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Caryn Levin, BEng '03

(Civil Engineering)

Aim big and be persistent

Making the world a better place has always been a career goal for Caryn Levin. And today, it’s a career reality.

“I connected with the idea of having a job that could help do good for our world and not just make money,” says Levin, a 2003 Civil Engineering grad attracted by the chance to connect engineering and the environment.

It wasn’t initially easy to turn that motivation into the job she imagined, however.

“When I left school, the job I have now did not exist,” says Levin, who was advised by a professor that her dream of helping companies improve their environmental performance was a decade ahead of the market.

Today, working for global engineering consulting firm WSP, she holds exactly that job. As a Senior Consultant for the Sustainability, Energy and Climate Change team, Levin focuses on helping corporations do their part to make the world a better place.

“I provide advisory support for their sustainability strategies, goal setting, data management, development of their greenhouse gas inventories and public reporting,” she says. “It is the perfect balance of being able to be creative in the solutions we provide to clients while also using my technical skills.”

Finding the right job took patience and persistence, she adds. “I met with as many people as I could who had jobs that interested me, and looked for companies that sounded exciting, even if I didn’t have the perfect skill set.”

“I found this position in January 2010, almost 7 years after I left McMaster, so my professor was right with his advice.”

One of the most compelling lessons from her university career came in her final year, when she and a few friends and I organized a conference. Urged by a professor to aim big when finding a speaker for the event, they joked that it would be great to get David Suzuki.

“The professor responded, ‘So ask him.’ We did, and he came. It was such a valuable lesson to aim big and always ask for what you want. The worst that can happen is they say no!”