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Career Profile

Rachel Chow

Wastewater Process Engineer
Rachel Chow dans un énorme conduit
Rachel Chow dans un énorme conduit
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

About me

I was born/grew up in: Toronto, ON

I now live in: Toronto, ON

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Applied Science, Chemical Engineering and Masters of Engineering, Civil Engineering, University of Toronto

What I do at work

I work as part of a multi-disciplinary team at Jacobs Engineering.  My team designs new municipal infrastructure for existing facilities. Doing this involves problem solving and coordination with others. When making decisions, we make pro/con tables, evaluate options in an ordered way, and consider different, sometimes opposing opinions from operators, project mangers, and engineers. I also do lots of technical writing and some presentations. This involves explaining what we are doing and why we are doing it, to different audiences. My STEM background taught me how to think.

My career path is

My career path was completely typical. By chance, I joined in the UTEK competitions with some friends from high school one weekend. Our goal was to be able to get a mouse trap across a kiddie pool with limited resources. We came in second. This opened my eyes to engineering and I never looked back.

I graduated from U of T in Chemical Engineering. I also completed a few more courses in water treatment specifically to finish my M.Eng. I started working in the wastewater industry shortly after. I worked with a couple other companies before coming to Jacobs. I remember applying for 75 jobs before getting my first position, and only through a friend of a friend. I have appreciated the value of networking ever since.

I am motivated by

Figuring out creative solutions to problems in coordination with a team of other people is an exciting part of my work. I also like finding different ways of explaining information. This could be through words, images, charts, graphics, etc. Seeing progress is most rewarding! This means that reports are written, drawings are completed and decisions are made. It also means that equipment arrives on site when needed and buildings or infrastructure is built on time. Walking around and seeing the finished product of years of hard work by many people is very rewarding.

How I affect peoples’ lives

In my job, I help municipalities spend taxpayer dollars wisely. My team and I help them make sure they have reliable and consistent treatment processes to provide quality drinking water to citizens. It is comforting to know the taps don't turn off and this is a direct result of efforts of the people I am proud to work with. This includes operators, maintenance staff and engineers.

Outside of work I

I like to play team sports (curling, ultimate frisbee) and go running to stay active. My creative outlets are baking and card making.

My advice to others

Our work is not technically challenging, so focus on effective communication, networking and clear thinking. Good grades don't mean anything the moment you leave post-secondary school. Networking always helps.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Math
  • Foods and Nutrition
  • Science
  • Music
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Played on a sports team
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Learned best "by doing"

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