ChemE Future Leaders: Fletcher Han (ChemE 2T0 + PEY)

Fletcher Han (ChemE 2T0 + PEY) is a “third-culture kid”, which is a person who has grown up in a culture other than their parents’ and the country on their passport.

“Although I am originally from a small town in New Zealand, I’ve traveled and lived on opposite ends of the world. Of all places, I consider the Netherlands my home,” says Fletcher. “And as a result, I’ve been fortunate to have numerous enlightening experiences and opportunities.”

One thing that stands out at U of T is just how many opportunities exist – something Fletcher took full advantage of: he was appointed Chair of the Association of Leadership in Chemical Engineering; he was a member of Engineers Without Borders Community Group and competed on the Engineering Basketball Team. Fletcher is also an executive member of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineers (CSChE). Last year he was elected Mentorship Director, and he continues to contribute to CSChE as Events Director even during his PEY placement.

After his first year at U of T, Fletcher traveled to Egypt where he provided medical aid at a local hospital, an experience which included diagnosing and suturing patients and assisting in the delivery of newborn babies.

The following summer, he was hired as an undergraduate researcher in U of T’s Pulp & Paper Centre. With little knowledge about the industry, Fletcher had to quickly learn everything he could by reading papers and networking with world-renowned professors. By the end, he had conducted over 300 experiments, presenting his findings on increasing electrostatic precipitator performance by 10% to industry professionals.

Today, Fletcher is a Trade Floor Technology Consult at Scotiabank through U of T’s PEY program. There, he provides immediate support to over 500 traders across Canada and around the world, as well as designing in-house web tools to facilitate trade floor operations.

What are you great at?

I am a hardworking, motivated and proactive learner. If I don’t know something, I learn it, and if can’t do something, I practice it. I’ve learned how to run successful events, suture open wounds in high pressure situations, and gather meaningful research data. More recently, I have taught myself five programming languages. Chemical engineering students often struggle with programming, which is why I knew I had to develop this skill. With this newfound ability, I now develop and implement various financial web tools for traders in 15 different countries.

What is something you’re working on getting better at?

I wanted to be honest here and avoid clichés like my weakness is “perfectionism” or “working too hard”. What I struggle with most is self-reflection. In order to improve, I have attended numerous leadership workshops. I have learned that after each achievement or failure, I should list out the key turning points and follow up with my peers for feedback. With this information, I ask myself, “how can I be better next time?” Although these are small steps, my efforts have proven meaningful. I have been appointed group lead on various design teams and have been elected as an executive member in three different student councils. Moreover, I have received three scholarships highlighting my efforts in becoming a better leader. I am not perfect, but I am doing everything I can to be the best version of myself.

What industry would you like to work in and why?

Although my current placement is the financial industry, I hope to explore a career in energy. Today, finding an alternative to fossil fuels is of utmost importance. On several service trips to Thailand, I had the humbling experience of being invited into the homes of Burmese refugees. It was difficult to comprehend the way they lived: the poverty; the lack of available utilities; the children’s working hours just to make ends meet. However, what would significantly change their lives is the access to running water, heating and light in their homes. Developing an environmentally-friendly, cost effective and portable fuel cell could change the lives of millions, which is exactly why I strive to contribute to this industry.

Why should a company hire you?

I am highly self-motivated and love working both independently and collaboratively. I take pride in meeting deadlines and in the quality of my work. I’ve achieved success balancing academics, work, athletics and other extracurricular activities. My experiences growing up have kept me humble, and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to live around the world, helping people in communities who are less fortunate than I. I may not necessarily be the best candidate for every job, but I know I can do anything I put my mind to.

Interested in hiring a Professional Experience Year Co-op student? Click the link to learn more about U of T’s PEY Co-op program.

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