Radiocarbon Sampling in Old Crow, Yukon

Masters student Lindsay Reynolds wearing a grey toque standing in the prairies.

Lindsay Reynolds, supervised by Ian Clark

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

After five months of graduate school, master’s student Lindsay Reynolds had already become an accomplished postgraduate researcher.

Not long after deciding to leave her Alberta home to pursue an academic career, Lindsay found herself travelling to Old Crow, Yukon, to try her hand at a new method of sampling for radiocarbon isotopes. Although she initially found it challenging to learn how to bring the lab into the field, in addition to adapting to the culture and lifestyle of a remote Northern First Nation community, Lindsay excelled and made great progress in her research. The new field sampling method that she developed, in collaboration with the A.E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory and with support from the NSERC CREATE program ‘Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network’ (MAGNET), allows for lower cost AMS radiocarbon analysis. This new method has generated significant interest from environmental engineers, prompting the development of a spin-off company to promote the method and gain a new revenue stream for the lab.

Lindsay attributes her rapid transformation into an environmental science researcher to the support she received from many quarters, primarily from her supervisor, Professor Ian Clark, who boosted her confidence early on in her research. She is also grateful to the team at MAGNET for their support and inspiration, and to her teammates Vladyslav Rayda and Sarina Cotroneo, for helping her hit the ground running in her first few months at the University of Ottawa. Without them, she could not have made such progress over the past year.

But Lindsay is not only a researcher: during her time at the University of Ottawa, she also volunteered as the vice-president of the Graduate Earth Science Students Association (GESSA), as well as with the Let’s Talk Science program, where she explained the rock cycle to local elementary students. In her free time, this newcomer to Ottawa enjoys cycling the Gatineau hills and learning about the history of her new city.

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