Sarah Laxton

My interest in the Earth Sciences began at an early age when I would sneak rocks into my father’s backpack for him to carry home for me on family hikes. Wanting to know more about the landscape around me, I studied Earth Science and Geography in high school. After taking these courses I knew I wanted to learn more, so I then went on to study Physical Geography and Geology at university. Travelling and outdoor activities are two of my favorite things, and I was able to partake in both while at university. I was able to travel to remote helicopter access locations in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, the Swiss Alps, Arizona, Himalaya, southern Yukon, and Alaska to participate in research projects, workshops, and conferences. Currently, in my positions as the Outreach Geologist for the Yukon Geological Survey, I am able to share my passion for the Earth Sciences with all sorts of people and I really enjoy my job.

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

I am an Outreach Geologist for the Yukon Geological Survey. My position involves engaging students and the public in the geologic research that takes place at the Yukon Geological Survey. I also organize Earth Science workshops for Yukon Teachers, geology hikes, classroom visits, and events for the public at the Whitehorse Geoscience Forum and Mining Week.

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

I work for the Yukon Geological Survey, Department of Energy Mines and Resources, Yukon Government. Our office is located in Whitehorse, Yukon.

How would you describe the Earth sciences or your work in a single word?


What kind of hours/shifts do you work? or What is your typical work routine?

Office work Monday-Friday, some events on weekends and field work in the summer.

Where do you work? (office, laboratory, field, overseas, etc.)

Most of my work is office based, but I do travel to communities throughout the Yukon for field trips, class room visits, and special events. I do participate in a small amount of field work to assist with research projects.

What equipment/machinery do you use?

I don’t use any special equipment for the outreach component of my job. Many of the materials I use for hands-on experiments can be found at the grocery store.

What education or training is required for your job?

Graduate degree in Earth Sciences.

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

Personal traits that come in handy for an Outreach Geologist include being able to communicate and engage with small and large audiences. It is also essential for person in my position to be organized and adaptable.

What do you like best about your job?

The best thing about my job is being able to collaborate with other groups and people on projects, and sharing my enthusiasm for the Earth Sciences with others.

What are the advantages (benefits, seasonal work, travel, people, etc.?)

The ability to travel to communities around the territory, meet new people, and the opportunity to do a bit of fieldwork outside are the highlights of my job.

How physically demanding is your job?

Office work is not very demanding, but the few field days that I partake in involve hiking in rugged, mountainous terrain.

Why did you choose this career?

A desire to keep learning about the landscape around me and the ability to work outdoors led me to a career in the Earth Sciences.

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

Along the bank of a glacial stream, I discovered a layer of trees and forest debris that was run over by a glacier that advanced a few thousand years ago in the Coast Mountains of B.C.

What is your advice to newcomers

My advice to newcomers is to do what interests you. If you really like and enjoy what you study then pursue it as a career.

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