School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Dust in the wind – Meet Amy Cleaver

MSc in Geological Sciences

by Phil Gaudreau, March 2020

Amy CleaverWhen you think of dust, you might think of an unsightly mess around your home and take it as a sign that you need to vacuum.

But the kind of dust you might see outside the home can be much more harmful, particularly in large quantities. It can create air pollution issues that affects people, plants, animals, and machinery.

Amy Cleaver is studying tailings dust–also known as mine waste–from a pair of abandoned mines in Nova Scotia as part of her master’s studies in geological sciences. The Grimsby, Ontario native is working with Dr. Heather Jamieson to study how this particular type of dust is affected by climate change and, in turn, how that dust affects the local environment.

“Flooding and droughts affects the amount of dust these mines create, but it is not yet well understood how the environment is subsequently affected by the potential increase in dust,” she says.

Amy has always had an interested in science and math, but never wanted to be stuck in a lab. Geology was a perfect balance for her, allowing her to spend time outdoors doing fieldwork and collecting samples.

She does enjoy her time on campus and in Kingston, however. In the two years since she started her studies, Amy has had opportunities to work as a teaching assistant, participate in the local board game scene, and build strong connections across the institution.

“Because Queen’s is a smaller school, it’s easy to find someone with the experience you’re looking for and build connections,” she says. “This has been great for me to tap into broader perspectives and learn about conferences, and I am sure it will serve me well in my job search.”

Amy has also enjoyed the small town feel and waterfront in Kingston, which she feels is the perfect size to offer lots of resources for students. She has also ventured into the surrounding area to take on some of the hiking trails in the region.

With her data in hand, Amy is now preparing her thesis and studying the job market as she considers whether to work in environmental consulting or to enter the realm of government research and regulations.

To learn more about graduate studies in the geological sciences, or other Queen’s graduate study options, visit the School of Graduate Studies’ website.