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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Katie Sullivan MSci Geology, 2012

Katie Sullivan's Photo

Before starting my fourth year at the University of Southampton, I spent the summer on a grassroots exploration project in Northern Québec, Canada. Exploration geology is a very different lifestyle and so one of the great things about STEP is that it gives the opportunity to experience the role before committing to it as a full time job, as well as a chance to gain new skills and contacts.

Between my third and fourth year at the University of Southampton I took part in the Anglo American Student Technical Experience Programme (STEP). This work experience programme lets you see what it is like working for one of the world’s leading mining companies.

After two weeks of helping out with logistics and targeting work I set off for a month of helicopter supported fieldwork. This was a very different environment - being from England I am used to seeing evidence of development everywhere, but here we would fly for 45 minutes and not even see any roads, just lakes and ridges. The fieldwork was challenging but great fun. We spent the time prospecting, sampling and running some ground geophysics which was very different to anything you get to experience on university field trips. I had wondered how active a role I would be given but everyone was really supportive and treated me as one of the team, while still being happy to explain anything I didn’t understand.

My placement ended with two weeks of data management and compilation in the Vancouver office which gave me the opportunity to experience the more office based side of exploration, as well as getting to see more of Canada.

I really enjoyed my time on STEP - it was reassuring to find that I could cope with the challenges of professional exploration fieldwork and it has left me with good friends and memories.

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