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Career Profile

Marg Rutka

Geoscience Editor
Ontario Geologic Survey
Marg Rutka sitting on bench
Marg Rutka sitting on bench
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

I edit geoscience maps, reports and digital data to ensure clarity in writing, consistency and accuracy prior to publication

About me

I was born/grew up in: Toronto, Ontario

I now live in: Sudbury, Ontario

I completed my training/education at:  I have a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Geological Sciences from Queen’s University. I then went on to complete my Master of Science degree, specializing in Sedimentology, at McMaster University.

What I do at work

My typical day is spent editing geological maps, reports and data products to get them ready for publication. Editing involves many things.  For example, it involves making sure all text is well written, concise, and consistent with any accompanying images and maps. I also edit to ensure scientific accuracy. Finally, editing involves making use of the best possible colours, symbols, patterns, layouts are used on maps and figures, etc.

I work back and forth with the Survey’s geologists to make sure my edits don’t change the meaning of what they intend to say. I also work closely with others in our section. This includes cartographers, who work on the geological maps. I also work with the digital typesetter and the digital distributions coordinator. These people are responsible for final layout and preparations before our publications are released online.

We generally prefer that our editors have a geoscience background. This helps in understanding what we’re reading. Having a geoscience background also means we can offer useful and worthy edits or suggestions. The geologists know they can trust us with their work. They often acknowledge that we are their secret partner, there to make them look good!

I’m fortunate that my job allows me a certain amount of freedom to network and remain connected with the geoscience and earth science editing community. For example, I am able to join OGS geologists on field trips to look at the rocks they are studying.  I’ve joined earth science and science editing organizations and attended their conferences, both in person and online. I have also held various positions in these organizations. This helps me stay current and on top of new ideas and trends in the earth sciences and in science publishing

My career path is

I had always been interested in rocks. In high school I had an amazing, inspiring geography teacher who fueled my interest in physical geography. But during Frosh week at Queen’s University, I saw that several of my residence floor mates were enrolled in Geology, so I changed programs. I’m glad I did! It’s been such a great ride ever since.

Summer jobs gave me great experience and insight into career possibilities. I travelled across the province working at various jobs. I collected information from geophysical borehole reports, and worked in a petrographic (rock) lab. I also worked as a groundwater research assistant.

With my background in sedimentary rocks, I always imagined I’d be working in Alberta as a petroleum geologist looking for the next big oil discovery. After completing my MSc, and working as a research assistant for a glacial sedimentologist for a few years, a short-term contract came up at the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS). I got the job and worked as a Paleozoic Geologist. It was great! I studied rocks that were between 570 and 91 million years old!

A couple of years later, I decided to take an editor’s position in the OGS’s Publications Section. It was a job that likely would become permanent. It would still keep me “in geology”, but doing something else I also loved, working with the written word. I’ve been there ever since. I am one of three editors employed by the OGS to handle their scientific publications.

I am motivated by

The Ontario Geological Survey is one of the major publishers of geoscience information in Canada. I find it so rewarding to be part of a team that helps make this happen. Being able to assist geoscientists in communicating results of their field work is rewarding, in itself. It’s a partnership that lasts a long time.

I also love that I’m able to connect with other earth science editors from other geological surveys throughout Canada and the US. I also get to travel to meet them in person at conferences, or interact with them online. It’s valuable for sharing experiences and discovering new ways of doing things. I’m a detail-oriented person.  I guess that fits naturally with my chosen career…looking for mistakes, and making sure the tiniest of details is correct.

How I affect peoples’ lives

The work done by our publications section ensures that the Ontario Geological Survey produces accurate information on the geology and geological history of the province. This assists Ontario’s mineral, aggregates and groundwater industries in their exploration for new resources to tap into.

Outside of work I

I love to travel—and I try to make that happen as often as possible. I love to go anywhere where I can find ancient ruins. Otherwise, I enjoy hiking in the woods, photography, seeing independent and foreign films, and reading.

My advice to others

Don’t specialize in something too soon, unless you’re sure this is what you want to do. Get all kinds of experience and take opportunities as they arise. See where life takes you, as it did me. I think I ended up where I needed to be.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Foreign Languages
  • Geography
  • History
  • Literature and Language Arts
  • Science
  • Math
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Liked reading
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Related Topics


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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