Graduating PhD students epitomize resilience and excellence

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Each year, the University of Waterloo choses one PhD student from each Faculty to highlight during convocation. This June, the spotlight was shone on Andrew Wiebe, a 2021 PhD graduate from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences!

Andrew Wiebe.Andrew Wiebe has been calling the University of Waterloo and the Faculty of Science home ever since the first year of his bachelor’s degree. Earth sciences and hydrology have always been of academic interest to Wiebe, but he never planned on pursuing a PhD until he was working for a research project at the University and his supervisor, Professor Dave Rudolph, encouraged him to. City planning uses computer models to ensure an adequate and sustainable water supply, and Wiebe is helping to ensure that the data applied to these models is as accurate as possible. For his research, Wiebe studied several groundwater management issues related to groundwater recharge and found ways to estimate recharge uncertainty for rainfall monitoring scenarios, allowing for more precise and effective decision making.

Wiebe describes his PhD journey as being like a marathon and feels privileged to have had the chance to be so hands-on each step of the way. Wiebe participated in each part of the research process, including ordering and installing a high volume of hydrological field equipment, collecting and analyzing data, and constructing numerical models to answer research questions.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity … I think this was a unique aspect of my studies, something that most students do not have access to,” says Wiebe.

Wiebe went on to be a finalist at the UW GRADflix competition, where he presented his entire research story in under one minute. Currently, Wiebe is working on a postdoc at McGill University, where he assists in developing tools to assess groundwater vulnerability in northern Canada.

What Wiebe will miss most about his studies at Waterloo is the Engineering Coffee & Doughnuts shop in the CPH building, which he describes as having nice pastries, affordable prices and makes for an excellent study break.

What he will miss least: the noisy fire panel in the EIT building foyer!

Watch Wiebe's GRADflix video below!