Geoscientist & Science Writer: Kylie Williams
Education: BSc and BAppSci (Hons) in Geology, MSc in Science Communication
Current Position: Freelance science writer @ resourceswriter.com
Past positions: Geoscientist @ Geoscience Australia, HSEC Coordinator @ Rio Tinto, Communication Advisor @ CSIRO – among others!
Why did you choose a career in earth science?
To be honest, I chose Earth Science in my first year at university to avoid taking Math, and I’m so glad I did! I fell in love with Earth Science in the first semester of my first year, along with the idea of working outside with fun people, and travelling all over the world to understand how the earth works.
How did you get into the job that you're in now?
I became a freelance writer about four years ago. After working as a geologist and then as a health, safety, environment and community coordinator on mineral exploration projects in Australia, North America and Europe, I transitioned into science communication. After a while, I realised that writing and sharing stories about earth science was what I was most passionate about and set out on my own as a freelance science writer and copywriter.
What is something early-career geoscientists can do to make themselves more likely to get a job?
Networking. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re at a conference or meeting or bumping along in a bus on a field trip, just start
talking to the people around you and listen to their stories
and share yours. You may connect with someone who inspires
you and sets you on a new path, find a job, or just make a friend.
What is your favourite place that your work has taken you? Why were you there and why is it a interesting place?
A homestead on the Hoarfrost River, at the northeastern tip of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada. While working at Rio Tinto, we went to Hoarfrost in the middle of winter to complete Arctic Survival and Remote First Aid training, in preparation for Arctic fieldwork. It was magical! We saw the northern lights, learned to start a fire in the snow, built shelters (and slept in them!), performed rescues, drove a skidoo and a dog sled across a frozen lake, and even washed in a traditional sauna. Sadly, the homestead was destroyed by a forest fire three years ago, but the bush pilot and his incredible family are still living there and rebuilding. I hope to return one day!
What do you wish the public knew about earth science?
In recent years, people have become aware of where their clothes are made, how far their food has travelled, and how animals are treated before they become food. People care about the path from farm to table and ethical supply chains. I wish we could explain minerals and energy resources in the same way. Few people think about the path of metals from the ground to an iPhone, where the diamond on their finger came from, or know how the electricity in their home is produced. I wish there was less of a disconnect between the earth resources we rely on every moment of everyday, where they come from, and who finds and extracts them.
Views expressed in blog posts reflect those of the author, and not necessarily those of the CFES.