Headshot of Aiden Kilcommons

VIU Geoscience student earns coveted spot in mineral exploration workshop

April 23, 2024
Author: Rachel Stern

Aiden Kilcommons is excited to learn from top industry experts

Aiden Kilcommons is one of only 26 geoscience students from post-secondary institutions across Canada to receive a coveted all-expenses paid spot in the Student-Industry Mineral Exploration Workshop (S-IMEW). 

“I consider myself very privileged to have been chosen to spend two weeks learning about the many disciplines of geology from top industry professionals,” says Aiden, a VIU Geoscience student. “As well as collaborating with fellow up-and-coming geologists from across Canada!”

The workshop, held by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, takes place from May 1 to 16 at Collège Boréal in Sudbury, Ontario. It is designed for upper-level geoscience students who aspire to a career in mineral exploration and mining. During the workshop students will have exclusive access to mine sites and get hands-on experiences with regional and exploration mapping, geophysical surveys, geochemical sampling techniques and more. They can also network with more than 70 industry experts. 

Aiden Kilcommons wears an orange hardhat while exploring a cave.

“Coming from the west coast I am most excited to learn about the complex geology of Ontario and the Superior Province! Previous conference programs have often followed a schedule of allocating one day to a specific sub-discipline of geology. I have a passion for petrology and geochemistry, but lack practical experience in geophysics so learning more within those topics will be exciting,” says Aiden. “That being said, I heard Sudbury, where the workshop will be taking place, is home to The Big Nickel Monument, which could very well become the highlight of my summer!” 

Aiden says she’s always been interested in rocks growing up, which is one of the reasons she chose to pursue geoscience.

“A core memory is of my grandma and I collecting rocks to polish in a Sears-bought rock tumbler,” she says. “After taking two first-year geology courses while studying Environmental Technologies at Camosun College, I soon realized I had more of a passion for rocks than fish and plants! Learning about different rock formations, theories of Snowball Earth, and the causes and consequences of previous extinctions ignited a desire to learn more.”

She says geology encourages people to dig deeper (no pun intended) and provides people with the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. 

“Being able to call your daily commuter a helicopter and getting paid to get dirty is one of the best job descriptions I can think of,” she says. “Given my desire for adventure, geology did and still does seem like a no-brainer.”

Aiden says the VIU Geoscience program provides a variety of learning opportunities not only in the classroom but also through extra-curricular and supplemental experiences such as field schools and research projects. She says it allows students to learn about the different disciplines within geology. Aiden wants to pursue mineral exploration or research opportunities. She says a lot of her passion and knowledge is owed to the people in VIU’s Geoscience program. 

“The professors in both the Geography and Earth Science departments truly care about the development of the students and take great care in ensuring academic and personal relationships are well cultivated,” she says. “Most importantly, the students of the program are one of a kind. If I was only able to take away one thing from my experience here at VIU it would be the relationships I have been able to form with these amazing people. I have learned so much not only about geology, but life in general and will cherish the memories made for the rest of my life.”

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