One of the reasons I went to law school (I know, this is a science magazine—stay with me a second) is because when I was young, people would always say, “You can do anything with a law degree!” But nearly everyone I met during school and shortly after graduation was an attorney at a law firm. It took many years of life experience to find alternative routes to better- suited careers in which my education would still be useful.
Last year, Eos published its first Career Issue. It was a project that manifested from the many conversations we had with geoscientists about the same conundrum. Students and early-career researchers sometimes only have colleagues who are academics—a rewarding career for many, but it’s not for everyone. Sometimes it’s not even for academics over the course of their entire professional lives. So how do you know what options you have? How else can you take this wondrous knowledge of Earth and space sciences and find the career that’s most rewarding for you personally?
One of the many joys of journalism is constantly seeking out and meeting a wide spectrum of people doing all sorts of jobs, projects, and tasks we may never have thought about before. That means Eos is in a perfect position to show off the many paths where a geoscience education can take you. We received such a good response to our first Career Issue that we’re making it an annual special edition.
Here we present 19 profiles of science professionals from around the world who are using their hard-earned education in all sorts of fields—yes, including academia. Some of these names you might recognize from Eos reporting over the past year. (Heads up: If we call you up to talk about some research and you’ve got an unusual job, we might just be calling you back to ask, “Hang on, how did you get there?”)
Learn how Michael Kotutwa Johnson uses his Ph.D. in natural resources to keep Indigenous agricultural practices alive. Jimena Díaz Leiva returned to Peru after her doctoral work in California equipped with the education and cultural knowledge to address the “really complex historical and political processes” around the country’s gold mining industry. Alexandre Martinez is using his love of cool tech to bring climate education to the public through virtual reality. And community college professor Sian Procter piloted her geoscience education right up into orbit with SpaceX.
We hope you’re impressed by these creative and hardworking scientists and inspired to look around for a profession that brings you joy—or if you’re already there, look around and see who might like to have a guide.
—Heather Goss (@heathermg), Editor in Chief