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  I believe success is built on great ideas, creativity, and working with exceptional people in a collaborative environment.

Jennie Christensen

Principal, Environmental Services

Sidney, British Columbia

Jennie is the environmental services practice lead on Vancouver Island. As an environmental scientist, she focuses primarily on aquatics and toxicology programs. Currently, she is managing a toxicology research and development project that involves the development and use of non-invasive forensic tools to explore heavy metal exposure in mammals. Jennie’s past research has focused on contaminant-associated health effects in wildlife, including amphibians and grizzly bears.

What has your career at Stantec been like so far?
I came to Stantec because I saw a lot of opportunity at the company, and started as an aquatic toxicologist. Since then, there isn’t a specific achievement to characterize my success. It feels more like a journey, as long as I am challenging myself, meeting new people, that’s a success. I always have driven to make things better, to improve, and to learn. The more important question is what keeps me at Stantec.

Okay, so what keeps you here?
I am now part of the hiring process. At interviews, I always talk about my experience and what keeps me here. I want to inform people that it is an amazing experience, if you are open to it. What I love about Stantec is the openness to ideas, freedom for creative thinking, outside the box ideas, and support from office, peers, managers, and corporate. Within a span of ten minutes, I can come up with idea, talk to the right people, and we can come up with a plan. I have never felt so supported; the sky’s the limit. That’s what keeps me here.

You recently won an award for your research. Can you tell us about that?
My paper was awarded “Best Paper 2013” from Environmental Toxicology Journal, which is a huge honour. I have a passion for wildlife, and for six years I had a vision of a research project, but funding proved difficult to secure. Within two months of being hired at Stantec, I put forward my idea for a Stantec research and development grant. Since then, Stantec has supported not only the initial project, but growth of the project. I have received three R&D grants in total. The project involved the development of a laser ablation technique to monitor metals in grizzly bear hair as an indicator of environmental contaminants. It’s a win-win for Stantec: they get a happy employee, a happy client, and can now offer services no other consultant can. I feel so proud and lucky to be a part of it.

Bear with me

When Jennie joined Stantec, she brought with her a passion for bears. Stantec’s R&D fund gave her the resources to explore it

Transcript of the video follows
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<p><b>JENNIE christensen</b></p> <p>I’ve had a vision for a research project with grizzly bears and contaminants now for six years. It was looking at the fate and transport of organic contaminants to grizzly bears through the various food webs. For three of those six years I had been trying really hard to get funding, and this was before I was at Stantec, and it was proving very difficult. Although people found the ideas interesting, they didn’t want to financially support it or couldn’t see the application of it. So within two months of being hired at Stantec, I heard about the Research and Development grant at Stantec that supported individuals who wanted to do research. So I put forward my ideas and lo and behold they were interested in it.</p> <p>So we started with that project. It was the development of a laser ablation technique to monitor metals in grizzly bear hair.</p> <p><b>MARIE NOEL</b></p> <p>With the laser technique, we have really high resolution in the type of data that we get. So in conventional methods, usually you need about 10 hairs from grizzly bear or any wildlife, and you get one mercury data for 6 months mercury exposure period. But with the laser, you just need one hair, and you get one mercury data point every four days over a six month period. So that’s the first time that it’s been done in wildlife hair so it’s really exciting.</p> <p><b>JENNIE</b></p> <p>I found out that I won best paper of 2013 for environmental toxicology and chemistry journal. It’s something that I never would have expected to win in a lifetime, so I’m very proud and very excited as that was one of my favourite research topics with the bears and contaminants, it’s something I’m very passionate about.</p>

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