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Can you please tell us about your background?

Prempal Bhatti grew up in India and moved to Canada in 1998. Armed with a Master’s degree in Genetics from Punjab Agricultural University, she was looking to further refine her academic skills so that they were in tune with Canadian job prospects. Sheridan’s hands-on-teaching environment and co-op opportunities offered the ideal way forward.

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?

She hit the ground running after graduating in 2003, joining Xerox-The Document Company as a Chemical Engineering Technologist after completing a Graduate Diploma in Chemical Engineering technology from Sheridan College. It wasn’t long before Prempal returned to Sheridan as a part-time student in the one-year Environmental Control program, seeing the potential in this burgeoning field.

What was your career path after graduation?

Since 2008, Prempal has been working as an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICPMS) Analyst at the environmental testing lab, Maxxam Analytics Inc. in Mississauga. She analyzes soil, water, food, biota and air samples for trace metals, a role which has taken on growing importance over the years.

How does your work benefit the industry?

“With regulations becoming ever more stringent, accuracy is very critical in trace metal analysis, as million dollar site decontamination decisions may hinge on a few analytical results,” she explains.

“Many organizations face the challenge of cleaning up their industrial sites whether for property sale or ensuring their current properties are safe from contaminants,” adds Prempal, who sees continued job opportunities in her field as environmental protection takes on significantly heightened priority.

How was the experience at Sheridan?

Prempal thoroughly enjoyed studying at Sheridan. “The teachers were wonderful, especially Terence Davidson, who went out of his way to help students with their technical projects and report writings,” recalls Prempal, who received both an academic award and a scholarship.

Her class was a mix of students in terms of age and training which Prempal found to be an enriching learning atmosphere.

“I had the opportunity to study with people who were highly educated with vast experience from different parts of the world,” says Prempal, who advises students “to develop a strong social network while at Sheridan, as those connections can help you throughout your career.”