Otago geologist wins Women In Science award

A Dunedin-based geologist has won the inaugural L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science New Zealand Fellowship. Dr Christina Riesselman, based at Otago University, will use the $25,000 grant to research climate change since the last Ice Age.

“What we’re learning about past climate will help us better understand the changes that we’re making to the planet right now, and help us plan for the future,” she says.

Christina, who has a PhD in geological and environmental sciences from Stanford University, came to New Zealand in 2013. She’s been involved in a series of Antarctic expeditions, studying sediment samples that reveal cycles of life and death in prehistoric Antarctica.

The world-wide L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme aims to support women scientists and encourage young women to enter the profession. In 2014, UNESCO found that women accounted for just 30 per cent of the world’s researchers.

While the programme has been running for 17 years, this is the first time New Zealand women in science have had their own dedicated fellowship. Martin Smith, L’Oreal New Zealand country manager, says the company is delighted to support the programme.

“We are immensely proud to be able to provide the opportunity for women to continue their research and move science forward in this country.”