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Case Study: Kate

Personal details
Degree:MSc Sustainable Development Profile picture
School(s): School of Geography and Geosciences
Year of Graduation:Nov-2011
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: BGC Engineering (Canada)
Job title: Junior Geological Engineer
Occupational Sector: Geology
What has been your route to getting your current position?
My undergraduate degree is in Geological Engineering (Bachelor of Science in Engineering), so I pursued advertised positions and contacts directly related to this field of work.
What does your job involve ?
(I have only just started, but I am anticipating that it will involve) a lot of time in the field gathering data (diamond drilling and geotechnical core logging, test-pitting, and geological/geotechnical mapping) to develop and support open pit and underground mining projects at various scales. The company provides a range of geotechnical and geoenvironmental services including mine, tailings, and foundation design, geological hazard assessment, and environmental remediation.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Working outside in beautiful places! I anticipate that I will greatly enjoy seeing a project move through preliminary preparation stages, fieldwork and data gathering, and design (taking that data and making something of it, providing solutions for a given engineering problem) and follow-up phases. I believe that this process will be a fantastic opportunity for me to see the possibilities for how engineering projects and sustainable development principles could be integrated.
Why were you successful?
Altogether, I have a year of previous geology and engineering work experience, both in the office and in the field (accumulated over four 2-4 month long full-time summer positions). I also worked for this company for a short time before pursuing my Masters.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
I expect the abilities to learn quickly, to push through difficult learning curves, and to understand and integrate complex information on a range of topics from a variety of sources will be most valuable.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

Working in an entry-level position in the field means I have less say in how I spend my time. I can be sent to quite remote locations for four weeks at a time, working 12-hour days every day. This can be challenging, which makes the job both tough and wonderful. It might be tough to be away from my house and from daily comforts, but I am often in beautiful places, doing interesting and challenging work, and learning a lot!