GSN

Faces of GSN

Sage Gandolfo, Reno, Nevada (Published in the October, 2018 GSN Newsletter)

I began my geological endeavors from the day I could physically scoop up a handful of dirt and stick it straight in my mouth. My artist parents would yell at me “get that stuff out of your mouth!” but I would crawl away on my hands and knees and find more neat rocks that needed tasting.

I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada but I like to call myself a true native Nevadan for having scaled just about every mountain range and valley in the state. My parents are craftsmen as my mother recently retired from Reno High School teaching art and my dad a professor at UNR teaching photography and videography with hobbies of being a diesel mechanic. I grew up with a fond adoration for the arts and among painting, pottery, and knitting, my parents took my older brother and I camping almost every single weekend of my life. And this was no RV hookup camping. This was always rural Nevada somewhere many miles from other people where we rode our dirt bikes up every mountain range, rain or shine. We would often be north of Austin, NV where my family originates from.

I graduated a year early from Reno high school in 2014 and started college the same year as a Wildlife ecology major in hopes that this career would always be outside in the mountains with my favorite pinyon pine and juniper trees. After taking Geology 101 I was hooked and changed my major excitedly. I soon became officers for the Mackay Rockhounds geology club, John Mackay club, and Mackay Muckers. I also joined the Society of Economic Geologists student chapter at UNR and traveled to Finland in 2017, Japan in 2018, and will be heading to Chile to look at copper-porphyry deposits in January 2019.

My first internship was with Friends of Nevada Wilderness in 2016 where we trekked deep in the Forest Service wilderness areas all over NV. We carried pulaski’s, axes, saws, and shovels on our backs to hike 10-20 miles a day to restore trails that we all enjoy hiking or using for hunting. Every 10 days we spent in the wilderness we either horse packed our gear in or just packed in on foot. I gained a considerable amount of appreciation for hard work and manual labor that summer.

The next opportunity in 2017 was interning for the Nevada Division of Minerals Abandoned Mine Lands Program. The eight of us on the crew would head out in the field every week and track down shafts and adits that old miners dangerously left in their day. We built barbed wire fences and marked everything we found across the entire state as safe or hazardous. I’ve never had more fun laboring around NV with copious amounts of BBQ and playing cards every night with some of the hardest working people I know.

After another year of grinding through college I was fortunate to land a Geology internship for Barrick out at Turquoise Ridge in summer of 2018. I spent the summer designing the three-year infill drill program and going underground with ore control. My family has a mining background out of Austin, NV so being able to see exactly what makes a mine function was really rewarding. I made many friends and great connections over my time at the mine and in Winnemucca and will be heading back to intern over the winter.

The annual mining competition will be in March of 2019 in Virginia City, NV and the Mackay Muckers will hopefully have a kick-butt girls team, so come support! Next, field camp is what I have in store for the summer of 2019 after I graduate in May and I'm ecstatic to get out there and map. After field camp I plan to travel for a few months before going back to work full time. Thank you again Molly and Laura for considering me for “Faces of GSN”!

Sage G