Tricia Stadnyk

Tricia Stadnyk, Environmental Engineering - Class of 2002

Tricia Stadnyk

Graduate Program

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Civil Engineering Water

Graduation Year


Why did you choose your undergraduate program?

I worked in high school for a Mechanical engineering company doing design drawing work. I feel in love with engineering - combo of math and science, which I loved in high school - but I didn't like Mechanical. I had always been interested in water and environmental causes (I started an environmental club in high school), so I looked for Engineering programs that had water+environmental.  I was going to accept Guelph, but then Waterloo offered me a full tuition scholarship in 1st year, so I choose Waterloo.

How did you like your experience at UWaterloo?

Overall I reflect fondly on those years - it was TOUGH, but it definitely prepared me for the career path I've been on (not exactly the easy path)!  I also feel like a significant portion of my classmates (particularly from graduate school) are now the leaders in water in Canada - so "Leaders of Tomorrow" wasn't a stretch. I collaborate all the time with Waterloo Engineers, and that's a testament to the strength, depth and breadth of the training we received. It was fast paced, and tough to keep up - but so are careers!

What were your favourite classes?

Mathematical modelling for the environment, hydrology and hydraulics/fluids.  I also loved the geological engineering classes.

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

Oh gosh - I don't think I would have finished my degree without them! They were my shoulders to cry on, my rocks and the source of laughter and fun times that kept us all going. It wasn't just one person though - the uniqueness of the Waterloo program is that the CLASS bonds. I still keep in touch with many classmates, and we often reflect on the fun times we had - and the hard work that we pulled each other through.  In many ways, its a team effort.

Co-op work term history

Boy was this an exercise in digging up the past! LOL

  • S2001 Hydrological Modeller, Environment Canada, Monitoring Services Division, Burlington, Ontario
  • F2000 Undergraduate Research Assistant (Hydrology), Civil Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • W2000 Undergraduate Research Assistant (Hydrology), Civil Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • S1999 Consulting Engineering Student, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates
  • F1998 Mechanical Designer, Husky Injection Molding Systems
  • W1998 Engineering Standards, Husky Injection Molding Systems

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

Time management, adaptability and resiliency

What is your occupation now?

Academic Professor, University of Calgary and Canada Research Chair (in Hydrologic Modelling)

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

100% - i wouldn't be eligible for my position now unless I completed my degree, for one! Second, it was my undergrad work term in research that inspired me to start graduate school and do my PhD. It was also these work terms that inspired my passion for hydrology and water resources.

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

  1. Be open to new opportunities and challenges: Waterloo is great at providing those opportunities, but its up to you to take them and challenge yourself - continuously.
  2. It's about the journey, not the destination: its cliche, but don't look to graduation as "the end", its very much just the beginning of a massive trajectory for you! Beyond what you can imagine now.
  3. Waterloo is about more than the academics: they emphasized the "soft" (leadership) skills, career development and time management balancing act! These skills are so important and not well emphasized elsewhere. That's why Waterloo grads are so successful.