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Our 2021 Stantec Equity & Diversity Scholarship Interns

November 30, 2021

We’re proud to offer internships to five students who received the Stantec Equity & Diversity Scholarship

Implemented in early 2021, the Stantec Equity & Diversity Scholarship (E&D Scholarship) was an overwhelming success. We were able to give scholarships to 30 deserving students to help in their pursuit of post-secondary education. Of the 30 students, we also found internships for five of them within our Stantec offices.

Hairong Dang, Christina Monterrosa, Lauren Quesada, Tina Nguyen, and Fiona Wu have all found themselves interning at Stantec. We sat down to chat with Christina and Hairong, who were happy to share their experience.

Christina is studying graphic design at the California Institute of Arts. “It’s been an amazing experience so far—it’s an incredible privilege to study at a smaller private college. My cohort is made up of just 13 students, myself included. My classmates are all talented, inventive, and playful; they encourage me to do my best work,” Christina said. “Graphic design itself is a multidisciplinary field, and as a curious person who has always wanted to do everything, I’m so excited to pursue whatever path my education takes me.”

Christina’s dream has always been to contribute to the world in a positive way. “After I graduate, if my skills can enact a positive change in the world, then that would make me happy and fulfilled,” she said. “I’m interested in all matters concerning policy, social justice, and environmentalism. I’ve been thinking about how most problems we face on a larger scale tend to feed into each other, and how solving one problem can help solve many others when the right approach is taken.”

Christina knows design is, at its core, a discipline about problem-solving. “Our work defines problems, considers who we must solve the problem for, then produces the best possible solution for everyone involved. With all that in mind, I hope to help problem-solve with organizations whose values and goals align with my own.”

The E&D Scholarship was the first time Christina had seen the acronym ‘STEAM’ (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) in lieu of STEM. “I thought this was amazing; this scholarship values the arts as much as it values science, tech, engineering, and math—we need more humanistic thinkers to work alongside STEM majors,” Christina said. “What good is all our scientific progress if we aren’t constantly considering its impact on humanity? The E&D Scholarship opened a door for me, the biggest door in my life thus far.”

As for her internship, Christina helps the Creative Services team develop project proposals in Colorado. Her team is made up of other designers and marketers that are passionate about collaboration. “I’ve been loving it so far! Everyone I’ve met has been kind and eager to work towards a common goal. It’s been a refreshing experience,” Christina said. “I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting coworkers from other countries, and it’s been interesting to hear not only their differing perspectives, but also where our views overlap.”

Additionally, Christina has been learning more about water as a resource than she ever imagined. “Listening to engineers discuss sustainability almost makes me wish I went into a scientific field, but I remember that I have my own part to play in relaying their knowledge back to other laymen. I’m grateful this internship has allowed me to explore so many of my interests.”

Christina has learned a lot during her internship, including how many moving parts Stantec has. “It’s such a huge company that I haven’t had to go out of my way to speak to someone new with a different skillset,” Christina said. “My favorite meeting so far has been with our Visualization Technology team. I learned about how Stantec is utilizing new media technology to solve construction issues and visualize projects before they’re built.” Christina has also attended a lot of different training sessions ranging from design issues to climate change. “I get invited to new meetings about a myriad of topics weekly, whether its leadership training or handling imposter syndrome. I love how accessible learning is within the company, and how much the culture encourages it.”

When Hairong and her family moved to Canada in 2018, she found herself in a new environment filled with obstacles. In her first chemistry class, not only did she realize she had to overcome a language barrier, she was also overwhelmed with the different materials being used and not knowing how to use them. A self-starter, Hairong introduced herself to classmates, watched YouTube videos on the subject matter, and emailed her teacher until she understood the assignment. As a result, she transformed from someone who had never seen a lab material to a leader who led the entire lab group to finish difficult lab activities.

Hairong is pursuing her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. With a heavy workload and difficult subject matter like understanding organic chemistry and how proteins interact, Hairong sometimes finds her studies difficult. “My major gives me a delayed gratification when I finally understand a new concept; I am really enjoying it!”

After graduation, Hairong has two possible paths she wants to pursue her career in: medicine by becoming a physician or becoming a scientist. “I’m also interested in managing a pharmaceutical/biomedical company in the pursuit of making healthcare more cost effective,” she reflected.

“The E&D Scholarship helped pay my tuition and buying my textbooks,” Hairong said. “It also really helped boost my confidence as it feels like a reward for all the hard work I’ve done over the years.”

As an intern here at Stantec, Hairong was a junior environmental assessor and data analyst with our Environmental Services team in the Markham, Ontario office. “I was in the office organizing and analyzing field data as well as drafting reports for different soil sampling programs,” Hairong said. “I mostly helped out my colleagues and supervisors who were out in the field as an in-office support.”

Hairong learned a lot about data analysis and was also able to improve her writing skills. “The reports I needed to write needed to be clear and concise. I became a more organized person who actively communicated with my team.” And, she learned how to make coffee.

We are proud of our E&D Scholarship recipients and interns. Our second installment of this scholarship has officially wrapped up and we’re sure we will receive some amazing applicants once again. 

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