Civil student wins CEMF Undergraduate Engineering Scholarship

Christina Noël, a Civil BASc student entering fourth year in September, has recently been selected as the recipient of the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF) Undergraduate Engineering Scholarship for the British Columbia region. This scholarship recognizes her as one of the top five undergraduate women engineering students across Canada, based on her extensive leadership and community service involvement.

Christina holds the position of Vice President of the Civil Engineering Undergraduate Student Society (Civil Club), and also contributes to the Club as editor of their monthly newsletter, the Civil Underground. She is a member of the UBC CSCE Student Chapter; was chosen as UBC’s Head Delegate at the 2013 National Conference on Women in Engineering; and serves as a Brownies leader with Girl Guides of Canada. Her application was supported by referees Professor Bernard Laval (Associate Head, Undergraduate Students), and the local Girl Guides of Canada District Commissioner. Professor Laval notes: “Christina’s leadership roles outside the demands of her UBC Civil Engineering studies and Engineering Coop work terms are particularly impressive.”

Christina is enrolled in the Civil Environmental Option, and is exploring the possibilities of both environmental and coastal engineering through co-op experience. Earlier hands-on experience revealed her interest in waste management and working with landfills, but more recent experience in coastal engineering has sparked an interest in that field. She is spending her summer completing a co-op work term at Small Craft Harbours, a program of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Previous co-op terms were completed at Port Metro Vancouver and Highland Valley Copper Mine. When asked to share highlights from her work terms, Christina extols the benefits of each overall experience but also recalls in particular: “At Port Metro Vancouver, the harbourmaster taught me how to drive his tugboat. That was pretty fun. Highland Valley Copper let me set off a blast which was 200,000 pounds of explosives, and 200,000 times the fun!”

Christina’s interest in engineering was sparked at a young age. She recalls travelling to UBC (from her hometown of Kamloops, BC) for a Girls in Engineering day, and participating in Engineers Without Borders-sponsored experimental activities. “Doing hands-on stuff like that was really entertaining, and a major springboard to further exploration of what engineering had to offer,” she noted. The leadership she provides now through Girl Guides of Canada, to girls aged seven and eight, may prove to be just as significant when it comes to inspiring future engineers. “If they’re doing something with their hands, that’s going to stick a lot better because they’re more interested in it. We built wind turbines with them. They did fabulous and they loved every minute of it!”

Managing a heavy academic workload, co-op work terms and extensive leadership and community service involvement is no easy task, but Christina prides herself on being well-rounded: “School is great, but it’s the experiences you get outside of school that I think help you develop more as a person; and you learn a lot from those experiences.”

The Department congratulates Christina on this significant award, and wishes her a successful final year in the BASc degree program.