Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Best presentation: StFX earth sciences student wins top award, department well represented at Atlantic geoscience colloquium

February 8th, 2023
Michael LeBlanc (right) receives the Rupert MacNeill Award for the best undergraduate presentation at the AGS Colloquium from AGS president Tracy Webb.

StFX earth sciences honours student Michael LeBlanc of Antigonish, NS has won a top award from the Atlantic Geoscience Society Annual Colloquium held Feb. 3-4, 2023 in Truro, NS. 

Mr. LeBlanc, who presented his undergraduate thesis, “Zircon petrochronology of the West Barneys River Plutonic Suite: Insights into the origin of a potential critical element (REE and Zn) deposit in Nova Scotia,” won the Rupert MacNeill Award for best undergraduate presentation at the conference, where StFX was well represented.

Five StFX faculty and staff members, five undergraduate students, three graduate students, and many alumni attended. As well during the event, faculty member Dr. Donnelly Archibald was elected vice-president of the Atlantic Geoscience Society.

“The award is certainly exciting and a reminder that I'm moving in the right direction! However, it is not just a representation of my own efforts but more so a reflection of the great education and influence I've received from the Earth Sciences Department here at StFX,” Mr. LeBlanc says. 

“I'd especially like to mention my advisor, Dr. Donnelly Archibald, for having taught me the majority of my degree and for pushing me just enough for me to see what I'm capable of.”  

“This is an impressive achievement for Michael,” Dr. Archibald says. “His data are complicated, which required him to do extensive reading and research to better understand his data. Michael came up with thoughtful interpretations and he did an excellent job communicating his results at the conference. Michael is very deserving of this award.”

StFX participants at the closing awards banquet, back row, l-r, Dr. Celeste Cunningham, Karley Dixon, Justin Poirier, Andrew Macklin, Logan Conron, Michael LeBlanc, Dr. Donnelly Archibald, Steven Selinger, Calix Webber, Dr. Brendan Murphy, and Cindy Murphy. Front row: Shae Nickerson, Jessica Albert, Kiersty Malay, Laura Riendeau, and Josie Mallet.

Dr. Archibald says it was a highlight seeing Mr. LeBlanc win the Rupert MacNeill Award. It was the first time a StFX student has won this award since 2002 and only the third time since the award’s inception in 1984.

Other StFX attendees presenting research at the conference were MSc student Jessica Albert; Kiersty Malay, who graduated from StFX in December 2022 with her MSc; and senior research scientist Dr. Brendan Murphy.

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