Inspiring Women Cogent Geoscience

As part of our celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we reached out to four women in geoscience to learn about their research and their experiences as a female researcher.
Find their interviews in full on our website -

We hope that you enjoy! 

Claire Parkinson

Climate Change Senior Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland, USA

Claire is a Climate Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and her research interests include climate change, and sea ice monitoring from satellite observations.

In 1973-4, Claire conducted an expedition to Antarctica, analysing satellite data for information about the sea ice covers of the Arctic and Antarctic (see attached photo). This is a career highlight in itself, but Claire made a bigger impact by being the only female present at some points in the expedition. Claire also led the ‘Women of Goddard’ initiative in 2010-2011, in association with the Maryland Women’s Observation Center, producing a book that celebrated 103 Goddard women in STEM careers.

Ellen Kooijman

Senior Researcher at the Department of Geosciences, Swedish Museum of Natural History

Ellen is a Senior Researcher in isotope geology, and head of the Vegacenter, a national laboratory for micro-analysis in geoscience. Her research interests include the fields of geochemistry, metamorphic petrology and tectonics.

Not only a scientist, Ellen has worked with none other than Lego to create a unique Research Institute Lego product featuring a female astronomer, chemist, and palaeontologist. Her design taps into a need for toys that show women in non-traditional roles and it is remarkable that this idea has been promoted by such a global company that dominates its field.

Emily Fischer

Assistant Professor, Colorado State University

Emily is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, and her research interests include atmospheric chemistry, chemistry climate interactions, and air quality issues.

In 2014, Emily helped to set up PROGRESS (Promoting Geoscience Research Education and Success), an initiative that aims to directly challenge a number of harmful stereotypes that exist within the Geoscience community. The results of PROGRESS so far indicate that a student’s chance of remaining in a geoscience-related major are significantly improved if that student is able to identify a female role model.

Michele Tobias

Spatial Data Curator, University of California Davis

Michele is a Spatial Data Curator at the University of California Davis Library, and her research interests include California beach biogeography and ecology, geospatial technologies.

Outside of her work, Michele is a big supporter of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the Free & Open Source for Geospatial (FOSS4G), and importantly, Women in GIS (Geographic Information System) communities. One of Michele's biggest inspirations for her research is Edith Purer, the first woman professional scientific ecologist, who she admires for her achievements as both a woman and a scientist at a time when gender equality was minimal.