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Student Spotlight: Maggie Laverge

From geology field work to Master’s research, Maggie Laverge is digging in

June 12, 2024 - While balancing a busy schedule as an undergraduate student and varsity rugby player, Maggie Laverge developed a passion for earth science. Maggie began her studies in science at the University of British Columbia but her academic focus sharpened after taking a course on natural disasters with sections on volcanology, geology, and earth hazards. A deep interest in earth sciences developed and eventually led to Maggie’s current research as a graduate student at Laurentian University.

After completing her undergraduate degree in geology, Maggie worked in mineral exploration in the mining industry for five years. She was working for the Canadian silver and gold mining company, Kinross Gold, when she learned about a research partnership between the company and Laurentian University. Her interest in the project and her desire to have a more integral role in the research pushed her to pursue a Master’s in Geology at Laurentian.

Now studying under Dr. Bruno Lafrance at the Harquail School of Earth Sciences, Maggie’s Master’s research explores why gold forms where it does. The subject of her research is the LP fault zone on the Great Bear Deposit, which is a gold-bearing fault in the earth’s crust near Red Lake, Ontario. Maggie is trying to understand the forces which formed the fault zone, the timing of gold in relation to the fault zone, and any events that may have controlled the current orientation of the gold ore body. Maggie’s research is one of the first academic studies on the deposit. With a better understanding of the structural controls that Maggie is examining, the gold can be targeted and mined more effectively, which can help find other gold deposits in the future.

Maggie has an appreciation for the level of geology and mining expertise within the Laurentian community. Throughout her masters, she says that she has learned from not only her professors but also peers and industry experts. “I love that I can reach out to colleagues and ask for advice or guidance. The collaborative spirit at Laurentian and even in the Sudbury community as a whole is something I really value.”

Maggie integrates the same collaborative approach into her work as a teaching assistant. “Getting to work with students is such an inspiring component of my graduate studies,” Maggie says. “I’m nerding-out and teaching them, but I am also learning so much from them, and I always encourage them to work collaboratively and learn from each other.”

Despite only starting her research in September 2023, Maggie has had the opportunity to present at several conferences. She’s received positive feedback and won multiple prizes for her research presentations. “These conferences and opportunities to talk about the research that I’m doing are great. I get to not only share my work but also network with other students, academics, and industry professionals, who will often suggest techniques to further my research. I learn so much every time,” Maggie explains, reflecting on her conference experiences.

Maggie actively seeks opportunities to gain experience and make connections outside of her studies. She is the secretary of the Laurentian University’s Society of Economic Geologists Student Chapter. The group recently explored geological sites internationally during a trip to Chile. Through the Society of Economic Geologists, she has been accepted to attend a mapping field school in Brazil in summer 2024. A field school is an outdoor experiential learning program for students to develop or strengthen the hands-on geology skills that are necessary in the mining industry. In addition to conducting her own field work in Red Lake this summer, Maggie will also help lead Laurentian’s two-week field school for undergraduate students.

When Maggie finishes her Master’s degree, she hopes to work as a consultant in structural geology, traveling to various sites. This will give her the opportunity to continue working in geology while also fostering her love of learning, collaboration, and travel.