Geology student impresses audience of peers

By Costa Maragos Posted: January 13, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Student Sienna Johnson with her award for Best Undergraduate Technical Talk at a major Geology conference in Saskatoon.
Student Sienna Johnson with her award for Best Undergraduate Technical Talk at a major Geology conference in Saskatoon. Photo courtesy of Katie MacKenzie.

Geology Student Sienna Johnson is feeling more confident presenting her research before a crowd. 

Johnson, a fourth year student, won for Best Undergraduate Technical Talk at the 2016 Western Inter-University Geosciences Conference in Saskatoon, January 9.

“I was very surprised,” says Johnson. “I was relieved when the presentation was over. I didn’t know if I would stand out.”

She managed to stand out.  

The Western Inter-University Geosciences Conference is an annual student-run event and represents an opportunity for students across Canada to share ideas, research and network with industry professionals.

The judges at the presentation were accomplished geologists. It was a tough audience.

“I was very intimidated at first. I was only given ten minutes to talk about a research project that I had been working on for months,” says Johnson. “I had to cut out a lot of the fluff dealing with preparation and scientific method and focused on results of my research.”
Johnson’s presentation was titled “Bitumen-filled natural fractures of the Souris Valley Marker Bed ‘B’ in Southern Saskatchewan.”

“In plain terms, I’m looking at rocks’ potential to produce hydrocarbons,” says Johnson. “The Souris Valley is generally under researched in this area.”

Johnson has also presented her research at venues including The Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists in Calgary and the Williston Basin Conference in Regina.
Johnson grew up in Estevan, where the prominent oil industry influenced her decision to study Geology at the U of R.

“Taking Geology at the U of R has been fabulous. There’s been a lot of support from the professors,” says Johnson. “My undergraduate thesis supervisor, Dr. Stephen Bend, has transitioned from professor to mentor over the course of the last year. I wouldn’t be able to achieve success without his guidance.”

Johnson will convocate in the spring and is entering the workforce. She’s secured a contract with Areva Resources Canada, a multi-national nuclear energy company. She’ll be based in Saskatoon.

The Department of Geology offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Check out the exciting opportunities by visiting here.