Graduate Spotlight: Marissa Valentino

Hometown: I was born in Sudbury, Ontario and moved to Kingston in Grade 7.

Graduate Research Focus:Marissa Valentino in front of mountains

My research involves determining if fracture-coatings and their wall-rocks in the Athabasca Group sandstones record the primary and secondary dispersion of components from the McArthur River U deposit, thereby enhancing the footprint of the deposit and linking elements from the deposit to the surficial geochemistry signature. I am a part of the NSERC-CMIC Exploration Footprints Project, which involves collaborating with other researchers in creating a common earth model of the footprint of an unconformity-related U deposit. 

Why I chose to do graduate studies:

Throughout my undergraduate degree, my career interests were focused in exploration and environmental geochemistry. It is the experiences through fieldwork and course work that have led me in this direction and allowed me to become passionate about these interests. I believed that pursuing graduate studies at Queen's University would allow me to further develop my skill set and broaden my expertise in my field.

The professor(s) or course which has influenced me the most:

Dr. Kurt Kyser. The summer before I started my second year of undergrad, he hired me to work at QFIR. In my eyes, this was the best thing that could happen to me during my undergrad. It opened so many doors for me, including meeting people within the department, forming long-lasting relationships, expanding my geochemical knowledge, being introduced to field work and being hired to work in the lab for three consecutive summers. His teaching, especially in 'Geochemistry’ and ‘Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry’ courses, and advice inspired me to take on a graduate degree.

Why Queen’s?:

During my undergraduate degree at Queen’s, the department and people within it made it my second home. I felt like my undergraduate thesis was a little taste of research for me to further explore by applying to graduate school. Being a more hands-on learner, I really enjoy being able to run equipment at QFIR on my samples and actually observing the processes that occur from start to finish.

Student involvement/extracurricular activities I am involved with:

I am currently a TA for two courses: ‘Environmental and Exploration Geochemistry’ and ‘Geochemistry’. During the first year of my masters I was a TA for ‘Isotopes’ and ‘Oceanography’ and involved in SEG Student Chapter. I am currently involved in yoga and hot yoga outside of school. Apart from my ACL recovery, I also have a love for competitive soccer. 

After I graduate, I plan to: First, I want to travel. I would like to go backpacking in Greece and Peru. After, I envision having a job lined up and completing my APGO. Eventually, I would like to buy a home and a Bernese mountain dog with my boyfriend.

One big goal I’d like to accomplish during my lifetime: Never stop having fun! I mean, yes you need to work hard, but having a positive attitude throughout it all can be extremely rewarding.