ChemE Future Leader: Hazel Fricska

Photo of a smiling Hazel Fricska standing under a sunlit tree canopyU of T has been repeatedly recognized as the best engineering school in Canada, a fact that leads many passionate and talented students like Hazel Fricska (ChemE 2T4 + PEY) to our community. “I felt it was the best institution for me to learn skills to take action and be directly involved in solving the problems I saw around me, as well as work with best-in-class students and faculty.”

Hazel wanted to develop her interest in chemical reactions and problem solving into a career, explaining that she sees the processes and reactions involved in chemical engineering as tools rather than obstacles. She has reinforced her education in chemical engineering by participating in the PEY Co-op program, which offers students an opportunity to gain real-world experience while helping them discover their interests and refine their career goals, and her aspirations for working on issues related to sustainability and innovation align perfectly with ChemE’s industry leadership in those areas.


Tell me a bit about your university experience so far? Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?

University has been great – challenging at times, but also incredibly rewarding. I am really lucky to have met such incredible people here at U of T. Currently, I am Mentorship Director for ChemE Club, a member of U of T Chemical Vehicles, Head Leedur for F!rosh week, and I work part-time as a Senior Tour Guide for U of T. Outside of engineering, I love creative writing, ultimate frisbee, and basketball.

Why did you choose to enroll in PEY Co-op? What were your expectations from PEY Co-op?

I chose to enroll in PEY Co-op because it sounded like an amazing opportunity: a year-long internship that U of T Engineering would help me find and show me how chemical engineering can be applied in the real world. In this sense, my expectations were spot-on, but what I hadn’t expected from this program was the emphasis the PEY Co-op office places on everything else: finding my path, my beliefs about myself and engineering, my skills, my values, my interests.

In what industry are you hoping to be placed and why?

I am hoping to work somewhere that involves hands-on chemical engineering, in a position that allows me to apply the skills I have been learning throughout my first three years of study. I am very interested in sustainability and would like to be part of a solution to global issues around climate and energy. Any industry where I can help make a process more material, energy, and cost efficient would be exciting for me!

What industry would you like to work in after graduation?

Right now, I love the idea of working in the sustainable energy, environmental engineering, or waste management after graduation. That being said, I would be very interested in any company or industry that is working on making their own work more sustainable (and there are increasing numbers of these!).

Where would you like to be in five years after graduation?

Five years from now, I hope to be a professional engineer, working in (or leading) a dynamic, results-driven team and solving key problems facing the world. I want to be incorporating my own ideas of sustainability, innovation, and inclusivity into my work, and overall, I want to be part of making actual change.

What are you great at?

I am great at seeing the big picture, strategic thinking and delivering new ideas from start to finish.  I work hard and I believe I have great interpersonal skills, as I love connecting with the people around me.

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

I’m working on learning to sometimes step back from my work (slowing down to speed up). With deliverables, I can get too focused on the final outcome and don’t always take the time to let ideas simmer, or to re-gather my energy.


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

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