope that by going online we can overcome some of the barriers to attending a live event and that it will be bigger and more diverse than ever.”

Dr Fisher, Senior Technician in Earth sciences, added:

“Going virtual has been a steep learning curve, and very different from organising the physical event in Plymouth that we are used to. The girls get such a wonderful experience meeting role models, and finding other girls with the same interests as themselves, we were really keen to recreate this as much as we could virtually.
"With the brilliant organising team from Plymouth, Glasgow, Aberystwyth and Dublin we have got 45 women from across the UK and Ireland involved in talks, panels, workshops and even virtual field trips. I will miss meeting the girls face to face, but I am really excited we have been able to find a way for Girls into Geoscience to continue and reach more girls than ever.”

Girls into Geoscience 2020

This event will introduce female A level students to the Earth sciences and demonstrate the world of careers open to Earth science graduates today

GiG will take place on 6 July 2020

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School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Our courses in this area are consistently ranked among the best in the world and we have researchers considered leaders in their field in chemistry, geography, geology and environmental science.

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Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN is a national Charter designed to advance the careers of women in STEMM.

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences holds a bronze Athena SWAN departmental award.

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