Environmental Engineering 2021

Mandy ColemanHey potential Waterloo students!  My name is Mandy and I am an environmental engineering student.  Like most environmental engineers I love the outdoors and especially enjoy paddling and going for hikes.  I have a passion for travel and hope to work abroad after graduation.  I enjoy volunteering within my community and am excited to welcome new students to Waterloo!

Waterloo Engineering in one word:


I chose Waterloo Engineering because:

I loved the idea of direct entry into my program so that I could focus on what I wanted to do earlier on in my education.  I also knew that small class sizes were important to me since I came from a smaller high school and the idea of sitting in a lecture hall with hundreds of students was frightening.  Like a lot of Waterloo students, the incredible co-op program was very appealing to me.  The combination of the above three is why I chose Waterloo Engineering and I’m happy I did.  

The best thing about my program is:

I love the atmosphere of my program.   When I step into the classroom I’m able to name everyone in the room.  This makes going to class more fun because it is social, and we can easily interact with our professors.  I also love the field work and labs that accompany the program because they are an awesome way to get hands-on experience.

About Co-op:

I’ve been very lucky to have had three amazing co-op opportunities this far.  Unlike other environmental engineering students, I decided to take two construction jobs to gain site experience prior to moving to the consulting side of engineering.

 My first co-op was at a medium-sized contractor, Metric Contracting Services Corporation, where I worked under the District Project Manager to compile estimates and write up pre-qualifications for jobs across Southern Ontario.  At the end of my co-op term I had the opportunity to bid my own job and although we didn’t get the job, I learned a tremendous amount about the estimating process.  I believe my first co-op was the most impactful because I got to see what a “real-world” engineering job is. 

For my second placement I moved out to Edmonton, Alberta to work for PCL Construction as an engineering student on an on-going construction project.  I worked on two projects, one was a hospital, the other was a four-building commercial-retail development. From that experience I learned about the feasibility of different designs and the importance of communication between all involved parties.

My current placement is at a consulting firm where I am working with project managers to complete condition assessments, environmental assessments, and some construction projects with a focus on water and wastewater infrastructure. 

I think the Waterloo co-op program is great because it gives you a chance to experience different areas of your field and determine where you see yourself in the future.

I wish I had known before I came:

I wish I knew how important being involved in clubs was for my overall well-being.  The engineering timetable was intimidating for me when I first came to university, because with sleeping properly and studying it seemed like there was not enough time to get involved.  In my 1A term I was not involved in anything, but in 1B I began to get more involved in sports and clubs.  I wish I had known how beneficial it is to have something other than school to focus on.  Even if it is something as simple as going for a walk after class everyday for half an hour, that time away from school and studying is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Outside the classroom, I’m involved with:

  • University of Waterloo Dragon Boat Club – High Performance Paddler
  • Engineers Without Borders – VP Finance and Operations
  • Engineering Ambassadors – Volunteer
  • Orientation Week - BIG
  • University of Waterloo FEDS Food Bank – Volunteer

One more thing about me:

I love to travel and have managed to travel 9 of the 10 provinces of Canada.  Only New Brunswick left to go!

Contact me: ammcoleman@uwaterloo.ca

University of Waterloo