Meet Amy Vaillancourt, SBT Professor

Amy Vaillancourt, Ph.D.

Q: What is your education and background?

A: I started with an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). After completing this degree, I worked with an Environmental Management and Engineering firm. I then continued my education at the University of New South Wales and pursued a Master’s in Sustainable Development in Australia. I completed my education at UNB with a Doctorate in Civil Engineering, specializing in sustainable municipal infrastructure.

Q: What is your area of interest?

A: My current areas of interest are architectural and interior design, as well as biophilic design and investigating its ability to improve occupant productivity, health and overall well-being.

Q: When did you know you had found your discipline?

A: Mathematics, problem-solving and the built environment have always been strong interests of mine and also correlated with my strengths as a student. Although it was a challenging journey, engineering offered a place where I could excel and help make a difference.

Q: Why did you choose to work at Okanagan College?

A: Okanagan College provided me with the unique opportunity in 2014 to Chair a new program formerly known as the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program. Okanagan College was equally determined to make this program a success which helped my journey with the college be motivated, interesting and rewarding. This program has since evolved from a three year pilot to a state-of-the-art Sustainable Building Technology program that will truly make a difference in our built environment.

Q: What do you like most about the work you do?

A: Simply put, being a College Professor and also Chair of the program has never felt like “work.” Academia is a place where I feel comfortable, challenged and continuously motivated by our cohorts of diversified and enthusiastic students. Being able to help students achieve a better life for themselves and their families through academia is the most rewarding part of my work.

Q: Favourite teaching experience?

A: I have many. The one that stands out from the rest actually occurred outside of the classroom, when one of my graduates told me that the program changed his life.

Q: Who gave you the best advice you ever received?

A: My father has always said “work hard now, and you will benefit for the rest of your life.” Emphasizing the importance that education, whether formal or informal, can have and make a positive impact on your life.

Q: What advice do you have for new students?

A: Read your syllabus, then read it again, then one last time. After you truly understand what is expected of you in each one of your courses, organize your time accordingly and plan out what needs to be accomplished every single week. This will help you prioritize your deliverables, organize what you are learning, and avoid last minute projects. (Side note: never hesitate to ask your professors for help.)

Q: If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently?

A: In general, I think your journey will unravel the way it is meant to, whether planned or not. However, a few extra months in Australia would have been welcomed (student debt aside).

Q: Where are you the happiest?

A: With family, friends and in nature. A blank Microsoft Word document also sparks joy (I think I’m in the right profession).


Published By College Relations on February 15, 2022

Sustainable Building Technology Diploma (formerly Sustainable Construction Management Technology Diploma)

Be an agent of change as the built environment shifts to a net-zero energy, water and carbon future. Understand building science, technology, systems thinking and project management to deliver healthy, high-performance buildings.

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