When Julia was at CDS, she recounted, she was constantly changing her mind about what she wanted to do as a career, ranging from author or artist one day to chemist or astrophysicist the next. However, when she joined the Senior School Robotics team in Grade 10, she quickly realized that she wanted to continue learning robotics at university. Even though she didn’t know exactly how robots worked yet, she was constantly hungry to learn more and took her learning into her own hands. Eventually, she landed on the Mechatronics engineering program at the University of Waterloo.
As part of that program and the built-in co-op opportunities that Waterloo is well known for, she is currently working at Apple as the “engineering program manager in hardware technology development”. Julia shared that when she saw the job posting for the position at Apple, she truly didn’t believe that she was qualified for it, as she did not have experience in management or working with computer electronics. However, she knew that she had leadership experience through the clubs and activities she’d been involved in at CDS, such as student council and the robotics club.
She applied despite her lack of qualification and was thrilled to get the job, where she now coordinates between hundreds of engineers, managers, and manufacturers in different countries to ensure that prototypes get built on time and on budget. (She is currently working on a top secret project that she wasn’t allowed to tell us about!) Her current internship ends in August, but she hopes to apply for a full time position at the company when she finishes her degree next April.
Julia shared some great advice for our Middle School students, especially with the summer break and its freedom quickly approaching. Whatever they might be interested in learning about, they are just “one Google search away from building something amazing.” She encouraged them to take advantage of the wealth of resources available online to build new skills and explore new interests. She went on to say, “Take opportunities even though you don’t think you’re qualified. If you’re a person in the audience who is thinking, ‘I’m super curious about computers or robots or science, but I don’t know if I’ll fit in, but I don’t know if I’m smart enough or good enough,’ please just take those courses or join those clubs. Even if you’re just mildly curious, you might find your new passion or new direction in life.”
A huge thanks, once more, to Julia Garbe for joining our assembly last week and for sharing her fascinating experiences and valuable insights.