By Kelly

Bec Norman and myself, looking intrepid on White Island, off New Zealand’s North Island

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my life is awesome. I had quite the youth, but nothing compared to the adventures I’ve had since I enlisted as a student of the Earth Sciences 5 years ago. I’ve been flown to Santa Catalina to train as a scientific diver, then dived for zooplankton for six weeks in the sun while home braved the winter. Then I went again, but to Puerto Rico, for another six weeks a few years later.  I’ve been out to sea on a research vessel studying phytoplankton (and in the process I met my husband which was the GREATEST discovery of all), I’ve climbed volcanoes (see inset), I’ve attended conferences in Hawaii, New Zealand, Portland, New York and Amsterdam. I’ve been taught how to use instruments so powerful they need to live in a cage, and last summer I went on the trip of a lifetime all the way to the Antarctic. How many people can say they have been rushed by penguins?

And just when I thought I couldn’t possibly top any of that…I’m heading to Outback Queensland next week. We are allowed 3 or 4 weeks break a year and while some people take holidays I’m off to shoot a documentary on dinosaurs. That’s right I’m playing TV presenter for a week!

I’m coming to that point in my PhD where I need to start thinking about career options. I have always been very conscious of having a variety of skills so as not to pigeon-hole myself, but TV presenter was not high on the list….but why not? She says half jokingly. When I went to visit the production company for my audition (which was a strange experience in itself), I had a wonderful discussion about the importance of producing vibrant programs about science, because it is a vibrant and dynamic field. As mentioned in a certain blog I know, being an Earth Scientist is not just about socks and sandals. There can be so much more.

And what do I know about dinosaurs I here you ask? Not as much as I know about deep-sea coral that is for sure, but a point I’ve been trying to get across in numerous other posts is that there are so many very valuable skills gained from doing a PhD. I am not being employed as an expert on dinosaurs, I am being employed as someone who knows how to engage with a scientific subject. I don’t reconstruct the lives of dinosaurs through the fossil record but I do reconstruct climate from deep-sea coral. I look at specific chemistry and piece together the story of a time past…are you convinced? Well the producers were so shhhhhh.

Yesterday I turned the ripe old age of 37. But I don’t feel a day older than 25 because each year brings a new set of crazy adventures that take me far and wide. And it allows me to experience more of the world than the actual 25-year-old Kelly in her party shoes could ever have imagined 🙂