Job title and employer:
Lab Technician – Camosun College
What does your job title mean?
I work to oversee and aid students in the college’s machine shop while they design and build their team’s capstone project.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
Victoria, BC, Canada
Where do you live now?
Victoria, BC, Canada
Where did you complete your training or education?
Camosun College – Mechanical Engineering Technology Diploma
What you do at work?
My day consists mainly of engaging with the students as they work on their projects. This could include a variety of tasks depending on the needs of the day.
I work in and around a large assortment of machines and tools special to my trade. The machine lab contains a variety of specialized tools. This includes both manual and automatic mills/lathes, laser cutters for plastics and woods, as well as welding equipment. There are also 3D printers, an injection molding machine, and many other manual tools.
Students will come up to ask for help with finding tools or in setting up one of the machines. They may also need help in learning how to perform certain machining operations. I, and the other lab tech, will work with the students to answer all of their questions. We make sure that they learn to use the various tools properly. We also make sure the equipment is available to them.
How does what you do affect people’s lives?
The joy of my current position is being part of the experience as students design and build their amazing projects. Having been in their shoes, I understand the stress and chaos of a project semester! As a result, I try to encourage and facilitate productive and efficient machining methods.
I also use the skills I’ve gained and the access to the machine shop to take on side projects.
What motivates you in your career?
Engineering, especially mechanical engineering, is all about having a natural curiosity for learning. At my job, I am constantly learning and exploring new ways to design, machine, and manufacture. I love how this job allows me the freedom to train myself on the equipment. I do this through small independent projects that I take on. Most recently I volunteered to laser cut a selection of cabinet doors for local middle schools around the island.
On a larger scale, engineering simply excites me! I am passionate about where I will go with my career. This includes the things that I will get the work on and the people I will work with. I love being involved in youth outreach. I enjoy working and engaging with young students to get them interested in this field. Some highlights have been:
-Participating in introductory engineering classes offered to high school students
-Speaking to a large group of young female students about engineering
This past year I was honored to have been featured in Camosun College’s International Women’s Day campaign.
How did you get to where you are today?
The thought of any sort of engineering was far from my mind throughout high school. When I graduated, I was an honours roll student focusing on Literature and History. I travelled and worked abroad in a variety of jobs. I was a social media manager for an online marketing company in Africa. I taught English in Austria. I also co-founded a company that provided social media, layout, design and website creation services.
It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized my passion for design, and my natural curiosity for how things worked was a great blend for a career in engineering. Having grown up with a supportive family, I never experienced any fears entering into a ‘male dominated’ field. I understood that it was only my own work ethic and abilities that would keep me from achieving the goals I set for myself. Now I am a Mechanical Engineering Technician, and on my way to getting my degree in the field.
What activities do you enjoy outside of work?
In my spare time (when I can find it), I am usually found refinishing old furniture I’ve found, reading, watching TV, or hanging out outside.
What advice would you give to a young person interested in a similar career?
Go for it! The engineering field holds limitless possibilities. I firmly believe that we are only ever held back by the bounds of our imagination…and physics.
As a female professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering and technology?
I can only lead by example and show young women that engineering is no longer a male dominated field.
When I was in high school, I enjoyed…
Literature and English language arts
When I was in high school, I was someone who…
Enjoyed doing things on my own
Liked helping people
Enjoyed working with my hands
Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
Was really creative
Felt great satisfaction in getting good 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
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.