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Student Profile: Amy Hsieh
Earth Sciences doctoral student in the Faculty of Science
I am a cotutelle-PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University and National Taiwan University, where my research focuses on resolving paleoclimate records in the Western Foreland Basin of Taiwan. I moved to Canada with my mom and sister from Taiwan when I was eight years old. Growing up, I was always fascinated by fossils and rocks. However, as a child to Asian parents, I had only a choice of three career options: business, medicine, or law – everything else is a hobby. So, I decided to follow my father’s footsteps and become an entrepreneur and entered the Faculty of Business Administration at SFU even thought I knew it wasn’t for me. After accidentally signing up for a class in Earth Sciences in my second year, I found myself committing to my elective course rather than to business. I realised my passion and talents lie not in running a business, but in studying and contributing to geology. Prior to returning to academia, I worked for six years as a hydrogeologist for environmental and engineering consulting companies, where I conducted water resource assessments, site assessment and remediation, and assessed baseline hydrogeological conditions for various sites. I have also developed three-dimensional numerical groundwater flow models to estimate required dewatering rates for mining projects.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I chose to come to (or rather, return to) SFU partly by happenstance. When I was working in industry, I didn't have any concrete plans to return to academia, but I was offered the project of my dreams by Dr. Shahin Dashtgard, for whom I worked as an RA during my undergrad. This project incorporates climate research and sedimentology, with the added bonus that the study area is in my birth country of Taiwan. Dr. Dashtgard also connected me with Dr. Ludvig Löwemark of National Taiwan University (NTU), who became my co-supervisor. Aside from this, working at SFU and NTU has given me the opportunity to collaborate with international researchers, attend various conferences to present my work, and work at different international institutes.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
Prior to returning to academia, I worked for six years as a hydrogeologist for environmental and engineering consulting companies, where I conducted water resource assessments, site assessment and remediation, and assessed baseline hydrogeological conditions for various sites. I have also developed three-dimensional numerical groundwater flow models to estimate required dewatering rates for mining projects.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I think a commonality among geologists is that we love to be outside, so one thing that I’ve enjoyed is definitely the field work! I think it’s incredibly exciting to be able to physically see how our Earth changed through time. The chance to work in my birthplace and spend time with my family has also been very precious to me.
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 am honoured to be a recipient of the NSERC Doctoral Postgraduate Scholarship and the Petro-Canada Graduate Scholarship in Earth Sciences, which have helped to lessen some of the enormous financial burden that graduate students carry.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?
For me, my program has allowed me to pursue my curiosities about how Earth’s systems were affected by climate in the past, and what the past can inform us about future climate change. In addition, the study of earth sciences integrates theoretical research with practical applications. Not only does this keep me from being bored (I can work in an office, a lab, or in the wild!), it also provides valuable experiences for future career opportunities in both academia and industry.
Contact Amy : email@example.com