Andy Tomkins

PhD 2002

I made the big decision to take a large pay cut and do a PhD at ANU

After my undergraduate degree in geology in Sydney I worked in the minerals industry for 3 years as an exploration geologist. I had a great time during those years, but I always thought about doing a PhD. So during a trip to Canberra in 1997 I went to ANU and had a chat with John Mavrogenes who was then a relatively new Lecturer in economic geology. After that conversation I made the big decision to take a large pay cut and do a PhD at ANU with an APA scholarship. I was a PhD student in Geosciences with Mavro as my supervisor from 1998 to 2002 – it was the best decision I ever made. I had a great time; it was a very stimulating environment, Mavro was really enthusiastic, I made lots of friends and I just loved the whole process of fiddling around with experiments and figuring stuff out. At the start of my PhD I thought I would probably head back into the minerals industry when I finished, but that great experience I had at ANU led me to choose a career in academia. I took a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Canada for 2.5 years and then a Research Fellowship at Monash University in Melbourne for 5 years, and now I have a continuing position at Monash as a Senior Lecturer. I teach probably the largest economic geology class in Australia (over 80 students) and supervise my own PhD students; the skills and enthusiasm for science that I learned at ANU are now being passed on to the next generation of geologists, one of whom recently went on to become a PhD student at ANU in the Research School of Earth Sciences.

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