Lori Cook

In high school I studied biology, chemistry, and physics so I knew that in university I wanted to pursue science but was unsure which discipline to focus on. At Dalhousie University I signed up for a program called the Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP) that offered a wide range of courses that included Earth Sciences. I discovered that geology not only combines many aspects of science it also requires a level of creativity and an ability to be able to visualize the earth and its many processes. After that year in DISP I decided to persue a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Earth Sciences. Having this degree in geology under my belt opened a world of possibilities after university. One of the first jobs I had was working on a helicopter-based survey looking for gold deposits in Alaska. That job was both very exciting and physically demanding. Eventually I had an opportunity to work at the Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic) as an intern. At the GSC-A the internship developed into more work with a lot of great scientists on various mapping projects both onland and offshore. I eventually decided to pursue a Master's of Science degree in Geology at Acadia University. This was followed by an opportunity to work with Fugro Jacques Geosurveys Inc. as a geoscientist. The job has offered a chance to travel to different places and be involved in varied projects where geoscience has an impact on decisions that affect our daily lives.

Q: What is the title of your job and what do you do?

A: I am a geoscientist. My job involves collecting, managing, assessing and understanding the impacts of geoscientific data.

Q: Who do you work for, and where are you based?

A: I work for Fugro Jacques Geosurveys, Inc. (FJGI) based in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Q: What kind of hours/shifts do you work?

A: It depends on whether I am in the field in the spring/summer time or field season or in the office during the fall/winter. In the office I work a typical 8-hour day and in the field my shifts can be up to 12 hours a day.

Q: Where do you work?

A: I work in the office and also offshore. Currently, I mainly work in the FJGI office in St. John's but I am also often sent out to other Fugro offices to work, such as Fugro West in Ventura California. The offshore work is usually the Grand Banks region but I have also worked in the North Sea, based out of Norway, as well. I have also worked as a geologist at the Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic) located at Bedford Institute of Oceanography both in the office and offshore investing the geology onshore and offshore Nova Scotia. Other jobs I have worked on in the past involved looking for gold deposits in Alaska, as well as bedrock mapping in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Q: What equipment/machinery do you use?

A: On various offshore jobs with FJGI I have operated the Huntec Deep-Tow Subbottom profiler and also the Edgetech Sidescan Sonar System to collect information from the seafloor and several meters below the seabed. In the office I have used various interpretation software to do geological interpretations of the geophysical data collected offshore. Much of these geological interpretations are made to advise companies working in the offshore whether there are geohazards that could impede their work. The identification of geohazards can help others do their jobs safely and efficiently.

Q: What education or training is required for your job?

A: A Bachelor or Master of Science in Geology is required to do this job. However, a lot of the practical training happens on the job. Technical training from a marine institute would also be a good asset to have in the industry I am currently working in.

Q: What kind of personal traits do you recommend for this profession?

A: I recommend an easygoing personality to do this job. A person needs to really enjoy the outdoors and have an keen appreciation for the Earth Sciences. This job can take you to a lot of different places around the world where you can interact with all types of people so you have to be open minded, flexible, and always willing to learn.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: The thing I like best about my job is the opportunity to learn more about the earth and how it works, travelling, and meeting new peop

Q: What are the advantages?

A: One of the advantages of being a geoscientist is the opportunity to travel to new places. It is also a job in which you can always be learning. There are always avenues to gain new insight and experience within the realm of geoscience, whether you desire to work offshore on a seismic survey, onshore doing bedrock mapping or mineral exploration, or in the office interpreting or managing geoscientific data. There are also opportunities to be teaching other people about geoscience.

Q: How physically demanding is your job?

A: Being an Earth Scientist can be physically demanding at times. There are field jobs where you are expected to carry a lot of equipment that you will set up during a field survey. There are also times when you will carry heavy loads (lots of rock samples!!!) in your backpack as a student or while doing bedrock mapping, and mineral exploration. You have to be physically fit to be hiking through all types of terrain when looking for the next rock outcrop.

Q: Why did you choose this career?

A: I chose to be a geoscientist because I thought it would take me places I had never been before. As an undergraduate geology was something I could apply my knowledge of physics, chemistry, and biology to and I also like the idea of getting outside during the many field trips that are included in the course work.

Q: What is your most memorable moment/event/place related to your experience as an Earth scientist?

A: My most memorable moment related to my experience as an Earth Scientist was in Alaska working on a helicopter-base geophysical survey exploring for disseminated gold deposits. I was the first to be dropped off at our survey site in order to have the equipment deployed and ready. When the helicopter took off I was standing there alone in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. There was a low frosty mist in the forest and my feet sank in the soft tundra. I could hear wolves howling in the distance and it was an amazing feeling.

Q: What is your advice to newcomers?

A: My advice to newcomers is that there might be times when the job won't be incredibly glorious but there are other times when you are learning more about what it means to be a geoscientist, exploring new places, hiking through a river or along a coastal section looking for outcrops or doing some sampling, or peering down a microscope and viewing the minerals that form a particular rock. It can be a rewarding experience. I think the thing to remember is that there are always times for discovery, whether it is learning more about yourself or the work you are doing. If you enjoy challenges, learning new things, meeting new people, travelling, this could be the job for you!

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