Meet Cristina Lugo, Ph.D., P.Eng
Behind CIMA+ are talented professionals who lead us towards engineering a greener future. Cristina Lugo has shown excellence and passion for engineering. Recognizing her leadership in the advancement of consulting engineering, Cristina has been nominated for the Allen D. Williams Scholarship Award. As an inspiration to her team, we wanted to take the time to get to know what inspires her.
What inspired you to become an engineer?
My first inspiration was my passion for math, chemistry, and physics. However, later on in my career I realized that I wanted to dedicate my life and work to contributing protecting and preserving the environment.
What is your field of expertise? Why did you choose it?
My field of expertise is water infrastructure and water treatment. I realized that water is one of the most important resources in the world that we need to protect. Also, my goal in the future is to apply my expertise to help developing communities gain access to safe drinking water.
What project are you most proud of and how did this project help the community?
My favourite project was the design of a booster pumping station in Cambridge, Ontario. The new booster station will provide security of water supply and will improve the quality of service to the population living in this area. It was a very challenging project but very rewarding at the same time. I felt a huge responsibility in my hands and I had that in mind in every step of the project.
What does sustainable engineering mean to you?
Sustainable engineering to me means to design with the goal of preserving our environment. As population increases with the need for more and more resources, we need to ensure that the infrastructure is designed to preserve the balance of our ecosystem. This means the reduction of green house gas emissions, the conscious use of environmental resources, or the elimination of contamination to air, soil or water.
I am looking forward to seeing a “net zero” water and wastewater treatment plant in the future, where the energy recovered from the wastewater is used to treat our drinking water.
What do you enjoy outside of engineering?
I enjoy spending time with my partner, friends, and family. My favourite activities involve being outdoors such as hiking, biking, camping, and canoeing. I often like finding long scenic trails for biking, packing some snacks and beverages, and going on an adventure. On my last trip, I biked 90 Km from Millbank to Goderich, ending at a cottage by the beach.
I have a large collection of rocks and fossils that I have acquired from different parts of the world. I once tried to bring a 30 lb rock on an airplane (yes, I know it’s ridiculous), this was obviously denied.
As a female in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), what has been your greatest reward?
My greatest reward has always been able to work with passion and love. The love for my career allows me to empower other women and show that as a Latina, woman of colour and part of the LGBTQ+ community, I can contribute with my work to our society in something extremely important that we all need – water.
What is your advice for women who want to pursue a career in STEM?
Your dream job is never too far. Always follow your passion and go for it.