Luisa Hendry warns me that she talks fast, her green acrylic nails tapping on the desk as she launches into our topic of choice.
Barely drawing breath, it’s easy to see why she has succeeded where many a dry lecturer has failed.
The 31-year-old can often be found in the Highlands, roaming the beautiful terrain and joyfully running her hands over rocky surfaces.
For rocks are Luisa’s passion, and she believes Scotland offers one of the most incredible landscapes where rocks can reveal a complicated past.
Whereas the average person would look out to sea, the beach is Luisa’s idea of heaven and it’s rare that she goes home without a new rock to add to her collection.
From the Lewisian Gneiss which is the oldest rock in Scotland, found of the Isle of Harris, to the metamorphic rocks of the Highlands, Luisa spends most weekends touring the region in a campervan in search of rocky delights.
After deciding to “wing it” and upload short educational clips to her Instagram page, Luisa has gained thousands of fans from around the globe.
It’s not just the fact that her enthusiasm is infectious; Luisa is hopeful that she is lighting the way for the next generation of young girls.
As a senior engineering geologist working in a male-dominated field, she believes you do not have to look “like Indiana Jones” in order to discover Scotland’s secrets.
From a fresh manicure to revealing the geology of Glencoe, we caught up with Luisa and found out why 200,000 followers and counting have come along for the ride.
“I grew up watching films like Volcano starring Tommy Lee Jones alongside documentaries about geology,” says Luisa.
“I remember thinking I would love to do something like that, but for a while I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer.
“I went to an open day when I was 15 and there was a stall with rocks on it for earth science.
“I had no idea you could study something like that.”
Secrets of the past
Luisa now works across Scotland managing ground investigations, and she is also building a geotech team.
“I did videos about rocks on the side, and just wow,” she says.
“There are people who love rocks just as much as me.
“I try to get out at the weekend; the geology of Scotland is amazing.
“The Isle of Harris for example has the oldest rock in Scotland – The Lewisian Gneiss.
“It’s so beautiful and there’s so much complicated history.
“Scotland offers some of the oldest rocks in Europe, up to 3 billion years old.
“We used to have mountain ranges as big as the Himalayas; rocks can enable us to look back in time and know what the weather was like.”
Luisa believes that once people understand the secrets that rocks can reveal, it’s easy to get hooked.
“I’ve bumped into people and I’ll say, did you know the rocks you’re walking on are 3 billion years old,” she says.
“When they realise, they’re fascinated because they’ve never realised how interesting rocks are.
“You can look at rocks in a different way – I think geology has been forgotten about in recent years though.”
Luisa believes that it is now a struggle to get geology graduates, with numbers dropping from 70 to just 10 students on a recent university course in Glasgow.
“Geology isn’t talked about in schools, I’d love it if youngsters were taught about the geology of individual islands such as Harris or Shetland,” says Luisa.
“65 million years ago, Scotland had volcanos for example.
“People are starting to question things they may not have thought about before.”
Is there such a thing as having a favourite rock, when almost every surface is adorned with Luisa’s finds though?
“It changes every week, but right now my favourite is a piece of fresh lava from Iceland,” she says.
“I also love metamorphic rocks, they’ve undergone a huge amount of pressure buried deep in the ground.”
When it comes to challenging stereotypes in a male-dominated industry, Luisa tackles it one manicure at a time.
“I get comments from men about my nails. Just because I have acrylics it doesn’t mean I can’t do my job,” she says.
“I’ve done numerous workshops with girls in the past two years, and a lot of them are surprised that you can have nails and do what I do for a living.
“I think a lot of people imagine this Indiana Jones character, or assume I should be wearing waterproof trousers.
“That tends to be what you see on documentaries, not someone like me.”
When it comes to celebrity followers, Luisa counts Nick Frost as a fan.
At the heart of her content though, is her passion for helping people to realise that rocks have not only formed our history, but continue to play a role today.
“It’s mental to think that everything from laptops to phones contains rocks,” she says.
“When Lewis Capaldi follows me, I know I’ll have made it.”
You can follow Luisa on Instagram @scottishgeologist