Advancing The Sustainability Agenda A Year After Graduating

"I became interested in engineering because of my curiosity about how to go from an initial idea to a desired outcome."

Jasmine Lee

Jasmine Lee

You graduated last year. Tell us about where you’re working.

I’m working at EcoAct, a climate consulting firm that was recently acquired by Schneider Electric and is now part of their sustainability business. As a Sustainability Associate I help deliver projects such as greenhouse gas inventories, science-based target modelling, product life-cycle analysis and other climate strategies for companies – educating them and helping them move towards more sustainable practices and voluntary disclosure.


What kind of companies do you work with?

My team operates in North America and we work with lots of companies across the US and Canada, including automotive, entertainment, packaging producers and even makeup retailers.

What do like about your job?

The culture is great and I love getting to dip my toes into so many areas. 

I think this is really the perfect job for someone like me at this stage of my career because I get to absorb so much about different industries and am involved in so many projects with lots of different clients. I like the breadth of the work and the amount of problem solving I get to do.


The skills required to succeed as an engineer

Your degree is in manufacturing engineering. Do you feel that it prepared you for this work?

Definitely! The first way is in terms of subject matter. I learned a lot about operations and how companies run, and that helps me ask the right questions. And the second way is that my program exposed me to so many different subjects that I picked up a propensity for learning how to learn. That has really helped me be able to quickly adapt to new projects.

Manufacturing Engineering

How did you become interested in engineering?

I was always fascinated with systems. And I became interested in engineering because of my curiosity about how to go from an initial idea to a desired outcome. One of the reasons I was drawn to UBC was for the general first year that exposes you to several different disciplines. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, but I knew I’d like designing systems, and I knew that I wanted to figure out how to make something real. 

Foundation year

Why did you choose manufacturing engineering for your program?

I think what drew me towards manufacturing engineering was the program’s ‘how-it’s-made’ approach of taking a project from an idea to reality. 

The program was also brand new at the time and I thought it would be exciting to be part of the first cohort. There were only around 20 of us that first year, and we all had the same mindset of taking a chance on a new program. Everyone was very open and curious and it contributed to a strong sense of community.

Manufacturing Engineering

Any highlights you’d like to share about your courses or projects?

COVID happened at the end of my second year, which meant my third year was conducted entirely online. One of my favourite projects – and also one of the most challenging – was a year-long design project in third year to build a gravity-powered race car. We weren’t allowed to meet in person, so as a project team, we worked over Zoom on our ideas and then our prof or lab tech would follow our instructions in the lab to build the car. I ended up doing my capstone project with that same project team.

Through the projects and group work I learned a lot of problem-solving skills. Any time you take a project from beginning to end you’re going to run into a myriad of problems and issues. One of the mindsets that engineering taught me is that the only way out is through. Solving challenges requires adaptability and the ability to redefine expectations while keeping the project goal in mind. 


Jasmine's Project

Tell us about your co-op experiences. Did anything stand out?

Co-op was a valuable way for me to discover how important it is to me to be part of a work culture where my colleagues are open to ideas and innovation, and where change is always happening. I thrive in this kind of environment and that’s when my ideas flow best. 

Through my co-ops I realized that I don’t just want to be the person delivering the work who doesn’t’ really get a say; I also want to have visibility and input into the overall structure of the project.


Now that you’re working, do you have any thoughts on the type of impact you’d like to make in your career?

That’s a big question. I’d like to revisit my love for systems in general. Now that I’m involved in sustainability as a career, I would really like to expand my depth of understanding of how sociopolitical systems and engineering systems integrate and to bridge some of the gaps in miscommunication between these groups.

UBC manufacturing engineering students

Manufacturing Engineering

Students in the Manufacturing program will gain broad exposure to foundational engineering disciplines, and training across a range of major manufacturing processes and platforms, and instruction in production management and modern manufacturing...

Manufacturing Engineering

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