I have a broad interest in most things solid Earth geology and geophysics. I studied for my undergraduate and integrated masters at Imperial College – there I presented a passive seismic analysis of the New Zealand tectonic system as part of my dissertation, and during my masters I studied magnetic anomaly mapping in the Lesser Antilles subduction zone. I was lucky enough to be invited aboard the RRS James Cook for 5 weeks in summer 2017. Here I got to see how marine geophysical surveying is really done and it certainly fuelled the research bug even more for me. Whilst aboard, I was blogging weekly so you can read about my time at sea here.

Now into the fourth year (and hopefully, the home straight) of my PhD I have turned my attention to volcanic seismicity. I’m trying to understand how the earthquakes generated by active volcanoes, can give us more insight into eruptive processes. I work closely with the Instituto Geofísico in Quito, Ecuador and a lot of my research in the first couple of years has focused on Tungurahua Volcano. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Ecuador twice in 2018 on research visits. I’m looking in particular at a specific type of earthquake called long-period (LP). They have been persistent in active periods at Tungurahua and they have previously been attributed to fluid processes in the shallow system. When we see many of these events repeating at a constant rate and in a short space of time, this is referred to as drumbeat seismicity and it generates particularly curious seismographs. I’m looking to apply more rigorous statistical methods to understand these kinds of activity and contribute to our understanding of volcano-seismic interactions.

Presenting my research at conferences and having discussions with other scientists, is one of the best bits of being a PhD student.

Life as a PhD student

Here in Edinburgh, life outside of the PhD can be particularly busy! During my second year I was secretary for the Geosciences GradSchool committee – a student lead organisation to represent postgraduate researchers in GeoScience. We successfully organised a 3 day residential conference for over 80 guests, a student seminar series and a host of social evenings and ceilidhs. During term time, I am also a tutor and demonstrator for undergraduate Earth Science students. In Geophysics I tutor an Introductory Geophysics course for 2nd year students, covering principles of global seismology, electromagnetism and gravity, as well as a 4th year course on Natural Hazards & Risk. I also assist in a weekly Python computer lab for 2nd year geophysicists and 3rd year Environmental Geoscience students. Python is my programming language of choice for day to day work, but I have learned a little  C++ and MATLAB. During the first and second years of PhD I took a couple of extended courses to learn about AI and machine learning and their application in seismology.

In 2019 I completed a course run by the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), called introduction to Academic Practice in order to gain Associate Fellowhsip of the Higher Education Academy. I got to grips with peer-reviewed literature in Education, took part in teaching observation exchanges and after several months, I now know the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) like the back of my hand.


Away from the office I like to keep busy with sports and fitness. I am a member of a ladies netball club here in Edinburgh and train weekly for our Sunday league fixtures. I caught the running bug in 2016 and after a handful of half-marathons, I trained and ran my first marathon in 2019 (hopefully there’ll be a few more on the horizon!)

One of many cross stitch projects that has kept me busy over the years

I’m terrible at looking after my muscles though, and in bouts of injury rehabilitation I keep myself occupied with arts and crafts. I love embroidery, dress making and newly-interested in crochet!


Photo credits: Emma Pearce. I love travelling and especially travelling to see volcanoes. The header photo on this page is taken from Mt Sibayak looking over to Mt Sinabung in Indonesia. This was on a trip in July 2017 with the Geophysics Society at Imperial College.