Q & A with Physics Grad Cameron Harrop

Posted on Thursday, August 3rd, 2023

Headshot of Cameron Harrop
Cameron Harrop

Checking in with Cameron Harrop, BSc ’10 Physics Co-op graduate.

1 - Why did you choose the U of G?            

I toured a few campuses and happened to tour Guelph around St. Patrick’s Day. As you can imagine the campus was full of people celebrating and taking time off from school work. The atmosphere was electric and exciting. It was also located in the heart of a city that was very progressive and environmentally forward thinking which was important to me.                                                                                             

2  - When do you become interested in Physics?

High School - Grade 11 & 12. I had two incredible physics teachers during those years (both Guelph Alumni) who really inspired me to pursue a degree in physics. They were able to take concepts and present them through interesting and inspiring lessons & hands-on labs. 

3 – Was there a course or co-op placement that is still memorable to you and why?

I did one of my co-op placements at a nuclear engineering company in Toronto. The team I was working with was tasked with designing a snake like robot that goes into CANDU nuclear reactors, takes a small metal shaving from the tube it's traversing and brings that sample back out for analysis. It was very eye opening into what was out there work wise.

4 – How did the program prepare you for your career?

I would say the biggest things the program taught me that I use everyday are time management, efficient note taking and how to work out complex math problems. The scientific concepts and theories in physics are used all over the place, usually in very specific applications. But the more applicable skills you learn in the process and in that type of environment are applicable everywhere.

Headshot of Cameron Harrop

Cameron Harrop, 2010

5 – Tell me a little bit about your current job or roles that helped lead you here. 

My first co-op placement was with an environmental system supply company who designed and built water treatment systems for municipalities and industries. After graduation I didn't really know what I wanted to do so I looked up some of company's I had done placements with and noticed this one had an entry level position posted out in Edmonton, Alberta. Because of my experience with the co-op placement, I got the job and moved out to Edmonton for a couple years doing hands-on field work - fixing and maintaining water treatment systems. I worked my way up through the company through the Services Department, Municipal Wastewater team, Food and Beverage Team to where I am today.

I'm currently the North American Commercial Manager with Veolia Water Technologies and Solutions. The role involves helping our customers and the business meet its vision of ecological transformation by providing support and guidance to the various teams on deal structure, commercial strategies, contract language, value generation and risk mitigation.

6 – What would do you tell future students about Physics at Guelph? What would you tell them about the field?

It's a program that really encourages you to think about and understand what sometimes can be abstract concepts. Like many post-secondary programs, it's likely a change of pace compared to what most high school students are used to, but it's bundled with new freedom to grow, experiment and figure out what your passions are in life. The professors the school has managed to attract and retain are absolutely stellar and make some of the classes very memorable and engaging. 

7 – Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I've never been the type of person to plan that far ahead. If I had to guess where life will take me, I suspect doing more of what I'm doing today but perhaps in a more global role. The co-op program really set me up well to succeed after university and I genuinely enjoy working for the company I did my first co-op with all the way back in 2008.

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