How did you become a geologist?
Karissa is one of just three female geologists working at Bendigo Mining. Her early years living around the bush fostered in her a keen interest in rocks. In Year 12, after completing a geology course at school, she decided that she still wanted more, so elected to study geology at university.
While studying, Karissa also did some volunteer work for Bendigo Mining. This turned into paid vacation work, which then led to her current 12 month contract, which she hopes will be extended.
What does a geologist do?
"It's a challenging job in that you're dealing with a broad spectrum of people. I interact with geologists, engineers and drafters, and I have to understand all of them. The work is also quite varied."
Initially Karissa's job entailed a lot of research, but now that she works underground, it involves mapping, sampling, taking and analysing digital photographs, and piecing all the bits together. Some of Karissa's other duties include compiling survey data, working on presentations and updating databases.
But the best aspect of the job is the sense of achievement that Karissa feels after completing a large project. Oh, and finding gold!
What are some of the pros and cons of the job?
Karissa warns, "The hours are probably the worst thing about the job. I'm on-site over the weekend and always on call. And there's also the fact that I work in the middle of nowhere sometimes, away from civilisation, which can be really hard."
She adds that the job doesn't involve as much outdoor work as she had hoped for, and is a lot more computer-oriented than she had expected.
What sort of skills and qualities do you need?
Nevertheless, Karissa really enjoys working as a geologist, and feels that she's learnt a lot. And if you're considering a career as a geologist, Karissa advises, "It's really important that you possess good computer and interpretative skills, a sound understanding of geological terminology, and the ability to visualise things in three dimension!"
You'll also need to enjoy using your hands, plus it will help if you have a sense of humour and the ability to handle difficult personalities.
Any tips for getting a job as a geologist?
For prospective geologists, Karissa recommends, "Try to get as much experience as early as possible. Volunteer work at mine sites is a great way to get your foot in the door, and it's never too soon to start networking, as networking is really crucial in the mining industry. Everyone who gets these jobs gets them because they have been seen, heard or recommended from people whom they know."
Find out more about a career in geology
Visit the MyFuture website to find more about duties and tasks, work conditions, earnings and required qualifications for a career in geology.
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).