UCL Earth Sciences


Scientist Spotlight: Isabelle Hoppe

2 June 2021

Hello fellow Earth Scientist enthusiasts! My name is Isabelle Hoppe and I am in my penultimate year studying Environmental Geoscience in UCL’s Earth Science department. I support the WiES group in the Development and Outreach Team as well as the Membership and Engagement Team.

Isabelle Hoppe inside a quarry

I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany and spent a few years living in Shanghai, China as well. Despite living in metropolitan cities, nature and biodiversity always intrigued me and I spent every second I could outside, exploring and being around animals. This led me to the clear choice of pursuing biology higher level and from there the complex relationships within ecosystems and the impact we humans have on them captured me. After my graduation, I spent time interning in Green-Technology firms and worked within a sustainable urban-hydrology planning agency, trying to understand how we can work with the environment and not against it. It was during my four weeks spent on the remote 56ha small island of Naifaru in the middle of the Indian Ocean where I committed myself to the field of Environmental science and found a deep fascination for marine biology. Spending time with like minded individuals and seeing the impact of plastic waste and overfishing on the coral reef ecosystems first hand was eye-opening and devastating concurrently.

I chose UCL’s Environmental Geoscience course in order to learn the scientific backgrounds behind the complex intersection of the physical and biological world and have enjoyed the in-depth, small scale classes greatly. Exploring past climates and working with isotopes to reconstruct past environments has been a personal highlight and I can’t wait to get in the field and deepen my understanding of the impactful geophysical processes as well.

London has been a dream and I really found joy jogging in the parks, visiting museums, cooking and meeting new people from all around the world. The WiES group seemed to be the one thing missing and I greatly appreciate all the effort that has gone into creating this supportive and inclusive group. I often found myself being the only one pursuing a STEM career among female friends and value a team of open minded and inspiring women who make up WiES!

I am currently assisting Dr. Sudeshna Basu, Dr. Andrew Thomson with their UCL based research-project, which aims to improve our understanding on the double bind facing women from minority ethnicity in geoscience and to provide insights to their near invisibility in this field from enrolment to senior positions. Within this research I have realised the lengths we still have to go to encourage and facilitate more female enrolment in the Earth Sciences field and I believe the WiES group is a great first step!