Cailin Hillier

Cailin Hillier, Geological Engineering - Class of 2012

Cailin Hillier

Graduate program

MSc Earth Science & MBA at UofT

Graduation year

2014, 2018

Why did you choose your undergraduate program?

Loved math, science, geography and the outdoors - felt like a great combination of all of them!

How did you like your experience at UWaterloo?

I loved it. For me, extra curriculars made the experience what it was. Being involved in the Iron Warrior (Engineering student newspaper) was an especially wonderful highlight.

What were your favourite classes?

Hydrogeology, hydrology, digital computation, fluid mechanics

How did the friends you made at UWaterloo inspire you throughout your undergraduate experience?

My friends were my family through school - they encouraged me to keep at it, we should share in the academic and life struggles that are bound to happen, and we grew up together in the process. Cherish those relationships - mine continue to serve me incredibly well to this day. You never know - you might meet your BFF doing laundry in MKV and 8 years later, they could be one of the only people at your CVID wedding because you can't imagine getting married without them there.

Co-op work term history

  • Environmental Field Technician at Terraprobe
  • Grade control geologist-in-training at Iron Ore Company of Canada
  • WEEF TA for Digital Computation course
  • Environmental Consulting at Golder Associates
  • was on exchange at Lund University in Sweden studying glaciers!
  • Environmental Consulting at AMEC

What is the biggest lesson you learned from co-op?

Consulting is not for me - much prefer working on an "in house" team

What is your occupation now?

User Experience Researcher at Canadian tech startup/scaleup, Thinkific (while running my own business on the side)

Did your undergraduate program play a role in where you are today? How?

Absolutely! Having an engineering degree from the University of Waterloo has opened countless doors. Even though I'm no longer in the engineering field, the analytical learning style and work ethic I developed have served me very well

List 3 lessons you'd like to share with the current undergraduate students.

  1. Take this time to try new things and learn about yourself. You might find that you change your mind about what you want to be when you grow up - and that's wonderful! Better to know when you're young enough to do something about it!
  2. Grades aren't everything. Focus on learning and retaining the material, pass your classes, and beyond that - hold time for yourself and for fun. Sleep, eat heathy food, exercise even for 10 minutes; it will make a world of difference.
  3. Find a mentor and be a mentor to others. You have a lot of knowledge to give to others and a lot to learn. Take time to build relationships with people who aren't the same age with you; share freely and take in the lessons you can from those around you. And follow-up! One coffee chat does not a mentor/mentee make. Put a reminder in your calendar to follow-up.