Sophie Goliber

Mount Hope, New York

"Science is for anyone who is curious enough to pursue it."

I graduated from the Minisink Valley High School in 2013 and went on to the University of Buffalo for my B.S. in Geology! I was excited to move to a city although I missed the beautiful outdoors of my hometown. During my undergrad, I focused on research in planetary and polar remote sensing. Now at UT Austin, I am studying glaciers in Greenland and will be getting my PhD in geology in 2022! After that, I would like to pursue a career in Science Policy in Washington, D.C.

My Pathway

When I was younger, I had many dream jobs: fashion designer, veterinarian, actress, and professional chef. I never was the star student in my math and science classes, but I had a knack for speaking and I worked well with others. I didn't have the natural technical skills so I didn't think I had the potential to be a scientist. I hadn't really considered it as a viable option for me.

Once I got to college and took a geoscience class, I could see that science was for anyone who is curious enough to pursue it. You don't need to have an A+ in calculus and physics; you just need to have the perseverance to move forward when you don't know something and figure it out and you have to stay curious. Answering unknown questions is at the heart of science. Even if you don't get to the bottom of your specific question, you will definitely learn a lot along the way!

My ability to work well on a team, take up leadership roles, and speak clearly and confidently has helped me more than I thought it would during my career in science. I can communicate my science to all sorts of people and have lead successful collaborations and student organizations. Don't count your "soft skills" out; they are more important than you think! And I still cook all the time! :)

Me! At Aialik Glacier is a glacier in the Kenai Peninsula Borough of Alaska.

The surprising thing is...

When I first started graduate school, I was convinced I had to be a research professor to make a difference in my field of glaciology, but after meeting numerous people in the policy and science communication field, I saw my social and communication skills are great for the world of science policy! I am passionate about making climate policy that is informed by science as well as climate science education. There are so many directions you can go with a Ph.D. (or any geoscience degree) and they are all valid, so don't limit yourself!


Don't be discouraged if you aren't good at something right away. People rarely are! The media makes scientists out to be natural geniuses, but in reality, most of us had to work really hard to get where we are, but we stuck with it because we are passionate about it.

Contact Me!

Reach out to learn more about the geosciences, about how to become a geoscientist, or to talk about your own story.