This month The Professional Edge chats with …. Kristl Tipton, P.Geo
Tell us about your personal and professional background. Where are you from? Where did you attend university?
I currently live on an acreage near Viscount, Sask., with my husband and two children.
I grew up very close to where we live now - just outside Colonsay.
I moved to Saskatoon where I completed my BSc at the University of Saskatchewan. I spent the majority of my career in the uranium industry with Cameco. This included several years as an exploration geologist in their global exploration group, three years with the Mongolian office, as well as a stint as Senior Mine Geologist at Cigar Lake Mine.
In 2013, in hopes of finding a better work/life balance, I left the job I loved at Cameco to join Mosaic Colonsay as their Management of Change Coordinator in the Continuous Improvement Department (hoping to one day shift to a geological role).
Unfortunately, this move coincided with the downturn in potash and I lost my job.
In 2019, I decided to go back to school and complete an MSc. in Civil Engineering.
I now work at Nutrien Lanigan as the site geologist.
Why did you choose to go into geoscience?
I really didn’t choose to go into geology. Out of high school, I was the recipient of a scholarship from Cameco that focused on bringing more women into geological science. After my first year at university, when I actually learned what geology was about, I realized that I truly loved it and decided to stick with it.
Did you have any geoscientists in the family who influenced you?
No, but my dad works as a power engineer at Nutrien Allan operation, so I was somewhat familiar with the industry at the time. I don’t honestly think I had any idea what a geologist really was before my first-year geology classes.
What was your first job after university?
I worked as a student with Cameco (as part of the scholarship) and was really lucky to stay on as a junior geologist with them in 2004 when I graduated. As a junior geologist, I was able to experience field camps, drilling campaigns, as well as really exciting geological evaluations of new prospective areas.
What do you feel has been your single greatest accomplishment as geoscientist?
Honestly, my greatest accomplishment is that I am still a geologist. It has been hard. The economy has taken so many great geologists and friends out of the industry. In those six months while I searched for work with no interest in my resume, it was pretty depressing. It was a toss-up when I decided to go back to school. Do I continue to expand on my geological knowledge in hopes of being attractive to a company and upgrade with an M.Sc., or go back to school and change careers entirely?
What is one goal you’d like to accomplish during your career?
Oh, wow, this is a tough one. I really like where I am now. The challenges are just all so new to me. I would love to be part of a team that solves a major problem or comes up with a new application for technology.
What are your interests outside of work? What do you do for fun?
We recently moved to an acreage and are enjoying small town life. I enjoy gardening, camping, fishing, hunting, playing volleyball and hockey.
What is your favourite vacation spot? What makes it special?
Las Vegas, hands down. I guess it is because you can go for a few days and it feels like it was a week. We try to go once a year, take in a show, enjoy the pools and eat at amazing restaurants.