In our second edition of our Alumni Spotlight, meet Monica Kwong, a Chemical Engineering graduate of Ryerson University circa 2018. Monica is currently an Operations Lead for Ingredion, where she oversees the syrup loadout department at her plant. We asked Monica to share some advice and here’s what she had to say.
Who is Monica Kwong? Tell us about yourself.
I graduated from the Chemical Engineering program in 2018, with a specialization in Management Sciences. Right after graduation, I started off as a Process Engineer at Sofina Foods in various primary and further food processing facilities for three years. Earlier this year, I started my new role as an Operations Lead with Ingredion, where I oversee the syrup loadout department at my plant. At Ingredion, I’m in the Global Talent for Operations Program, where I’ll be rotating roles annually over the next three years.
Currently, I spend my spare time taking courses in the Project Management certificate program via Chang School, hip-hop dancing, cheering for the Toronto Raptors, and spending time with friends and family whenever I’m in the GTA.
What was your experience like at Ryerson? What are some of your fondest memories from your time in the Engineering program?
The fondest memories from my time in the Engineering program were the extracurricular activities I was involved in, including RyeChemU, RSU, and the Canadian Engineering Competition 2018. These activities allowed me to meet amazing people and build my leadership experiences. It was also a special memory for me to represent my class at the Iron Ring ceremony.
Do you think it was beneficial to you in the long run to be involved with so many things during your time at Ryerson?
My participation in extracurricular activities played a significant role in my career development and leadership experiences. I was able to learn what my leadership style is, how to collaborate with people and manage conflict, how to make decisions involving unfavourable constraints, how to manage projects and events… similar to what happens in the world outside of school. Extracurricular activities provided me with a safe environment that allowed me to gain these experiences, make mistakes, and learn accordingly. In addition, they have also helped me showcase what I have to offer during various job searches.
Have any of your aforementioned experiences helped you with the work you do in your job today?
My aforementioned experiences definitely have helped with my current role today. I lead a team of 12 people in my department, and although I’m still fairly new to the job, the extracurricular experiences have prepared my mindset on how to approach different scenarios that are out of my comfort zone.
How do you think Ryerson Engineering set you up for success?
Particularly in the Chemical Engineering program, I definitely felt that the mandatory co-op program plays a huge role in where I am today. I’m very thankful for the different opportunities it helped me land, whether it helped me expand on my Excel skills, taught me different water treatment processes, or showed me how a supply chain works together with customer service, production schedulers, and sales in a manufacturing environment.
What advice would you give to current students?
School is the best time to experiment with different techniques that work for you in time management and maintenance of your physical and mental health. Everyone is unique, so don’t get frustrated if someone’s morning and evening routines don’t work for you. Once you are able to establish this, you can carry this foundation with you throughout your professional and personal life.
Take advantage of the different programs and resources available at the university: career center for resume and cover letter writing, technical skills workshops, mentorship programs, startup programs, networking opportunities, discount programs for entertainment.