MSc in Chemistry with Specialization in Chemical and Environmental Toxicology (2017)
- What field of work are you in, and what duties are required in your position?
I am an environmental Scientist with Golder Associates. Working in consulting means every day is different, and I have the opportunity to work on many different projects that integrate science and engineering. A typical day at work may include writing up reports for clients and processing data, or it could include spending several weeks in the Arctic collecting water quality samples and catching fish. Golder has offices all over the world, so I regularly collaborate with teams in other counties. Our group focuses on providing environmental solutions for mining clients. Some recent projects I have been involved with recently include ecological risk assessments, human and wildlife toxicity assessments and litigation support work.
- What challenges did you face when looking for work after graduating?
The most challenging thing for me was trying to find a job I liked (based on the job description), in a city I wanted to live in. I quickly realized I needed to expand the geographical area of my job search. I soon realized there were many more job options than I had initially thought. I adapted to the idea of working somewhere outside of my current city, even if it was just to get some initial (entry level) work experience.
- How did you arrive at your current position?
Having the opportunity to work on so many interesting projects during my time at Carleton, and learn from so many people really gave me a good foundation for working in consulting. The communication, time management and organizational skills I learned during my undergraduate and graduate programs provided useful tools. At the beginning of my job search, I applied to many different job types (government, private sector, and consulting) and I had a few interviews. I had heard of Golder from a previous Carleton graduate, and I found the job posting (for my current job) on LinkedIn. When I read the job description, it was exactly what I was looking for. It aligned with my skills, interests and values, and the opportunity to live and work in Vancouver sounded like a great adventure. I was successful in the interview, and the written test, and I was offered the job.
- What advice would you give to a graduate student looking to follow a career path similar to yours?
Know when to ask for help or advice. Don’t be afraid to ask people around you; the worst thing they could say is “no.” Read scientific literature, and get good at searching for resources. Network! Actively practice networking during your time at Carleton. It will come in handy.
Choose your electives carefully—if you think you may one day be interested in something, take the course. Even if you think it might be a tough one.