Jonathan Verrett



Instructor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, The University of British Columbia
B.Eng. Chemical Engineering 2011 & PhD Chemical Engineering 2016




Briefly describe your path to your current career

I began my undergraduate in chemical engineering at McGill in 2007 and through my summer work experience in labs, found an area that interested me for graduate studies. I went straight into a PhD after my undergraduate degree and was afforded the opportunity to focus on my teaching skills as a Tomlinson Graduate Teaching Fellow. My teaching experience helped a great deal in getting selected for my position now as a faculty member in the educational leadership stream at UBC. My role as an instructor at UBC focuses on integrating more design into the 2nd and 3rd year chemical and biological engineering curriculum.

How has your engineering education at McGill contributed to your success?

My engineering education at McGill gave me a strong academic base and many opportunities to enrich my experience. During my undergraduate degree I was very involved with Engineers Without Borders, which helped build teamwork and leadership skills. Following that in my PhD I had a number of opportunities to develop skills outside of my scientific research through activities teaching and in student government. Based on my recent job search, I see companies wanting individuals that are technically competent, but that can also be effective working in teams and leadership roles. My experience at McGill allowed me to build skills to be able to drive projects forward no matter the field of work that I'm in.

What advice do you have for current students in the Faculty of Engineering?

Academics can be very difficult, but I think it's very important to look outside of your courses for opportunities to apply the skills you are learning. That could mean anything, from getting involved in students clubs, to tutoring, to getting internships related to your field of study. If you get a chance to go see another place or institution, take it, you will learn so much just by being in a different space. My internship to France during my PhD was a big highlight and also enriched my studies immensely.

Do you have anything else to add?

Make sure to take the time to make connections with those around you. I'm an introvert and generally afraid of crowds, so I was very uncomfortable doing this and had to force myself. Slowly, but surely, I got more confident at meeting others and speaking to larger groups. McGill and Universities in general, are hubs for brilliant and driven people looking to make a difference in the world. Listen to the stories of others and share yours as well.


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