Alumnus Testimonial: Engineering a Future in Mining

10 December, 2021

karl francisque mining engineering mastersMaxim Liber is a 2021 graduate of the online Master of Engineering in Mining, Geological and Geophysical Engineering who previously earned his bachelor’s in geology in Nova Scotia. Currently working as a mining engineer at Canadian Natural Resources Limited, an oil sands operation, Maxim has nearly a decade of experience in the mining industry.

In this Q&A, Maxim shares details about his experience in the program, including his favorite projects, skills he’s gained, and how the online master’s in mining engineering has helped him advance professionally.

Read another Q&A with online ME in Mining, Geological and Geophysical Engineering alumnus Karl Francisque.

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Why did you select the University of Arizona ME in Mining, Geological and Geophysical Engineering program among others that you may have been considering?

I learned about the University of Arizona because of Tucson’s long history as a center of the mining industry. The company I work for uses Modular Mining, headquartered in Tucson, as their dispatch system.

The university’s strong industry ties were a big selling point when I was researching schools. I found the variety of courses the University of Arizona offered in the mining department very intriguing. Based on my experience in mining to date, I thought the courses were modern and forward-thinking. The skills I would gain studying at the University of Arizona would supplement my experience and allow me to grow professionally and personally.

What was the online learning experience like for you?

I hardly noticed that I was learning online, and I did not feel any alienation or distance from the campus. The lectures were readily available as live or recorded options, allowing for flexibility for working professionals. Both on-campus and online students submitted individual assignments and group work through the D2L learning management software. This made completing group projects very simple since all students needed to be connected virtually.

How were your experiences with faculty, staff, and fellow students?

The faculty members and program manager were great. I had no difficulties communicating or being included in the department. The on-campus students treated the online students as equals. They were very curious about our backgrounds and experiences, so I found making connections easy and enjoyed working with everyone.

How has the program benefited you already and how do you foresee it benefitting you in the future?

On my first day back to work after returning from graduation and vacation, I was given a new role in the mine engineering department. The program has given me the flexibility to transition to other positions in mine engineering in the future.

What knowledge and skills did you acquire that you find especially valuable?

I found the knowledge and skills related to information technology, programming, and autonomous haulage very beneficial. Gaining practical experience with mining software that is used in the industry gives students a head start.

What was one of your favorite courses or projects to work on?

My favorite projects were developing a mining application in Python and presenting on the application of cyber-physical systems in the industry.

I found all the courses I took interesting and cannot say a favorite sticks out, as the program offered a holistic knowledge base without any lowlights. I really enjoyed the lectures offered by guests from the industry.

What would you like others to know about this program?

The program offers an option for students wishing to continue along the path of high-level research and an option for those who are industry-focused.

About the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering at the University of Arizona

The University of Arizona Department of Mining and Geological Engineering has a history dating back to 1885. Today, the department equips students with the latest techniques in analysis, modeling, and simulation. Taught by a faculty of leading experts with extensive industry experience, our courses connect technical skills with scientific knowledge, readying professionals to excel in tomorrow’s mining organizations.

Students can pursue an online Master of Engineering in Mining, Geological and Geophysical Engineering or a variety of graduate certificates: