Michael Wong

Michael Wong, Environmental Engineering - Class of 2019

Michael Wong

Why did you choose your undergraduate program?

I picked Environmental Engineering because I realized I liked working with numbers but wanted to combine that with my passion about the environment and resource management. After looking at different programs for a while I landed on this program not because it was necessarily the best fit, but because I thought the co-op program would let me try on different hats and would be a very useful and versatile degree if I wasn't sure about what I wanted to do after graduating.

How did you like your experience at UWaterloo?

I can't say for certain that my experience would have been better or worse at a different school, but I do know that my experiences at UW were one-of-a-kind and without my education, my co-op experiences, or the friends I made along the way, I wouldn't be where I am today.

What were your favourite classes?

Oddly enough my favourite class was an elective on Ancient Greek Society. The professor was clearly very passionate about the subject and it carried through in his teaching and attitude with how he worked with students. Don't take an elective because it's 'easy'; take it because you want to!

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

Moving around a lot for co-op and (hopefully) being engaged in different extracurriculars means meeting a lot of new people. All my UW friends, whether I met them in class, on a co-op, in residence, or just by chance, these were the people that ultimately shaped my entire undergraduate experience. I wouldn't be the same person that I am without them.

Co-op work term history

  • KPMG, Toronto, ON - SR&ED Consultant (Co-Op)
  • City of Hamilton, Hamilton, ON - Water & Wastewater Planning Student
  • EQ Building Performance, Toronto, ON - Energy Analyst (Co-Op)
  • WSP Canada, Kitchener, ON - Project Associate (Co-Op)

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

Be flexible. The career path that I initially wanted to pursue changed at least twice before I ended up where I am today. Don't be afraid to try six different positions, or to stay at the same place to further your knowledge. Try a different industry if you want, or a different city.

What is your occupation now?

I am an Energy Analyst at EQ Building Performance, where I help project teams ensure their new construction building projects meet or exceed their energy and sustainability targets.

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

I can safely say the only reason I am in this position, and frankly even in the green buildings industry as a whole, is because on a whim I applied to this co-op job that 'sounded cool'. I was lucky enough to receive an interview, and later an offer, and after two amazing co-op terms I was offered a full-time position with the team.

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

  1. Be flexible. Where you want to be five years from now might change completely, or it might stay the same but the path could change too. Embrace change and welcome it as it comes and you'll be better for it.
  2. Get engaged outside of your academics. It can be anything, literally anything, but what you put in is what you get out, so don't be afraid to try new things if it's a new job or a new design team. Making the time commitment can seem hard, so don't feel rushed to commit to too much too soon if the time isn't right either.
  3. Ask for help when you need it. Whether it be from a family member, a friend, a peer, a professor. We are lifelong learners and only by always asking questions and asking for help can we get better.