Dr Zoe Doubleday

The GiST chats to Dr Zoe Doubleday about what makes her tick and her passion for research – with its constant challenges.

What is your educational background?

My background is a little unusual. I grew up in rural Tasmania and was home-schooled for many years. My interest in science and ecology started from documenting the natural world around me. When I began studying science at university, I was worried I didn’t have the right background or training, but you can teach yourself anything!

Pursuing a career in STEM is more about finding out how you learn best than knowing a bunch of facts.

Tell us about your job and how you got to where you are.

After school, I took a year off, travelled and then went to uni for nearly eight years, from undergraduate straight through to postgraduate. I was offered jobs during this time, but I enjoyed studying, discovering and the ever-changing challenge of research – so I kept at it!

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

I love going on adventures, whether overseas or just in my local area, learning about people, food, culture and history. Since COVID, my adventures have been closer to home, renovating and learning about the history of my 100-year-old house. And I’m having a baby in a few weeks, so that will be my latest adventure! I also can’t live without yoga and doing something active outside.

What are your long-term career goals? Where do you want to be in 5 years?

I’m currently developing my own research laboratory, which is equally fun and challenging. My goal is to build a research team that not only delivers helpful science but pushes the boundaries of creative science communication. I would also love to spend some time doing research overseas to get to know a new culture.

However, I also don’t try to have too many super-concrete goals as life and the world are unpredictable, and you never know what is around the corner. As long as you keep pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, you can’t go wrong!

What advice do you have for girls interested in STEM?

It’s okay not knowing what you want to do or what you’re good at, but never let the feeling of ‘not knowing’ stop you from trying new things. You never know what you could discover.

Want to hear more from Dr Doubleday?