GRADventure Specialist Profile: Richard Li

Richard Li

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. My research focuses on shale gas reservoir characterization and resource development technologies. In addition to my role as a PhD candidate, I also currently work on campus as a teaching and research assistant, training program coordinator, and GRADventure Specialist.

What do you want to do following graduate school?

I am interested in both academic and non-academic career paths. Inside academia, I hope to use my teaching skills and my technical expertise to educate young people. I would also like to continue my research on shale gas so as to contribute to a lower-carbon world. Outside academia, I am interested in exploring various opportunities. For example, an energy-related project management position would be of interest to me. Likewise, establishing a start-up that enables me to use my professional skills to help others would also be favourable.

Describe the kinds of professional development activities you’ve taken part in (e.g. volunteering, professional skills workshops, student association, GSA)

I have participated in professional skills workshops such as networking, leadership, and volunteering. I also acted as a departmental GSA President during my Master’s degree in China. More importantly, I have developed my professional skills through my previous and current on-campus roles as a teaching assistant, research assistant and training program coordinator. Furthermore, I have been taking various positions off-campus as well, including site supervisor of many geophysical exploration projects, English – Mandarin translator and interpreter, communications assistant, and freelance photographer. I actively pursue opportunities that enhance my professional skills.

Describe the value of these professional development experiences.

Working on campus as a teaching and research assistant offers me valuable professional skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and communicating. I also benefit from my roles as a site supervisor of geophysical exploration projects and training program coordinator, as they provide me opportunities to practice key interpersonal skills such as conflict management and teamwork. Moreover, I have been actively taking initiative and responsibility to reach out to the community as a language interpreter and photographer. This gives me a great opportunity to gain valuable customer service skills and professional decorum. These working experiences have all contributed to my overall skillset and work ethic. In the meantime, the wonderful workshops on campus offer me systematic knowledge, which I can use to refine existing skills and discover new ones.

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