Celebrating 110 years of Geology at BU

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Brandon University’s (BU’s) Department of Geology has an extra reason to celebrate as Provincial Engineering and Geoscience Week in Manitoba approaches from February 28 to March 7.

This year marks 110 years in the study of geoscience at BU. Students in the Geology program learn about the multi-billion-year history of the Earth and its composition, its fascinating tectonic processes, evolution of life, and impacts on society and our daily lives. Everything we use comes from the Earth, and geoscientists work hard to ensure a sustainable, healthy and prosperous future for everyone.

“The rocks and minerals that we study haven’t changed much since the first geology course was taught at Brandon College 110 years ago, but the science and our department are continuously evolving,” said Dr. Hamid Mumin, Chair of BU’s Department of Geology. “It’s an exciting time to study geology as we invest in our program to prepare students for the growing geoscience job market.”

The Environmental Geoscience stream was added in 2019 to meet growing industry demand, and new, expanded programming is also under development. Students who complete a four-year degree at BU are ready for certification as professional geoscientists or may go on to graduate studies, including the Master of Science (Environmental and Life Sciences) program at BU.

Students supplement their classroom and lab work with summer employment in the profession, field trips, conferences, and networking opportunities. In recent years, BU Geology students have hosted a major western Canadian geosciences conference, and worked with faculty, industry and government partners on exciting research opportunities across Canada.

The Department of Geology also offers labs that are among the best of their kind in Canada, with state-of-the art technology recently added to the Micro-Analytical Facility and the Thermometric Analytical Facility at BU. Both facilities are available to meet industry, government and community needs as well as providing a top-notch research environment for students and scientists at BU.

“Our facilities and our faculty are vital to attracting and educating the next generation of geoscientists,” said Dr. Bernadette Ardelli, Dean of Science at BU. “We’re able to provide our students with research opportunities and equipment that they aren’t able to get at many other universities.

“We have a long tradition of developing leaders in the field, and industry connections of our faculty and our alumni give our graduates a leg up as they enter the workforce.”

BU’s Geology alumni include leaders in the industrial, environmental and government sectors, and many of these graduates keep close ties to their alma mater.

“My passion for geoscience was nurtured in the Brandon University Department of Geology, and eventually led to my current teaching and research position at the University of Toronto,” said Prof. Melissa Anderson, a Brandon University Geology graduate and 2020 BU Distinguished Alumni Award winner.

“Our alumni have been incredibly supportive of our program and our students,” Dr. Mumin added. “A number of them have funded scholarships and student activities such as field trips and research opportunities. We even have company presidents who come back every year to give guest lectures. Our students benefit greatly from establishing these relationships with industry, which results in a high percentage of graduates that go on to find jobs in the profession.”


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