Alyson King, BEng Scty ’18 (Civil Engineering) – Faculty of Engineering
Alyson King

Alyson King, BEng Scty ’18 (Civil Engineering)

Recognizing the wrong fit

Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

It took Alyson King a few years – and even a couple of failed materials courses – to find her engineering path.

But now in her first year of employment, her journey offers some reassurance to students who discover that they don’t fit where they thought they would.

“I had no clue what I wanted to do after first year, so I chose Materials [Engineering &] Society because it was the most appealing stream,” says the 2018 graduate. “I always knew that the Society program would be a great fit for me, and I can happily say that I was totally right on that front. Materials, however, was not where I was meant to be.”

A shift into the Civil program in her third year made for a busy schedule but led to a summer co-op with a civil consulting company in Calgary that helped King realize that she wanted to work in water and wastewater infrastructure.

“It wasn’t until [my] final year that I really knew that I wanted to work with First Nations to provide critical infrastructure,” she adds. “Did you know that some First Nations have been under boil water advisories for decades? Or that they don’t have proper wastewater management systems?”

Despite a busy McMaster schedule, King served as president of the Women in Engineering Society, was a member of the McMaster Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) chapter, and was also a cast member of the Mac Eng Musical.

She is currently working as an engineer in training at First Nations Engineering Services Ltd., an indigenous-owned engineering firm based on the Six Nations of the Grand River.

“My responsibilities are to provide engineering support to my supervisor, Vice President Justin Gee,” she says. “We work on projects for various First Nations across Canada on water and wastewater infrastructure and site development.”