Technician, Earth Sciences
B.A. (Honours), Physical Geography, University of Windsor, 1992
B.Sc. (Honours), Geology & Geochemistry, University of Windsor, 1996
FCGmA Gemmology, Canadian Gemmological Association, final exam pending
Katherine Dunnell is a mineralogy technician in the Department of Natural History.
Katherine's original passion was medicine, but after a year of university spent touching ‘slimy’ things, she decided inorganic sciences were much more appealing. Geology really appealed to her because it is the most tactile of all the sciences, so she switched to an undergraduate program in physical geography.
In between academic years, she spent two summers with the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS), working as a junior mapper and living in northern Ontario. From her experiences in the ‘bush’, Katherine gained a better appreciation for the beauty of the unspoiled north, the ability to cook a roast over an open fire, and a huge distain for black flies. She also worked two summers at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, dredging up mud and sediment samples from Lake Erie and collecting zebra mussels to analyze in the accredited lab. Her studies there focused around where the heavy metals were concentrated within the sediments, and whether they were bioavailable.
Katherine's appreciation for museums was instilled during her childhood, with frequent visits to the ROM and McLaughlin Planetarium, as well as the Detroit Institute of Art. She joined the ROM in 1997, and since then has participated in the development of several exhibitions, including: The Black Star Sapphire of Queensland (2007); Italian Arts & Design: The 20th Century (2006); Pearls: A Natural History (2005); and Our Crystalline World, It’s Many Faces (2004-Greater Toronto Area Authority (GTAA) exhibition program). She was also a member of the Gallery Development Team for the ROM's Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth's Treasures, and the exhibit, The Nature of Diamonds. .
Katherine is a frequent speaker at ROM events and to external groups with an interest in mineralogy. Gems and jewellery remain her focus and passion.