Queen's geological engineer honoured for outstanding contributions
By Anne Craig, Communications Officer
As a youngster, Jean Hutchinson (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) enjoyed taking road trips with her family which featured informal geology lessons. While her siblings were less enthusiastic about the lessons, she loved learning about rocks and the landscape around her.
This passion for geology has translated into Dr. Hutchinson earning the Thomas Roy Award – a peer-reviewed award for outstanding contributions to the field of Engineering Geology in Canada – from the Canadian Geotechnical Society.
“I really love the open-ended aspect of this field, there is never one answer,” says Dr. Hutchinson. “I also love being outdoors – researching, exploring. I love that part of my job, being able to work in the field and teaching students.”
Dr. Hutchinson arrived at Queen’s in 2001 and has spent nearly five years as the head of her department. A registered professional engineer, she specializes in rock engineering, site characterization and risk management for mining and transportation infrastructure, with a focus on landslide hazards. Her work promoting geological engineering education includes interactions with both undergraduate and graduate students.
“I really enjoy teaching and interacting with them, particularly during field trips or research projects. I am currently with 37 of the fourth year geological engineering students this week, visiting a number of mine and mill sites in Sudbury and Timmins. We are examining design issues associated with all aspects of the mining cycle, from exploration to safe and sustainable operations to progressive decommissioning and long-term planning for eventual closure.”