Women in Science at GSC Atlantic

Over the past 175 years, the Geological Survey of Canada has seen many women leading the way to advance geoscience across the country. The Atlantic region is no exception. Dr. Frances Wagner, a mircropaleontologist who spent the latter part of her career with the GSC Atlantic, was the third woman scientist at the GSC and one of the first to do field work. Over the course of her career, Dr. Wagner led groundbreaking research in her field. Pioneers like Dr. Wagner have inspired countless women who chose a career in science.

The GSC Atlantic (GSCA) has many female scientists, managers, technicians and support staff who are dedicated to science for the benefit of all Canadians. From leading the management of science programs to preserving the history of the Earth, the GSCA is profiling three notable woman in science in the Atlantic region.

Natalie Shea

Head, Marine Resources Geoscience Subdivision

Natalie Shea

Natalie Shea

On the management side of science, Natalie Shea understands how science and technology programs fit into the bigger picture. At the GSCA, Natalie brings science partners together to enhance programs and provides a strong voice for scientists at the management table.

“Science is collaborative and we all have a role to play,” says Shea. “When looking at a career in science, there are a lot of options. I love science but I also love working with people to overcome challenges. I help scientists turn their vision into a reality.”

Kate Jarrett

GSC Marine Geoscience Collection (MGC) Curator

The GSC Atlantic’s Kate Jarrett subsampling the base of a marine sediment core onboard the CCGS Hudson.

The GSC Atlantic’s Kate Jarrett subsampling the base of a marine sediment core onboard the CCGS Hudson.

Curator of the GSC Marine Geoscience Collection (MGC) of marine sediment cores and associated datasets, Kate Jarrett, manages the GSCA MGC facility where marine sediment samples and associated datasets are archived. Samples stored in the facility are from GSC Atlantic expeditions to the Arctic, Eastern Canada and Great Lakes dating back to the 1950s. All relevant station and seismic metadata, and some datasets are available online via the Expedition Database (ED) http://ed.gdr.nrcan.gc.ca/index_e.php. Metadata and datasets are added to the database on an ongoing basis. Analysis of the sediments tells scientists what lies beneath the sea floor.

“What I love about science is that you’re always learning,” says Jarrett. “The marine sediment cores we analyze are a part of the Earth’s history. They help us understand previous environments and predict what will happen in the future. This is valuable information for scientists, governments and industries in the region.”

Dawn Kellett

Research scientist in geochronology

Dawn Kellett

Dawn Kellett

Geochronologist Dawn Kellett studies another aspect of the Earth’s history. She investigates rocks and minerals to find out what they can tell us about the conditions they were under at the time of their formation. The radioactive elements in rocks and minerals give Kellett a timestamp of the conditions of the Earth millions and even billions of years ago. Understanding how these elements evolved is a key to mapping Canada’s mineral resources.

“Geochronology is amazing. We can look at radioactive elements and how they’ve broken down over time to date rocks, minerals and geological processes,” explains Kellett. “This field of study is helping us solve age-old mysteries that are relevant today.”

Across all federal government departments in Canada, there are many women who, like the three profiled in this blog, have made and continue to make a significant contribution to science for Canada and the international community. To learn more, check out our Women in Science page.

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