University of Calgary

Science students learn from professionals how to leverage their degrees

UToday HomeApril 2, 2013

The SU Faculty Representatives, in collaboration with Career Services, hosted the Science Works-Industry Panel on Tuesday, March 26.

Five industry professionals shared diverse perspectives on topics ranging from undergraduate direction in the Science Faculty, to networking, volunteerism, and career progression.

Megan Savage with AGAT Laboratories discussed her role as client project manager (CPM) team lead, and how fortunate she has been to progress in her career over a short period of time. With her Chemistry BSc from the University of Calgary, she has been able to harness skills learned throughout her academics in her role as the CPM team lead at AGAT.

Trang Trinh, with AGAT Laboratories as a CPM team lead, pointed out how valuable customer service experience is. She noted that her position is 70 per cent customer service-based and she looks for this experience in the recruitment of other project managers for the team. Students’ retail experience can be a definite asset here! She also advised that engaging with professors and TAs, and keeping touch after course completion, is a great way to ensure stronger and more relevant reference letters for either employment or grad school applications.

Chris Nicholls, technology analyst at Innovate Calgary, shared that networking is one of the most invaluable skills to learn when landing any position in the industry. He expressed that it is who you know, and the connections you make that correlate to where your career path leads and suggested LinkedIn as a highly useful resource. Nicholls graduated with his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Calgary in 2005, and has since worked as a research scientist and post-doctoral fellow. He stressed the importance of diversity, and to value rather than fear the opportunity of the non-linear career path.

Christine Campbell had a dream to become a veterinarian. After graduating from the veterinary medicine program at the University of Calgary, she landed a position at Golder Associates Ltd. as a biologist, and has since developed a new passion. She expressed her appreciation for her academic path leading to her current career, but said that experience should not just stop at that. She’s an avid volunteer with Oops-a-Dazy Animal Rescue and Sanctuary Society, and finds time to work with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists. This association welcomes student members and offers volunteer opportunities as well as a mentoring program (

Matthew Greenberg, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Calgary, engaged students with his passion and progression in research, and how important it is to seek out research opportunities as a student. Students and career staff were excited to hear how inspired he is by his career.

The professionals and students left fulfilled by their experience. “It was a pleasure to speak with the students, and see students so engaged,” said Christine Campbell.


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