Daniel Luo, BASc '19, Civil Engineering

"I gained so much by simply being present and diligent in every class, even if I had formed preconceived notions about it (read: skippable classes are a myth! Do not skip class!).”

Daniel Luo

Daniel Luo

  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Grad year: 2019
  • Program: Civil Engineering
  • Campus: Vancouver

“I gained so much by simply being present and diligent in every class, even if I had formed preconceived notions about it (read: skippable classes are a myth! Do not skip class!).”

I’ve had the opportunity to wear many hats throughout my time at UBC. I’ve also lost many hats (four baseball caps and three toques to be exact!). Some of my more memorable extracurricular experiences include: serving as President and VP Student Life on the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) Executive; being a member of UBC Concrete Toboggan for two years; volunteering for one year on the UBC First Aid Student Team; and working as an assistant director for UBC Intramurals. On the technical side, I am a civil engineer specialized in environmental engineering. I’ve had co-op placements with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Associated Engineering, and the City of Vancouver. I was also a part of the team that won this year’s BC Water and Wastewater Association (BCWWA) student design competition.

Why did you choose engineering?

Competitive swimming made up the better part of my childhood and adolescence. Through swimming, I was learning and applying principles of fluid mechanics before I even knew what it was! When evaluating my options for post-secondary education, I knew that I wanted to continue learning about water: how it behaves, how it interacts with the natural and built environment, and most importantly, how to preserve our precious water resources for future generations.

What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved with many extracurricular groups in my time at UBC. The multi-year learning process of balancing those with my academics is what made my time at UBC not only the most memorable, but also fulfilling.

One memory in particular that stands out is helping engineering win the UBC Recreation Triple Crown — winning the Triple Crown requires winning Day of the Longboat, Pumpkin Run (formerly Great Trek) and Storm the Wall all in the same year. I’ve been helping coordinate Triple Crown efforts since witnessing engineering win one in my first year, but personally competing this year made it extra special for me. Receiving my Iron Ring an hour after winning Storm the Wall was the cherry on top!

What have you learned in engineering that is most valuable?

It took my entire degree to realize, but I learned to enter new situations with an open-mind, with the intent to learn new things. I gained so much by simply being present and diligent in every class, even if I had formed preconceived notions about it (read: skippable classes are a myth! Do not skip class!).

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

Some of the biggest challenges we face as a society today are to do with water — mitigating it when there is too much, managing it when there is too little, and ensuring that our supply remains clean and potable. Solutions will not only require technical innovation, but also public education in order to achieve meaningful behavioural change. As a professional engineer in the water field, the skills that I gained through UBC engineering will help me begin to address these challenges.

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

I’ve learned that there is careful thought and analysis put into nearly every piece of infrastructure that we interact with and often take for granted. The process of figuring out how and why things work is a fun challenge, and I sometimes find myself doing so impulsively. Travelling and seeing new places suddenly has a new layer of meaning, and this inquisitive mindset makes me feel like a kid again — in the best way possible!

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