Vivian Mau

VivianJunior Engineer (Environmental Engineering)

What is a typical day like for you?

I have two typical days. Some days I work from an office. I usually arrive at 8am and leave at 5pm, though the hours are flexible. When I work in the office I have my own desk with a computer that I use to write reports, do designs or any other type of plans. I work with many different people: other junior engineers, senior engineeers, drafting and GIS specialists, field technicians etc. Some days I work on the field, usually these days start early. On the field I am responsible for collecting data and following-up our projects to make sure they are going as planned, or to understand what is going wrong. For example, to do that I can collect water, soil, air samples, check how the machinery we use is working.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

I like knowing that I am helping the environment. Working with great people makes my job enjoyable too.

What is the least enjoyable part of your job?

Depending on the project I am working on and if it involves field work I have to wake up early. When you are on the field you are exposed to the weather, so sometimes you have to tough it out even if it is raining or cold (of course, to a certain limit).

Explain the path you took to get to this job (education, internships, etc.).

After high school, I went to CEGEP in Arts and Sciences, and after that I did a bachelor degree in Bioresource Engineering. I always volunteered during my studies with environment clubs and international development organizations. During university I did 3 internships one as a research assistant at a university, the other with the international development NGO I volunteer with, and my last internship was at an environmental engineering company. My volunteering experience and internships helped me in understand what kind of job I wanted, and gave me the opportunity to develop and practice the skills that I would need.

Did you experience any obstacles or challenges on your path? How did you overcome these obstacles or challenges?:

Perseverance is important to overcome obstacles, but most important is to believe that you can do what needs to be done. Having friends, or family, or teachers who can support you helps a lot.

Who or what was the greatest influence that set you on this path?

It is hard to name one person or thing, but I remember that after I wrote a paper for a biology class in high school about ecology, I realized this is an area that I enjoy a lot and started to consider a career in that area.

What advice would you give others seeking a similar job?

There are many ways you can work as an engineer to help the environment. You don’t have to only study environmental engineering. Look into the other types of engineering and what you could do with that. For example, the best engineers to work with wind energy are mechanical engineers.

How does your job make a difference?

My job makes a difference for the environment and the people who live close to it. A place that is polluted is harmful to the animals and humans that lived there. By rehabilitating the environment I am helping people and the environment itself.

How do you use science, math and technology in your job?

My job is all about science, math and technology. All our projects involve some type of technology. To make sure that our plans will work we must use science and math when doing the design and plans.

Is there one course you wish you had taken in high school but didn’t? Why?

Drama (theater course), I think it would have been fun and it would have pushed me beyond my comfort zone.

What makes this job right for you?

It has a good mix of office and field work, there are many small challenges that I need to solve using science and math, I am working to improve the world we live in.

What's the most bizarre or silliest thing you’ve ever done in this job?

Walked into a Canadian tire looking for aluminum foil, duct tape, and the biggest glass jar I could find.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

Hot yoga, hanging out with friends, going on hikes, reading books and watching movies

You just won $10 million! What’s the first thing you’d do?

Plan a trip. Then I would probably invest a lot of the money so I can keep using it in the future.

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.



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