By Introba Staff
Raven Caron is in his third year of studying Integrated Engineering at the University of British Columbia in Canada. He has been part of Introba for six months as the first proud recipient of our Indigenous Scholarship award. For most of his time, he has been based in the Victoria office, which is located on the unceded and traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) people, known today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.
Here, Raven shares his story and experience:
What led you to a degree, and possibly a career, in engineering?
“A career in engineering may be my path, and it may inspire another, but beyond the word career, engineering to me is a worldview, a way of life, beyond an occupation. There is no reason not to work and study as one, absorbing and learning, for even if I do not choose a career in engineering, the application and effect on my life will be no less powerful.
Designing speaker systems, studying music theory, reading philosophy, writing, and producing art are all hobbies of mine that require engineering. It is about finding what is under the surface, the deeper complexities, and recognizing the mastery and art within everyday things. Engineering is within all our lives, whether we are engineers or not.”
Which areas do you most enjoy learning about and working on?
“In the second half of my first term, I became a part of designing a pool HVAC system. From there, I designed the HVAC and plumbing systems from conception all the way to the building permit.
Markup after markup came back to me. It was fast-paced, hard to keep up, and the stakes were real. That was the best part. So quickly into my internship, I was already doing real work on a project that I could visit once it was finished and say, ‘I did that’.”
And which do you find most challenging?
“The most challenging part of my job is what I enjoy the most. Having a problem, solving that problem, and sharing relief or celebration with others is inspiring. It inherently involves challenging decisions, communication, and questions.”
How has Introba’s Indigenous Scholarship helped you to date?
“Firstly, finding a co-op is incredibly challenging, requiring applications to dozens of companies without a guarantee; it is competitive. I chose to work for four months in Introba’s Victoria office, and I am six weeks into my four months at the Vancouver office.
I have been able to share a coffee with some of the highest-ranking members in Canada, carry out personal projects that involve coding, AI, and developing calculators, and have been given many resources, papers, and books to read on the industry.
Aside from what may be an equal experience for all interns, I feel that there is a mission behind my presence, not only within myself but from others, too. I am here to learn about this industry, reflect on that learning, and find a way to benefit my Indigenous relations on a national scale.”
Who have been your mentors here? And why?
“I truly wish to list the whole Victoria office as well as everyone I have met in Vancouver. I have learned from everyone that I have shared a conversation with. There are a few who stand out, nonetheless, in Victoria: Erica Mak, Ryan Chora, Halen Kivari, and Andy Chong.
Andy leads this scholarship initiative. Once I began working with him, I was inspired. His work ethic, efficiency, and productivity are truly remarkable. I would look into his office and question how he does it.
Erica and Ryan supported every question and query I had. They gave me work when I needed more and helped me when I had too much. Halen was my desk mate and made me feel most welcome. Every day at the office was brighter, and I felt like his friend every day.”
Why should other Indigenous people apply?
“I cannot find a reason not to apply, and that may be the best reason to do so! Beyond the ability to work, beyond the chance to receive this scholarship, the building industry is so impactful that it is hard to picture anything larger. These are people's homes, these are people's places of work, these are where we live, and I am fortunate enough to learn about them.
My dream may not be the same as others, but I now have so much appreciation I have for every wall, window, vent and light that I pass by. Someone designed those. Someone made a calculated choice to pick that size of window and place it in that spot, or the number of lights in this room or that. The expertise and craftsmanship involved at Introba is nothing I expected before I began.”
Why is it important for Indigenous knowledge and values to be represented in the built environment in Canada?
“There are so many inspirations, practices, and views from Indigenous peoples that I am lucky enough to have learned, and much more that I have not been able to come across. These are from an artistic, environmental, and engineering perspective, all rooted in culture.
Most of our modern buildings are designed to last for two generations and then require retrofits or complete teardowns. That is the Western perspective in the building environment. Many Indigenous practices and decisions are founded on seven generations of impact, an Indigenous worldview that could solve many of the issues that we face today.”
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