Jack Park, BASc '18, Geological Engineering

Jack Park
"If you let your passions guide you — work or play — you will make a bigger difference in the world."

Hey there UBC Engineering! My name is Jack Park and I’m a 2018 geological engineering graduate. Here are some quick facts about me:

  • I have gone through three engineering disciplines over my seven-year university career (I have taken classes in all engineering disciplines)
  • I am graduating with 22 months of work experience
  • I have been heavily involved with the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) and the Geological Engineering Club (GeoRox)
  • I am an avid paddler (dragon boat, outrigger canoe, kayak, SUP, etc.)
  • I have a bucket list of visiting every continent and paddling in every ocean before I turn 30
  • I love connecting with new people who share the same interests, so if anything here rings a bell, feel free to give me a shout at jack.park@alumni.ubc.ca!

Why did you choose engineering?

Though I liked math and physics in high school (surprise, surprise), the main reason why I chose engineering was because I wanted to be a better problem solver.

What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?

It was the people I have met, built relationships with and kept in touch over the years — students, faculty and staff. These people helped me through my toughest struggles and to discover many of my passions.

What have you learned in engineering that is most valuable?

Discover your passion and throw any external expectations out the window (societal, parental, etc.). Remember: your goal isn’t to graduate from university, it’s to find out what you are passionate about.

After first year I tried electrical and computer engineering (ECE), thinking I would be interested in it (it was similar to what my parents had studied), but it turns out I was terrible at it! Then, I transferred into integrated engineering (IGEN) and though I very much enjoyed the project management aspect of the program, I still wasn’t set on my specialization. I went through a crisis of not knowing what to do with my life (with added pressure of what I thought family and friends expected of me). That is when I decided to discontinue my UBC studies and tried to find what a passion outside of school. After working at a geological engineering company for a year, I knew it was something I needed to do. I returned to UBC and switched into geological engineering — the best decision I have made.

How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?

What makes geological engineering unique is that it helps you develop both your quantitative and qualitative skills. With engineering’s problem-solving nature, I was able to apply the same skills under business contexts. Throughout my studies, I participated in numerous business case competitions in mining, IT, medical and strategy.

What has been your most memorable/valuable non-academic experience studying engineering at UBC?

The entirety of my seven-year journey! Though, if I had to pick one thing it would have to be getting involved with dragon boating. In my first year, I met a senior in civil engineering who got me started in dragon boating and I couldn’t have known then what a huge part of my life it would become. I eventually became captain of the national team and competed at the world championships, walking away with eight golds!

How do you feel a degree in engineering has benefitted you compared to a different field of study?

Engineering is a degree in problem solving. As such, you have the power to tackle and solve the most complex problems of the world: humanitarian, environmental, medical, financial, political, you name it. So, don’t limit yourself to be just an engineer.

What advice would you give a student considering engineering?

Don’t just study: engage in building relationships with your peers, faculty, staff and alumni. These people are the stepping stones in developing your passion for engineering (and more) and the true learning experience you will have at UBC.

Where do you find your inspiration?

1. The people in my life: family, friends, colleagues, mentors and role models. In a way, you’re the average of the people that you choose to surround yourself with, so by connecting with inspirational people, I get inspired.

2. From being alone. Whether it is an open ocean that I paddle out onto, or a quiet library where I study, these spaces are where I evaluate and choose to act on things that I am inspired to do.

What are your plans for the future?

My immediate plans are to check off some of my bucket list items — I will be traveling for most of the summer: including hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, paddling in the Indian and Arctic Oceans, visiting family in South Korea, and a six-week backpacking trip across Europe!Once I return from my adventures, I will be relocating to Calgary for a full-time position with an engineering consulting company.

How will you go on to make a difference in our world?

By being passionate. If you let your passions guide you — work or play — you will make a bigger difference in the world.