For Julie Van de Valk (Loran Scholar ’12), the summer internships provided some of the most defining moments of her four years of university. “They allowed me to develop my perspective on the world and my place in it in a way that I am only beginning to appreciate.”
With help from a fellow scholar, Julie set up a public policy internship with a regional municipal council on the northeast coast of New Zealand. She analyzed permit data to inform the development of a freshwater management plan and identified policy options to improve water quality. She also took the opportunity to learn about indigenous Maori culture, customs and language.
Julie spent her second summer in Southeast Asia, helping the NGO Clear Cambodia evaluate the effectiveness of biosand filters and train local staff. For this community development internship, Julie worked closely with Marin Macleod (Young Fund Loran Scholar ’09) and Ray Cantwell (Scotiabank Loran Scholar ’98), regional manager of the Samaritan’s Purse water program.
“In Cambodia, I discovered new ways to apply my engineering skills to development and disaster relief work.”
For her enterprise summer, Julie interned with Golder Associates in their Vancouver office. She assisted coastal and surface water consultants with their projects, created wave scenario models and conducted fieldwork in Prince Rupert and Kitimat. The combination of summer experiences helped her understand how to use her engineering skills to solve technical challenges while focusing on the broader context.
Julie graduated this year from UBC, where she served on the Board of Governors, coordinated a campaign to address climate change and volunteered with an independent advocacy organization. An outdoor enthusiast, she also completed an Olympic-distance triathlon. Julie co-organized the graduating class gift to fund a Loran Finalist Award, an annual tradition that was started in 2013. “I am so grateful for the journey I’ve had and look forward to continuing to give back to the Loran community.”