As a “first-generation scientist,” Zoe didn’t really understand what a career in science might entail, other than working in a lab, so she completed a degree in Music after leaving school. She then returned to university in her twenties and gained a BSc (hons) in Geology and Petroleum Geology, then a PhD in Geology, both at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and has never looked back.
Zoe loves fieldwork and has worked in some amazing locations. Her research has taken her all over the world, from castle-topped cliffs in Scotland to a salt mine in Poland, laboratories in Europe, looking at rock cores in Canada, and lots in between. As a life-long “rock hound,” she loves collecting rocks and fossils and is well known for her insistence on bringing back exciting samples from fieldwork, even if they weigh several kilograms.
Most of Zoe’s research has focused on rocks that are more than 400 million years old. Considering them at every scale, from large-scale field outcrops in cliffs and gorges to microscopic crystals, rocks can provide a huge amount of information—it’s a bit like looking at rock DNA. Because we can’t go back in time, extracting this information is essential to understand rock histories.
Outside her current work as a scientific editor, Zoe has been actively involved in several science outreach programmes and events, both in NZ and the UK, most recently with House of Science Wairarapa. She is passionate about accessibility, inclusivity, and diversity in science and hopes to inspire the next generation of scientists.