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FFHS grad lands ‘rock-solid’ opportunity

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Vicki Stinson’s future is being built on old rocky ground and a recent once-in-a-lifetime experience only furthered the reality that she is headed in the right direction.

The 22-year-old Fort High graduate, who just completed her third year of study in honors geology at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, was one of 30 university students from across Canada enrolled in geology, geophysics, and/or geological engineering who were chosen to study geology’s relationship with the petroleum industry.

Sponsored by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, the intensive two-week university outreach program based out of Calgary included lectures by well-known professionals in the petroleum industry, core workshop seminars, field trips to study the Rocky Mountains, a rig tour, and a fly-over of mountain country.

“I was extremely excited to be chosen,” Stinson said during a recent interview about her studies and the trip, all of which wrapped up in mid-May.

“Most of it was about applying all of the concepts and all of things I’ve learned in class—because it’s one thing to read a book on a certain type of rock or aspect of science, but to actually see it in progress is incredible.

“Some of the things we’ve studied in class, but never actually got to see, was what I got to see [on the trip]—the formation of how western Canada was amalgamated to our area of Canada, the Canadian Shield.

“I got to see how the Rockies were essentially smooshed onto the Canadian Shield,” she added, noting field trips included those to Alberta’s Lake Louise and Waterton Lakes and Fernie, B.C.

“Some days we attended [talks] from eight a.m. until 10 p.m. from lecturers in all the different areas that we are studying, which involves more extensive work in sedimentology and stratigraphy and how that applies to the petroleum industry,” Stinson said.

Sedimentology is the study of different types of sediment and sedimentary rocks, and how it applies to the world and the making of it.

“Stratigraphy is something that I enjoy even more than sedimentology,” Stinson remarked.

“It’s about when rocks were deposited on the Earth,” she explained.

“It’s basically understanding the sequence of the different rocks that have been deposited, and from those sequences you can understand the depths or the paleo-environments of that area and try to correlate that to all around the world.”

Stinson is a traveller at heart and wherever she goes, including during past trips to Japan, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Mexico, she makes sure she takes studies of landscapes that include outcroppings of rock.

Stinson was hired as a student geologist by Goldcorp Inc. at its Musselwhite Mine north of Thunder Bay, where she will study and identify drill core and do rock mapping during the summer.

Then in September, she’s taking an exchange opportunity at Louisiana State University to further her studies in sedimentology and stratigraphy and, in particular, to study the Mississippi Delta—formed by flooding over thousands of years and which is home to some of the most fertile soil in the world.

She will return to studies at Lakehead University in early 2008 and aspires to be a geology professor.

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