Faces of GSN

Erin Gray

Newmont Mining Corp. & G.S.N. Winnemucca Chapter President 2011/2012
I am still relatively young in my career as a geologist, but the past four years have been filled with amazing experiences. My life started along the shores of Lake Michigan in southeastern Wisconsin. Every summer my family and I would drive across the continental US camping in both State and National Parks as we explored our country. These camping trips introduced me to the various landscapes of our nation, from the beautiful painted deserts of the southwest to the tree filled skylines of New England. It was during these family vacations that I developed my interest and respect of the natural world and drove me to seek out advanced science classes in high school.

After graduating high school I headed to the University of Wisconsin Madison for college. I had developed a passion for journalism and my goal was to be a writer for a magazine like National Geographic or Smithsonian. The college had a few guidelines for degrees and I needed to take a physical science class to graduate. I ended up selecting Introduction to Geology spring semester freshman year. It was the first geology class I had ever taken and I did not have high expectations. I was hooked by the second week of the class and I knew I wanted to learn more about geology. The summer between by freshman and sophomore years, I participated in a paleontology dig in the Western US. In my free time I then worked in the fossil prep lab and volunteered giving tours at the Geology Museum. All the while I continued to take more advanced and interesting geology classes. Still, I had no idea I would end up working as an economic geologist.

My college career was coming to a close during 2007 and my final geology class was field camp. The class was conducted in Wasatch Uinta Mountains over near Park City, Utah. During the class a few geologists from Newmont came to visit and spend time with us mapping in the field. One of the geologists was an old student of my professor and mentor in college. One thing led to another, and I left field camp with a job offer to work for Newmont.

Two weeks later I packed up my car to drive out west to a place called ―Winnemucca. Anything that didn’t fit in the car was sold or donated, and this really gave me a fresh start for the next chapter of my life. I arrived in Winnemucca and I definitely had some mixed feelings about my new situation. I decided to give the new town and job a chance and I’m glad I did.

My first job was Underground Ore Control Geologist at the Midas Mine. It was fast paced and kept me on my toes. Later, I developed my professional skill set when I started doing geologic and resource modeling and drill hole design. A few years later I was transferred to an underground development group and I was able to see the creation of a new underground exploration portal. I am extremely happy to be a member of this geologic community and I truly believe the rest of my career will be as fast paced and interesting as the beginning of my career.

Erin Gray