Who was your favourite Professor at UofT?
So many to choose from! Bill Burgess for first year chemistry, Don MacKay for environmental chemistry, Diran Basmadjian for a very challenging fourth year chemical engineering course.
What do you currently do for a living?
External Relations Officer, Division of Engineering Science, University of Toronto.
I help with student recruitment, run alumni events, and help students develop professional skills. A large part of what I do is build a strong EngSci community and connect current students with graduates to help them with career advice, industry and grad school information, and so on.
Did you go to Frosh in your first year? If yes, what was your favourite part?
Yes, but I was still commuting then so I wasn’t there for all of it. Getting my hard hat was my favourite part—it still sits on my desk today with the words “Christina’s hat” scrawled on the inside. Hands off my hat!
Do you have any advice to first years on how to get the best out of SkuleTM? What are some things you would tell your first-year self if given the chance?
Explore widely. One of the things that’s great about being at a large faculty in a large university in a large city is that there’s something for just about any interest you can think of. Think outside your usual box. Go try something you’ve never done.
So far you’ve spent your whole school career being an academic rock star with excellent marks on a straight path to a clear goal—that’s how you got into SkuleTM in the first place! Don’t be discouraged, if your marks in first year are lower than what you’re used to, or you no longer know exactly where you’re heading. That’s entirely normal–don’t let it discombobulate you. Cut yourself some slack. Grades do not define you, and they don’t define your future success. It’s normal to be unsure of where you’re ultimately going. What matters is what you’re learning (about engineering, about yourself, about the world), and how you’re growing (professionally, personally and otherwise). The rest will take care of itself.
Take care of yourself—sleep is not a trivial thing! Seriously. Get some sleep.
Are there any clubs you would recommend to first years?
There are so many—just pick one that speaks to your interests. Don’t be afraid to explore things that pique your interest even if they’re new to you. You can’t expand your mind, if you only stick to things you already know.
What is your favourite memory from UofT?
Walking across the front campus in the middle of a crisp November night after finishing my programming assignment on the computers in the Engineering Annex (we didn’t have home computers yet—yes, I’m that old), the sole person out in the cold dark night, with the glamorous downtown lights and the CN Tower glistening beyond the campus, thinking “I can’t believe I have this all to myself!”
Also walking through the stacks in Sigmund Samuel library (now Gerstein) in the winter, getting a shock every time I touched the metal shelves. It’s static central!
Are there any life mottos or quotes to live by?
Challenge your assumptions. (Which means you’ve first got to identify what they actually are!)