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January 8, 2009

By: Colin Anderson, Communications & Student Programs Coordinator, CivE

The effect of the much talked about global economic downturn was hard to see as students and engineering industry professionals filled the atrium of the Medical Sciences Building in the heart of the University of Toronto’s downtown St. George Campus on Jan. 8, 2009. The Department of Civil Engineering hosted its 5th Annual Career Fair in Civil and Mineral Engineering, and saw surprisingly large attendance from both students and presenters.

The Fair brought together 27 companies, organizations, and government agencies that look to hire engineering students and recent graduates in the fields of Civil and Mineral Engineering.

Nelly Pietropaolo, Manager of Student Services and External Relations in the Department of Civil Engineering and chief organizer of the event, notes that these types of activities can be a bellweather for the near future of the engineering industry. “Several years ago we went through a period that was very difficult for the industry. Fewer companies were interested in marketing themselves as active recruiters.”

With the recent news of an economic slowdown in both Canada and the U.S., this year’s staff and volunteers were expecting to see a drop in participation as companies scaled back plans for future hiring. This, however, was apparently not the case.

“Governments around the world are talking about large scale infrastructure projects as a way out of the current crisis,” says Hilda Gan, recruiter for engineering firm iTRANS. “This industry could actually benefit from the investment that will result.”

While the iTRANS staff were scouting for potential PEY Internship students and new grads, Ana Pastolero (CivE 0T8) of Syncrude, one of Canada’s largest petroleum producers, says her company is actively looking to fill four geotechnical engineering and six mining positions. Pastolero moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta after graduating from U of T in 2008 and has been working with Syncrude ever since.

While she admits that the move from Southern Ontario to Northern Alberta was a large one, she is quick to sell Fort McMurray as a growing, healthy place. “I was surprised to discover that there were lots of young families. It is clean, beautiful, and cold.”

Other engineering firms in attendance included AECON, who are interested in co-op students as well as recent graduates, Rocscience, who are looking for summer students interested in developing modeling software and techniques, and MTO, who are looking for engineering grads across many disciplines. With so many organizations opening their doors to current and recent engineering students, it seems there are still plenty of opportunities to be had.

The Annual Department of Civil Engineering Career Fair complements the broader Faculty of Applied Science Career Fair, scheduled to take place later this month.

For more information about this or related stories, contact Colin Anderson, Communications and Student Programs Coordinator in the Department of Civil Engineering at or (416) 978-0945.

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