Job title and employer:
Executive Director, Squamish River Watershed Society
What does your job title mean?
Opportunity to restore habitat in marine and freshwater systems by taking a holistic approach towards watershed management and human engagement
Where were you born?
Where do you live now?
Squamish, British Columbia
Where did you complete your training or education?
University of Waterloo (BSc in biology); Seneca College (Resource Engineering Technologist) University of British Columbia (Certificate in Watershed Management).
What you do at work?
I develop, manage, and implement watershed based restoration activities for the Squamish River Watershed Society. This includes project development as well as networking with scientists and decision makers. I also work with all levels of government and First Nations. I design engineering restoration works such as culverts, streams, wetlands and intakes. I also spend time supervising construction and overseeing all levels of budgets. This include seeking funding sources, purchasing materials, and reporting our results. Finally, I am involved in long-term monitoring and maintenance to make sure the projects are working as intended.
How does what you do affect people’s lives?
We work closely with youth and students to engage in experiential hands-on learning on all our project. We also work closely within the community and with First Nations to make changes to improve habitat for fish, wildlife, water quality, and human health. We also organize events and celebrations to engage with people.
What motivates you in your career?
From an early age, I was fascinated with biology. I was especially interested in wetlands, amphibians and constructing new habitat. I get excited about being able to bring people together to develop new projects. It is great to implement these projects in a way that is both natural and long lasting. Every project I work on includes scientific knowledge, technology technological advancements such as GIS. I use my engineering knowledge such as design processes. I also use statistics and calculus.
How did you get to where you are today?
In school, I never had a specific goal or objective in mind. I did have a general sense I would be working in the non-profit sector to improve the planet and/or wildlife. Getting a university degree was only a start to my career. My career only took off after I enrolled in Seneca College and studied Resource Engineering. I love working out of doors and restoring habitats. Construction gets me very excited and motivated to keep looking to the next project that can be achieved! I love learning and sharing my knowledge through networking. My biggest strength is collaborating with others. View my LinkedIn profile to learn more about my career experiences.
What activities do you enjoy outside of work?
I have two dogs and enjoy walking and hiking. I volunteer within my community by helping out with program development. I also like yoga and staying physically fit. My work really motivates me and is part of how I relax and feel centred.
What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?
Volunteer your time and work in the area that you find of interest. This will serve you really well later on when you are looking for employment. You should try different fields or experiences to learn where you want to spend your future. Don’t shy away from new experiences, even if they aren’t very enjoyable at the time. Always keep learning something new.
As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?
I feel we are still a long way away from being in a balanced field. I regularly am the only woman at meetings or on a team. Feel confident in your accomplishments and stand up for yourself. It is important to mentor younger women entering into the field and set a positive example!
When I was in high school, I enjoyed…
Industrial Arts/Shop Programs
Literature and English Language Arts
When I was in high school, I was someone who…
Brought people together
Enjoyed doing things on my own
Always wanted to be outside
Liked helping people
Organized activities for my friends
Played on a sports team
Enjoyed working with my hands
Wanted to be in charge
Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
Engaged in volunteer activities
Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
Was really creative
Didn’t really care about grades
Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
Learned best by doing
Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
Liked to design or build things
Engaged in activities such as fishing and camping
ASTTBC thanks Let’s Talk Science for their partnership in developing this career profile. Let’s Talk Science – a leading partner in Canadian education – is a national charitable organization committed to inspiring and empowering Canadian youth to develop the skills they need to participate and thrive in an ever-changing world. To accomplish this, Let’s Talk Science offers a comprehensive suite of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs to support youth, educators, and volunteers across Canada. For more information about Let’s Talk Science, visit letstalkscience.ca.