"SFU's Terrain Analysis and Quaternary Geology courses offered by the Earth Sciences department teach sought after skills for working in consulting."

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Student Profile: Jessi Steinke

March 03, 2022
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Earth Sciences master's student in the Faculty of Science

I grew up in Leduc, Alberta and attended the University of Alberta in Edmonton. I pursued Earth Sciences in university because I always loved collecting rocks as a kid, and wanted to understand more about geology. I graduated from the U of A in 2018 with a BSc. with Specialization in Environmental Earth Science and I am a registered Geoscientist-in-Training. I chose the Environmental stream of Earth Science so I could take more courses in gemorphology, hydrogeology, and geographic information systems. While in my undergrad, I worked as a research assistant in the Catchment and Wetland Sciences Laboratory and spent a summer in the Northwest Territories researching permafrost thaw and fell in love with remote fieldwork. After graduation, I worked all over British Columbia in environmental consulting. I knew I wanted to go back to school for a master's degree, and decided to pursue Quaternary geology, a topic I was introduced to in my 3rd year at U of A which I was really interested in. Quaternary geology studies the last 2.6 million years - a time when Canada was repeatedly covered by ice sheets. This had a great impact on the landscape, and understanding the surficial geology is an important aspect. I love being outdoors, especially in the mountains, and Quaternary geology has a strong field component, which I really enjoy.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to come to SFU specifically to study with my supervisor, Brent Ward, who is a Quaternary geologist with lots of experience working in the Yukon. I spent the summer before starting at SFU working in the Yukon, and I've always wanted to do a research project there. SFU's Terrain Analysis and Quaternary Geology courses offered by the Earth Sciences department teach sought after skills for working in consulting.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

The aim of my research is to try to understand how an alpine area in central Yukon was affected by ice sheets and glaciers over time. There are gold-rich gravels in this area that are mixed into and covered by glacial material. My work will help better target these gravels, as well as understanding the glacial history and surficial geology (the unconsolidated sediments at the surface).

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I love doing fieldwork! I spent last summer in the Yukon mapping the surficial geology and working for the Yukon Geological Survey. I had the opportunity to explore some really beautiful areas, and learn a lot about the glacial history and history of placer mining. I really love that I get to try to reconstruct and understand how the landscape was changed by glacial activity. I also have a great lab group and supportive supervisors that I have learned a lot from!

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I received the SFU-funded Graduate Fellowship, the Yukon Foundation's Geoffrey Bradshaw Memorial Scholarship Fund, and Polar Knowledge Canada's Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) grant. These awards helped me to focus on my studies while worrying less about financial stress. The NSTP funding helped covered field expenses while working in a remote area in the Yukon.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

Doing a Master of Science in Earth Sciences is a great way to integrate research and fieldwork, as well as contributing to the understanding of Canada's geology. SFU has a great department with friendly and knowledgeable professors!

 

Contact : jessi_steinke@sfu.ca

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