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Amanda McCallum

Geologist, Communication Specialist, Business Owner
Ignite Education Inc.
Amanda McCallum
Amanda McCallum
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

I'm a prospecting geologist, a science communication specialist and business owner.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in St. John’s, NL but spent my childhood living in Ramea, an island located on Newfoundland’s southwest coast.

I now live in: St. John's, NL

I completed my training/education at: B.Sc. (Major Earth Sciences; Minor Mathematics & English); Memorial University

B.Ed. (Intermediate/Secondary); Memorial University

Masters Certificate in Project Management (MCPM); York University

What I do at work

As a prospecting geologist, I spend time during the summer and fall months doing field work. This is grassroots prospecting and mineral exploration. This work is balanced with office work. Some of the things I work on include historic project research, writing reports, and working on creative science communications and marketing projects.

As a writer and science communications specialist, I take complex, technical information and tailor communications to a variety of audiences. The best way to describe my work is “science translation”. I change complex, technical information and topics into simple, concise messaging.

My work allows me to connect my geology and science background with creative projects and communications. This field of work has provided the opportunity to travel to many incredible places. I have travelled to many remote locations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and around the world. Each workday is different, depending on the project and time of year.

My career path is

During the summer of Grade 11, I completed the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Student Summer Employment Program (SSEP). I worked at the Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation (CMS) at the St. John’s Campus. In this job I designed icebergs for the Ship’s Bridge Simulator. It was an incredible experience and first opened my eyes to a career in STEM.

During my first year at university, I enrolled in a number of science courses, including biology and physics. Since my high school never offered chemistry, I had to complete the foundation chemistry course before I could enroll in the first-year courses. In my second year of university, I enrolled in an elective Earth Sciences course. I was hooked! Shortly afterwards, I declared my major.

After completing my science degree, I completed an education degree. I then spent many years living, working and travelling abroad teaching mathematics and science. Life is not linear or always predicable. Your career path will be a journey filled with many twists and turns. It’s important to embrace these experiences. It never occurred to me then that I would be able to combine my geology and education background to start my own business. It’s when you step outside your comfort areas that you grow the most. I enjoy exploring and learning. My passion drives me to continue to challenge myself and to ignite new opportunities!

The greatest challenge I have faced is being a woman working in a traditionally male-dominated profession. It’s time to change the narrative. We need to celebrate women and girls who are working in STEM careers. We need to work together to remove barriers that hold them back. I would like to attend a project’s meeting, and not have to count the number of women in attendance. I do volunteer work to advocate and support women and girls who wish to pursue a career in this field.

I am motivated by

I enjoy the positive energy that flows from creative projects. I especially enjoy working on new and exciting projects with passionate people.

I have had the opportunity to lead international, national and regional projects. I have served as the past Chair of NL Mining Week and the Chair/Founder of NL Women in Mining Forum. I have had the pleasure of authoring various publications. Two of these are the Women in Mining Career Connections Guide and Minerals Guide: Newfoundland and Labrador. I recently created the application dossier for Discovery UNESCO Global Geopark. I led this international project to secure Newfoundland and Labrador’s first UNESCO Global Geopark. It’s deeply rewarding to share and showcase Newfoundland and Labrador’s geology and Earth history. It gives local people a sense of pride in their region and showcases the province.

Much of my professional volunteer and service work is deeply rooted in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives. In 2009, I founded and coordinated the NL Women in Mining Forum. It was incredibly rewarding to grow this successful event over five years and create and publish the Women in Mining Career Connections Guide. Today, the legacy of this initial work continues. It is gratifying to see NL Women in Mining events continue to profile industry’s leading female role models.

How I affect people’s lives

As a prospecting geologist, I explore to find Earth resources. Minerals and metals are very important resources we cannot live without. Today, we use thousands of products and applications supplied from mineral resources. This includes such things as household appliances used to prepare our food, to vehicles for transportation. It also includes communication devices and building materials. All these items are produced from minerals and metals.

Exploring, discovering and developing minerals presents opportunities, but also has challenges environmentally and socially. Mines produce these key ingredients for new technologies and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. We need to work together to make these valuable resources last.

Outside of work I

I enjoy hiking, gardening, traveling, photography, collecting rocks and minerals and spending time with my family. In 2021, I set a personal goal to hike the entire East Coast Trail Network. To do this I trekked over 300 km along 25 trails. I also do volunteer work. I serve on the boards of various provincial and national organizations. These include Women in Resource Development (WRDC), the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences (CFES) and the Canadian Geoscience Education Network (CGEN). I also have certifications for coaching gymnastics and trampoline.

My advice to others

Remember the 3 C’s: Care, Courage and Confidence!

Be open to taking different courses and exploring new experiences to broaden your options. It’s not always about figuring out what you want to do, as much as eliminating what you do not want to do! Take time to learn about yourself, your likes, interests and passion. Volunteer experience is valuable work experience. Don’t be afraid to get involved and grow your network.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Business & Economics
  • Literature and Language arts
  • Science
  • Math
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Liked reading
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
  • Was really creative
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Partners

Mining Matters

Let's Talk Science would like to thank Mining Matters for connecting us with the individual profiled above.

Mining Matters is a charitable organization dedicated to bringing knowledge and awareness about Canada's geology, mineral resources, and their roles in society to students, educators, and the public. The organization provides current information about rocks, minerals, metals, mining and the diverse career opportunities available in the minerals industry.

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