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Envionmental science student combines passion with purpose

November 05, 2019
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By Pam Lim

Jijie Xu envisioned a career where he could crunch numbers and discover environmental solutions. At our new School of Environmental Science, he has tailored his degree to combine his passion with a purpose.

“I thought environmental science was about humans’ impact on the environment,” says Jijie. “Turns out, it’s much more. It’s blending statistics, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics to find environmental solutions.”

A fourth-year student, Jijie studies environmetrics, a discipline that uses statistics and quantitative knowledge to address environmental issues. He applied what he’s learning during two co-operative education work terms at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital. He used data and statistical models to test how air quality factors, like smoke from forest fires or cannabis, can impact lung function.

While the link between environmental science and medical research may not be obvious, our students understand how interdisciplinary statistics can reveal new knowledge and generate new ideas and solutions.

“I experienced and learned more than I could possibly have imagined,” says Jijie. “Data management is more than crunching numbers. It combines different fields, like computer science and applied biology, to solve real-world problems.”

Environmental science: more than you think.