Kathryn Waltenberg

A photograph of Geoscience Australia graduate Kathryn Waltenberg taken on a salt pan, the remnant of an ancient inland sea, in Death Valley, Nevada, USA during a camping trip

I became interested in geology because it offered me a way to apply my interest in chemistry to important real-life problems. I completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and my PhD at the University of Queensland. During my Honours, I studied an ancient volcano in central Queensland to determine its age and find out how frequently it erupted in the past. My PhD investigated different minerals to determine how to date them and more about the landscapes that contain them. I also spent several months working in the USA at Caltech with a team of scientists and engineers working to develop a method to date minerals on Mars with an instrument that could be carried by a future Mars rover.

I was attracted to the Geoscience Australia Graduate Program because it offered the opportunity to learn about a broad range of geological fields from a range of experts. All the projects that Geoscience Australia works on, including those offered in the graduate year, are important to Australia. Geoscience Australia also supports a strong work-life balance, something that is often missing from many science-based professions, especially geology.

I look forward to gaining experience in areas outside my university studies. I also hope to learn new skills that I can carry through my career that can be used to investigate a range of important geological problems.

My first rotation involves using Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques to produce maps of natural hazards in the Asia-Pacific region. I look forward to developing my GIS skills through both training courses and on-the-job learning and by the end of the rotation I hope to have a much stronger understanding of both natural hazards and the tools used to investigate them.

Meet the 2013 graduates