As a research scientist with the government of British Columbia my time is divided between field work in northern BC and office work in Prince George, otherwise I find myself perfecting the art of the weekend warrior. My research is focussed on mountain environments and relates to climate change and geohazards. We use a combination of field data (climate, geological and ecological data), spatial modelling (air and ground temperature modelling, ecozone modelling, etc), and remote sensing (SAR, optical, thermal, etc.) to investigate geohazards and climate change in northern BC.
I graduated from my BSc and MSc in Physical Geography in 2012 and 2015, respectively (see t-shirt logo in attached photo!). My time studying in the Simard basement brought me to the Yukon for nearly 2 years during my masters, to Nunavut for two field seasons, to Norway twice for the Cryo-Ex exchange program, and to many national and international conferences. When you add it all together, I was pretty well prepared for the “next steps” in research. Government research has been a fantastic experience for me. As far as I can tell, in my 14 months as the Research Earth Scientist for northern BC, good science changes public policy for the better. The collaborative nature of government research has been a welcome surprise for me as well. Many of my past supervisors and classmates are now colleagues on new projects.
I believe that this is one of the most dynamic periods in earth science. There are more publications than one can even attempt to read, field methods such as geophysics and drones are redefining what is possible in the field, large remote sensing datasets are becoming freely available (Landsat, Sentinel, ALOS-Palsar, ASTER, etc.), and computer modelling power is so strong (e.g. Google Earth Engine) that it is very difficult to keep up with the times. It is important to stay focussed and keep asking traditional process-based research questions and to use technology as a tool for answering these questions.
Science is an adventure for the mind, and fieldwork is simply an adventure!