Geology BSc case study profile photo

Zoë Cumberpatch

Zoe Cumberpatch was a Geology BSc student, studying at the School of Earth and Environment. Zoe graduated in 2016 and now works as a Petrophysicist at Equinor.

Zoe’s role involves data interpretation during operations and planning of wells drilled for hydrocarbon exploration, production and carbon sequestration.

“I very much enjoy working for one of the companies at the forefront of the energy transition and contributing towards the company’s purpose of ‘providing energy for people and progress for society’.”

Choosing Geology at Leeds

“I visited Leeds on a very rainy open day, but I was soon taken away by the impressiveness of the Visualisation Lab, and the friendliness of the staff in the department.”

Zoe particularly liked the opportunity to tailor your degree programme.

“I knew it wanted to work in the petroleum industry, so I was able to take modules that were focussed to that career choice, these were also the modules that I enjoyed the best, and were modules where I could apply my knowledge in a practical, industrial way, gaining vital ‘job’-style experience.”

“The field trips were also a brilliant opportunity to learn a lot and make connections for life. I was very lucky to have done my dissertation field trip in Greece.”

Zoe Cumberpatch on research trip in Greece


Another great thing about Leeds was their connections with industry. I did a year in industry, where I worked for a Palaeogeographic mapping company for a year – giving me important work experience in geology!

Zoë Cumberpatch

Exciting projects

Zoe was involved with a lot of group work and poster-making. She felt field trip group work provided brilliant learning opportunities.

“One of the most vital interpersonal skills that was developed at University was the ability to work in groups.”

Impact of studying at Leeds on future career

The personalisation of my degree programme, made me an attractive candidate for my masters scholarship and subsequent PhD, because I was going in to these programmes with extra ‘specialisation’ than students with a ‘generic’ Geology training.

Zoë Cumberpatch

“The year in industry programme also allowed me to earn money, and experience for a year between my 2nd and 3rd year of University.”

“I remember quite a lot of group work I was involved with included a mix of geologists and reservoir engineers in the groups, with quite a variety of backgrounds and experiences; most of my work these days involved international interdisciplinary teams, so I’m glad to have had some experience of that at my time in Leeds.”

Hobbies and societies

Zoe was the president of RocSoc. She was also on the AAPG committee, a student rep for the Leeds Geological Association, a student employability ambassador and played on the department women’s football team!

“I also worked part time in an outdoor clothes shop, and was a member of the aerial gymnastics and pole dance (the gymnastic pursuit not the other variety!) societies: a hobby that has led to me being known by my colleagues as the ‘pole dancing petrophysicist’…. I absolutely loved the fact that Leeds has such a massive students union, so there is genuinely opportunity to join loads of fun societies, or make your own.”

Advice for future students

“There is probably not a more exciting time to be studying Geoscience. Can you think of any industry that is undergoing more of a fundamental change right now than the energy industry? What an exciting time to be part of it!”

Most companies are continuing to hire Geoscientists as they are recognised as fundamental in the energy transition - where it is vital to have an understanding of the subsurface. We already see a skills shortage in qualified Geoscientists coming out of University – so your job prospects would probably be better than mine were!!

Zoë Cumberpatch

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