UNDERGRADUATE SPOTLIGHT: MICHAEL D'SOUZA
Hometown: Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Program: Geological Engineering
Current year: 4th Year (Sci ’15)
Why I chose Geology:
As a naturally indecisive person, choosing a discipline of engineering to specialize in was a particularly painful process. I remember going to every department’s open house, desperately trying to construe some kind of divine message that would guide me toward my future profession. That exact message never showed up, but after being enticed with a life of engaging work and global travel, Geological Engineering seemed like a great option. My decision was further driven by a noble pursuit for an understanding of the processes that were able to shape and transform the world as we know it.
Student involvement/extracurricular activities I am involved with:
I believe it’s important to attempt to maintain sanity at university by balancing academics with interests that challenge your thinking in other ways. My first application of that mantra was in joining the Engineering Outreach Committee of the Queen’s Project on International Development. Backed by advice from a friend and my love for the resource itself, I also became a member of the Queen’s Water Environment Association; I will be serving as its Vice President during my 4th Year.
Most recently, myself along with a few engineering colleagues started a 3D printing and design consultancy service called Vivid 3D. It has definitely been my most challenging and rewarding involvement in the Queen’s community as of yet.
As for within the Geological Sciences and Engineering Department itself, I volunteer as an upper-year tutor at the Geo Help Center. I also worked during the summer prior to 4th year at the department-managed Queen’s Facility for Isotope Research (QFIR). Figure 1 Measuring a stratigraphic section
during a Field Methods excursion
The professor(s) or course which has influenced me the most so far:
Due to the enormity of the geosciences field, every course that I have taken so far has had a dramatic and sometimes overwhelming impact on my interests. A standout is Earth Systems Engineering II, where Dr. John Hanes stressed the significance of a sustainability-backed approach to decision-making in geology. Analysis of Rock Structures, while not my best grade, showed that a strong understanding of the fundamentals of geology could help elucidate abstract concepts such as estimating an ore reserve. Geochemical Characterization of the Earth confirmed my suspicion that a geology degree bodes well in terms of job prospects; my interest in the course was met by employment in the Queen’s Facility for Isotope Research.
Most memorable Queen’s experience so far:
Everything from waking up at the crack of dawn before the tribal ritual that is university football to swapping stories with returning alumni throughout the day. It is hard to find a single experience that fully embodies one’s time at Queen’s, but going to my first Homecoming and basking in the school spirit that this university exudes comes close.
After I graduate, I:
…am still quite uncertain. Currently I am leaning toward post-graduate studies in an application of Geomechanics to failure mechanisms and hazard management in large engineering projects.
One big goal I’d like to accomplish during my lifetime:
Coming from a geological standpoint, I would be overjoyed to play a role in the design of a deep geological repository for nuclear waste in Canada. One of my more unconventional and unlikely life goals is to experience outer space if commercial shuttle flights becomes feasible in my lifetime.
Figure 2 QFIR surface geochemistry survey conducted near
Cree Lake, Saskatchewan (Summer 2014)