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Career Profile

Adrienne Ethier

Environmental Risk Assessment Specialist
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Adrienne Ethier
Adrienne Ethier
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

I am responsible for evaluating potential exposure risks to people and the environment near nuclear facilities and mines.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Guelph, Ontario. I grew up in Pinawa, Manitoba.

I now live in: Arnprior, Ontario.

I completed my training/education at:  Honours B.Sc. in Environmental Science with minor in Chemistry at Trent University;  Environmental Science at Trent University; Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Ottawa


What I do at work

Our team is responsible for carefully reviewing nuclear projects. We determine their potential interactions with, and effects on, the environment. We also determine their effects on the people living or working nearby. We make sure projects follow environmental regulations at every phase of their life cycles.

My career path is

I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do in high school, but I was interested in nature.

In my PhD research, I focused on the development of aquatic environmental risk assessment modeling tools. I also studied the use of stable isotope analyses to reconstruct food webs, aquatic habitats and geochemical profiles.

Since then, I've built a diverse professional background in the nuclear industry. This has included environmental risk assessment and risk communication. It also includes a background in emergency preparedness, safety analysis, and environmental and effluent monitoring.

I’ve faced some unusual twists and turns in my career path. I’ve also had unexpected challenges. Learning from these experiences has helped me to grow both professionally and personally. I wouldn't be where I am today without them!

I am motivated by

I enjoy solving complex problems with creative and innovative ideas. Over my career so far, I've published papers, won awards, and presented at conferences. I’ve also obtained a patent, contributed technical expertise to Canadian and international organizations, and more.

How I affect peoples’ lives

We use our technical and regulatory expertise, to make sure people and the environment are protected. We do this at every phase of the life cycle of nuclear projects and facilities. This includes construction, operation, and decommissioning.

Outside of work I

I've volunteered for Ducks Unlimited and Water Rangers. I like to unwind with friends on our boat, or at our house. I enjoy running for its mental and physical health benefits.

My advice to others

It is important to be open to new experiences and ideas. Don't be afraid of change. Change is inevitable.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Math
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Played on a sports team
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Was really creative
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing and berry picking

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