Michaela is a PhD student at the University of Auckland/Te Wānanga o Waipapa, New Zealand. Her research investigates the oldest evidence of terrestrial life on Earth in 3.5-billion-year-old hot spring deposits in the Dresser formation, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. She uses modern hydrothermal analogues in New Zealand and Yellowstone National Park, and younger Phanerozoic fossilised systems (Argentinian Jurassic deposits and Coromandel Miocene sinter), to draw comparisons. Her research in the Pilbara also contributes to work for Origin of Life studies of early life on Earth, and the possibility of life on other planets, such as Mars.
Michaela is passionate about outreach. She was the Outreach Coordinator for Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland (DEVORA). Now she focuses on promoting and educating the New Zealand public about Astrobiology. This includes outreach with schools in the Rotorua region, teaching and designing undergraduate Astrobiology courses, mentoring undergraduate students, and helping to develop teaching material for high school teachers. Her outreach often emphasises the importance of using Geology to understand the past, so we can better prepare for the future.
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