Undergraduate Spotlight: Tia Shapka-Fels

Tia Shapka-Fels undergrad spotlight

"Taking geological engineering at Queen’s was one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I’m excited to return this September for one more year!"

Hometown: Black Diamond, Alberta

Program: Geological engineering

Current year: 4th

Why I chose Geology:

I chose to go into geological engineering because I liked the possibility of working in the field in locations few people ever have the chance to go. I also liked the inherent variability of topics I could study and the many ways I could apply what I learn to my future career. I’m happy I chose geology as my discipline because I love being able to understand the physical world around me.

Student involvement/extracurricular activities I am involved with:

I will be involved with the Queen’s Chapter of WEAO (the Water Environment Association of Ontario) in fourth year. I also volunteer for a non-profit jewelry company, Tribe of Lambs, which aims to empower and support at-risk children in India.

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

One of my favourite courses was Terrain Evaluation (GEOE 333), taught by Rob Harrap. This course included a little bit of everything in terms of topics covered, but it was really interesting to see how different technologies are used in geological sciences and engineering to evaluate landscapes and geological hazards. The knowledge I gained in 333 was extremely useful in my QUIP internship I did after third year, as I used ArcGIS, satellite imagery and air photos regularly.

Tia Shapka-Fels in the fieldMost memorable Queen’s experience so far:

It’s impossible to choose just one! I definitely enjoy all the different field trips that geology students go on, as they help develop a stronger sense of community as a class. The trips are a great mental challenge, and you always look back with good memories.

After I graduate, I:

I would like to continue working in the mining industry as a consultant. Not only does consulting allow you to gain experience in many different kinds of projects, it also allows you to get into the field and explore new countries and cultures while you work.

One big goal I’d like to accomplish during my lifetime:

Become a respected engineer within the mining industry and play an active role in developing economical environmental technologies and global standards of environmental care.