Jess Phoenix is a volcanologist, natural hazards expert, nonprofit founder, and author—and she has played them all on TV.
Phoenix works as a volcanologist, a geologist specializing in researching active or extinct volcanoes. Her latest book Ms. Adventures: My Wild Explorations in Science, Lava, and Life, explores her scientific work and daring adventures and her efforts to make science more inclusive and accessible.
She says writing about her scientific work comes naturally.
“I tap into my roots in public speaking. I went to a high school where all of the students were required to take a speech and debate course. I was an introvert, which no one believes now,” Phoenix says. “I started out doing extemporaneous speaking, five-to-seven-minute speeches where you have only 30 minutes to prepare a coherent speech on [a topic] you pulled out of a hat. You see it in the book—I will have a complex concept, something as out there as cosmogenic nuclide dating. I can say, ‘What’s the heart of this? What is the hurdle of knowledge or experience I need to impart to the reader?”
Phoenix’ career has taken her from university classrooms to Death Valley in the summer, and on journeys around the world from reality television sites in Ecuadorian jungles to Andean glaciers.