Research Scientist in Palaeobiology
Canadian Museum of Nature
Sector: Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism
Type: Career Profile
Biology, Earth Science
My favourite part about my job is getting to produce new knowledge about ancient ecosystems. What dinosaurs were around 75 million years ago? How did they live together? How did their ecosystems change through time? These are all questions that I'm passionate about and being able to find the answers by digging through the fossil record brings me great satisfaction.
I decided I wanted to be a palaeontologist when I was 11 years old, after first seeing Jurassic Park in theaters. I never wavered from that goal, which is pretty rare for a developing youth. After high school, I enrolled in a palaeontology program at Carleton University in Ottawa. After graduation I pursued my PhD out west where I could be closer to the original fossils. My parents always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and my teachers are likewise to thank for nurturing my interest in science and palaeontology.
Find your drive. Academia is a challenging and highly competitive place to work but knowing what motivates you will help you rise to the occasion.
Dinosaurs are my passion, so I spend a lot of my free time reading or writing about them. I also enjoy playing guitar, fishing, and learning about natural theology.
Being a palaeontologist isn't as glamorous as it's portrayed in the movies. A lot of time is spent behind a desk, answering emails, filling our progress reports, applying for research grants, etc. But I do a lot of fun things in addition to this. I get to travel the world visiting different museums to study their fossil collections. I spend a month in the field every year collecting dinosaur bones in the badlands of Alberta. I also spend a lot of time doing public outreach, speaking to audiences and the media about my research and career.
When I was
- Literature & Language Arts
- Physical Education/Health
- Brought people together
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Always knew what I wanted to do
- Liked reading
- Played video games
- Was really creative