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Lloyd G. Mandeville

Lloyd G. Mandeville
Nation: 
Salt River First Nation
Degree: 
B.Sc., Civil Engineering
Job title: 
Part-time Field Inspecting Engineer

Type(s) of Engineering:

Civil

Favourite thing about school

“The University of Alberta's engineering program is extremely challenging and competitive. I enjoyed competing and surviving against terrific and intelligent young minds, as well as excelling in my own right academically. ”

More on Lloyd

Who could imagine that losing the ability to hear would lead to an engineering degree? In 1992, Lloyd Mandeville, a construction consultant in Alberta, was driving home from work. Without any warning, his world went silent. Doctors still can't explain what happened, but in a matter of seconds he had lost 95% of his hearing.

Lloyd continued to work, but after a while felt the hearing loss was impacting his productivity. So, at 50, a time of life when most people begin to look forward to retirement, he entered the Transition year program at the University of Alberta. The next year he began his studies in engineering.

At first, the university provided Lloyd with note takers, people who would attend class with him and act as his ears. But soon these people were replaced with an engineered solution called a pocket talker. A pocket talker is a wireless device which allowed Lloyd to use the hearing he has. In each class a microphone equipped with a transmitter was hooked on to the professor. A small receiver fit into Lloyd's ears. By adjusting the volume, he could hear everything the professor said, but only what the professor said: if another student asked a question, the professor had to repeat it before responding, so Lloyd could follow with the rest of the class. Lloyd says the pocket talker was invaluable and the only challenge he had was reminding professors they didn't have to talk any louder than usual, "I was the one controlling the volume, if they spoke too loud it hurt."

Lloyd graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in May 2001. While he admits that “at my age it was very hard to maintain the energy level required to study in the program,” he “enjoyed competing and surviving against intelligent young minds.” The support of his wife and family, as well as the University's Native Student Services were also key, “ I would not have made it without them, [they are] just a great bunch of people. The students are so fortunate to have them.”

And, despite being much older than most students, Lloyd drew on lessons he learned from his parents while growing up on a trap line in the Northwest Territories, “My parents instilled a hardworking ethic that I practice to this day.” He recalls his mother insisting that he and his siblings not fall behind in their studies, which were done mostly by correspondence, "A big thing for us was to go hunting in the spring with Dad, so we would have to start working ahead in our lessons in mid-January to be able to take 10 days off for the spring hunt.”

Since graduating from the University of Alberta, Lloyd has been busy seeking employment as a civil engineer specializing in structural design or geo-technical subsurface exploration. He is looking forward to using the skills he learned in university. At the same time, Lloyd wants to enjoy what he’s doing professionally, so he is being selective about which offers he pursues, and the one he eventually accepts. In the meantime, he is volunteering as the Region 1 representative for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, helping Native students in the US northwest, western Canada and Alaska pursue their dreams of science and engineering.

Some of the information in this article was obtained from the University of Alberta web site, http://www.engineering.ualberta.ca/

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