NEW! PostDoc Research Fellow, Subsurface Hydrogen Storage, Dr. Rachelle Kernen @salt_sed_belle: A Day in the GeoLife Series

petroleum geology
Dr. Rachelle Kernen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Adelaide, South Australia

NAME: Dr. Rachelle Kernen

CURRENT TITLE: Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Geology (Sedimentology-Stratigraphy)
Salt-Sediment Interaction
Carbon & Hydrogen Subsurface Storage
Renewable Energy
Diversity, Inclusion, Women’s Issues
Writing Scientific Reports and Publishing Scientific Papers



Bachelor of Science: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (Geology)
Master of Science: New Mexico State University (Geology)
Ph.D.: The University of Texas-El Paso (Geology)
In process: Professional Master’s Renewable Energy & Sustainability Systems


TWITTER NAME: salt_sed_belle

What’s your job like?

As a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, my job looks different almost every day! I am mostly working on publishing research focused on subsurface hydrogen storage and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Besides publishing, I enjoy writing grant proposals to fund future research and starting new research projects. Besides research and writing, I started hosting energy-related podcasts in 2020. My podcast has grown and now receives funding from the US Midwest Regional Carbon Initiative. In addition to balancing my writing, research, podcast, and social activities, I am a strong advocate for self-care. It’s really important to get 8 hours of sleep, eat well, exercise, meditate daily, and spend time with loved ones such as your partner, family, and friends. I truly believe that taking care of one’s self is the key to long-term sustainability and success in one’s career and life.

What’s a typical day like?

A typical day has evolved into a hybrid of working from home or going into my office at the University. I usually have several Zoom calls a day and mostly work on writing and drafting figures for my research manuscripts and grant proposals. I am beginning to plan field-based research projects in the upcoming months in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. Besides keeping up with my research and volunteer work, I spend time at home in rural Australia caring for dogs, bunnies, chickens, and a garden.

subsurface hydrogen storage
Dr. Rachelle Kernen

What’s fun?

I love having a flexible schedule at the moment. I am able to exercise in between Zoom calls or spend time taking care of my animals and gardens. I enjoy the solitude of working from home and also going to the University to have research meetings. Prior to the pandemic, I was so busy traveling and working that I never had enough downtime or was able to enjoy a more simple lifestyle. I absolutely love recording my podcasts and connecting with people in a genuine way. 

What’s challenging?

Everything about life has been challenging since 2020. I was on the verge of moving to Australia for a postdoc when the pandemic hit the United States. That job was delayed in 2020 and reinstated in late 2021. I moved to South Australia in December 2021 and started my postdoc in January 2022. It’s been a dream-come-true living as an ex-pat in Australia, however, there are moments of feeling isolated. To overcome these challenges, I think it’s really important to spend time with people face-to-face when possible.  

What’s your advice to students?

To overcome challenges, it’s really important to nurture your community and network. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. There are so many people who are willing to help, you just have to be open to receiving advice and positive criticism. Never lose hope and faith in your ability to succeed and overcome challenges. Make self-care and emotional support a priority during the ‘storm’ and be kind to yourself and to others. It’s really important to surround yourself (both virtually and in-person) with positive, uplifting people who feel healthy and help to calm you. Educate yourself about healthy relationships and pursue those throughout your life. If you feel well on the inside and are able to be your authentic self, you will certainly attract and foster a successful career and personal life. 

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