Kate Sounders - NSERC CREATE Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Kate Sounders

NSERC CREATE Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Earth Sciences

I love the excitement of making a new scientific discovery or completing a successful experiment. I also enjoy the opportunities to travel and see the world.

What is a typical day like for you?

My typical day at the university is focused on my research. Typical activities include designing, prepping for, and carrying out scientific experiments; writing up results for publication in scientific journals; reading articles in scientific journals and texts; and discussing my research and ideas with other scientists. Occasionally I will prepare and present lectures for my supervisor’s class. There are also days I get to go on field trips, away from the university, to collect rocks and other geologically useful information for future study.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

There are many things I enjoy about my job. I love the excitement of making a new scientific discovery or completing a successful experiment. I also enjoy the opportunities to travel and see the world.

Explain the path you took to get to this job (education, internships, etc.).

I received my B.Sc. degree from Clemson University in Clemson, SC (USA). During my undergraduate studies I worked as a research assistant for professors in both the Geology Department and the Environmental Engineering Department. I was also a summer intern in the Chemistry Department at Clemson as part of a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program (NSF-REU). Between my B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees I worked as a research technician in the Limnological Research Center at the University of Minnesota. My M.S. degree is from the University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (USA). I moved to Canada to complete my Ph.D. at Memorial University of Newfoundland. During my Ph.D. studies I worked part-time in the laser ablation ICP-MS lab at Memorial.

Who or what was the greatest influence that set you on this path?

The greatest influences on my career path are all the professors that I have worked with or continue to collaborate with.

What advice would you give others seeking a similar job?

Explore and experience as much science as possible. Get involved in community science organizations, participate in school science fairs, visit museums, and talk to as many professionals as possible. Figure out the topics that interest you the most and don’t forget to enjoy your work.

How does your job make a difference?

My job gives me the opportunity to share my excitement for science by volunteering in schools and camps.

How do you use science, math and technology in your job?

I use basic science and math everyday in my research. My research depends on following the steps of the scientific method and making careful observations and drawing sound conclusions based on these observations. My job requires me to have a basic knowledge of computers in order to operate the instruments used to make geochemical measurements.

Is there one course you wish you had taken in high school but didn’t? Why?

I would have taken more math and science courses. It wasn’t until I was in university that I discovered I really enjoyed and was interested in these topics.

What makes this job right for you?

My job is right for me because it gives me the freedom to design my own experiments and methods and develop them from the ground up.

What's the most bizarre or silliest thing you’ve ever done in this job?

I bring my dog to work. He keeps me company when I have to work long hours.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy hiking around with my dog, practicing yoga, reading and exploring the world.

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.



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