Where do you come from?
Originally, a small dairy farm in the South Waikato where doors were left unlocked and kids didn’t wear shoes (unless they were gumboots).

What’s your speciality?
Geothermal resources. I’m a geologist who’s been working to develop geothermal resources in New Zealand and abroad. Perhaps because a variety of people need to work together to develop a geothermal resource, I’m also interested in how scientists, business, stakeholders and the community can communicate effectivity.

Who or what has been your biggest influence?
My father who taught me that everything can be figured out.

What are three things that even your coworkers don’t know about you?
(1) My favourite thing to do while travelling is to check out supermarkets and street food markets.
(2) I love desert landscapes more than beaches or forests, but the heat makes me break out in a rash.
(3) After only five years of trail running in minimal shoes, my feet have grown half a size and my toes look weird.

When it comes to natural resources, what kinds of questions do people usually ask you?
Typically geothermal related questions like “is geothermal really sustainable” or “will geothermal wells cause earthquakes”. Because of my experience in well testing and structural geology, I also often get asked about fracking.

One sentence to say anything.
Even if it doesn’t feel that way, the small decisions we make on a day to day basis has a huge impact on the environment.

Irene is a doctoral candidate at the University of Auckland and has a science communication business called Cubic Earth