Welcome to Aboriginal Access to Engineering, Queen's University

Rob Manuel

Rob Manuel

Rob Manuel is a Petroleum Engineer. He often goes out to talk to Aboriginal students about engineering careers. "I tell them, hey, I grew up on a reserve, I failed grade 10 math and I got a degree in engineering. It pretty much takes away their excuses."

Rob worked for Shell Canada for two summers before graduating from university.  He was hired by them right away, as part of a team studying the possibility of extracting heavy oil from the ground.  Special processes are needed to extract heavy oil from the ground and refine it into useful products. Since then, Rob has had many interesting jobs leading up to his current job as a project manager in Queensland, Australia.

As an Aboriginal person working in engineering, Rob brings a different way of thinking to the table. “I have a passion for the Aboriginal side that sometimes outweighs the engineering.  I count on elders and parents and what people have taught me.  When I speak, it is them speaking.”  Balancing his two worlds is all a part of the challenge of engineering, which he loves.

Rob encourages young Native people to stay in school and get an education so they can contribute to the development of their communities. "Try to develop an attitude where you'd rather try to do something great and fail, than do nothing and succeed. And, if you don't know why you should try to do something great, find a reason, get a reason."

Failure, he explains, is all part of learning, "I speak like I do today because of the times I failed. I don't beat myself up about it. Next time it happens, whatever it is, I won't do it that way again."

Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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