Mountain activities sparks interest in the earth

Elective course launches student into a geology major


Photo of Emily MacMillan.

Emily MacMillan calls her experience at MRU “nothing short of excellent."



Interested in our Bachelor of Science — Geology?


Growing up in Calgary, Emily MacMillan spent a lot of time hiking, kayaking, and visiting Canada’s Rocky Mountain national parks — inspiring her interest in the geological world.

“Just the visual image of the Rockies raised questions for me about how the mountains formed and why some rocks look one way while other can look completely different,” she says. “gGowing up in Alberta we are also exposed to the oil and gas industry, which to me was an interesting concept of looking below the surface for resources that help drive the global economy.”

MacMillan, discovered geology as a major when shetook a physical geology elective course. By exploring different aspects of the field such as volcanology, economic geology and hydrology, she knew that this was the major for her.

“Who wouldn’t want to take a major studying the processes behind how gold deposits are formed?” She says.

MacMillan calls her experience at MRU “nothing short of excellent. I have met some of my best friends here and many like-minded individuals. I have had the opportunity to learn and grow in all the directions I’ve wanted and didn’t even know I wanted until the opportunity was presented. MRU has become a second home for me where I come to learn and grow.”


"Professors explain the material by taking us to the field, by lecturing in a class setting, through hands-on learning in the lab, and in so many other ways."

Emily MacMillan


While she considers herself a verbal learner, MacMillan credits faculty in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the geology program for accommodating a variety of learning styles.

“Professors explain the material by taking us to the field, by lecturing in a class setting, through hands-on learning in the lab, and in so many other ways. You also build strong connections with the people in your program and that provides peer learning as well,” she says.

MacMillan, who took advantage of co-op opportunities to gain real-world experience, says her aspirations have changed with exposure to the broad range of careers stemming from Geology.

“If you asked me what I would be doing after I graduated when I began my degree, it would have been a totally different answer,” she says. “Being from Alberta, I thought I wanted to work as a petroleum geologist in downtown Calgary. However, now that I am graduating, I’ve decided that I love learning geology so much that I’m going to continue on to do my masters.”

MacMillan urges students to not be discouraged by the current downturn in oil and gas. Geology, as a science that integrates physics, mathematics, and chemistry, is far more than that and “the possibilities are really endless.”

May 26, 2020