"I liked it the moment I saw it and never looked anywhere else. That was a bit of a "leap-of-faith" that worked out really well."
Bachelor of Science with Honours, Studying towards a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
A recommendation by a friend to study at UC brought Gregor all the way from Slovenia. 'I liked it the moment I saw it and never looked anywhere else. That was a bit of a "leap-of-faith" that worked out really well,' he says.
It was Gregor's love for the outdoors that motivated him to specialise in volcanology, which involves the mapping, geochemistry and structural analysis of geological formations. His study included travelling around New Zealand visiting 'amazing locations'. Being out and about also allowed him the opportunity to indulge in some of his non-study interests such as photography, sport climbing, surfing, hiking and biking.
Gregor says he enjoyed studying at UC because he got to meet people from around the world, and, when he was employed as an Assistant in UC's Department of Geological Sciences, he was also able to work alongside some of them. He enjoys interacting 'with people of different expertises, and learning and applying that knowledge when on my own in the field'.
Gregor's drive comes from 'following my heart to do what I enjoy doing the most, trying to understand my surroundings and contributing to their understanding'.
During his time at UC he discovered a love of research – he enjoys 'finding and working on new things'.
Having completed his honours degree, and keen to travel again, Gregor moved to McGill University in Montreal to start work on his PhD in volcanology.
‘I hope to better understand what stable isotopes of carbon can tell us about the inner workings of a volcano. For this type of work I deal mostly with volcanic gases: making field measurements, collecting gas and water samples for laboratory analysis and using a state-of-the-art portable cavity ring-down spectrometer – one of the first deployments of such an instrument on a volcano, ever!
‘My research deals with three major volcanic centres, all active at present: Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua, Long Valley Caldera in California and Hekla volcano in Iceland.
‘I am also involved in a second project where a professor and I are hoping to develop new techniques to better quantify carbon dioxide emissions from large urban centres.’
To those considering studying Geology Gregor says: 'If you enjoy working on new things and being out and about, and if you have a passion about the subject, you will not be disappointed'.