Ian Beitz Recalls Summer Cox Internship

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ian Beitz and colleagues doing field work at Champlain Lookout in Gatineau Park

Ian Beitz and colleagues doing field work at Champlain Lookout in Gatineau Park


By Ian Beitz,
Current 3rd year Earth Sciences student 

This past summer, I held the Cox Internship at the Canadian Museum of Nature. This placement allowed a Carleton Earth Sciences student to work with the Mineralogist of the Museum of Natures' Collection in Aylmer for the summer. This scholarship provided a wide variety of learning opportunities, both in lab skills and field skills.

Working in the labs at the Museums' research facilities helped me to develop many key skills in the geosciences. I learned proper specimen and sample documentation, handling and organizing skills. I was exposed to many good quality samples of a vast variety of mineral types and species. As a result, I developed my mineral identification skills. Working in the Museums' labs also facilitated the developement of skills such as: how to prepare field samples for analysis, such as cleaning and splitting, as well as mount preparation for a variety of instruments. In my position, I was exposed to a wide variety of instruments, including a scanning electron microscope, microprobe and x-ray diffraction.

This position also offered me the unique opportunity to work with the Geologic Survey in the transfer of the National Meteorite Collection, which is being put on loan to the Museum of Nature. I worked at the Geologic Surveys' Collection Facilities to help organize and box the meteorites in preparation for the move, while creating an updated database for the meteorite collection. This was a great opportunity to work with exceptional and rare samples, and taught me a great deal about the field of planetary geology.    

Ian Beitz and colleagues doing field work

Ian Beitz and colleagues doing field work


Finally, this position provided me some field collection opportunities with the Museum. The Museum scientists know of many local areas of exceptional mineral quality. Collection was done for uraninite in Gatineau Park and for apatite in the Lost River area of Quebec. On the days that we were in the field, I learned good field exploration practices, sample selection and in-field sample preparation and transportation. Also, during our work in Gatineau Park, I found a museum-quality uraninite, which is currently in the Museum of Nature’s collection.

Overall, the Cox Internship is an exceptional learning opportunity for any student who holds it. It builds key geoscience skills and develops a network of connections in the geosciences that the student can use thoughout their academic career. 



During the last academic year, the department awarded two Cox Internships - the first was in Mineralogy at the research facilities of the Canadian Museum of Nature, the second was in Gemology at the Geological Survey of Canada. Both positions were paid. Second and third year undergraduates are encouraged to check their Carleton e-mail address for notification of such positions in the spring.