Fred Ouellette (Class of 2007)
Immediately after graduating from Hudson, Fred Ouellette headed straight into the kitchen. The Class of 2007 alum enrolled at George Brown College to study the culinary arts, because, he says, he was really into cooking and it seemed cool and fun.
“At the time, I wanted to have a more hands-on job, and I wasn’t too excited about working in an office,” he says.
All of the ingredients for a future career in French cuisine were there, until one day, Fred realized he had a taste for something more.
“The industry can be really tough, and the schedule can get pretty brutal…I thought to myself, ‘You know what? It’s not too late. Maybe I’ll try going back to school.’”
So in 2014, he began his journey down a drastically different path, but one that wasn’t too unfamiliar to him: engineering. While at Hudson, he’d already toyed with the idea of engineering as a possible career option, especially because his teachers excited him about math and science in general.
“At Hudson, I really started to enjoy math much more while I was there…especially geometry and calculus.” He recalls that his Geometry & Vector Calculus teacher inspired him to engage more deeply with the subject matter. He also cites his physics teacher as someone who offered a great deal of one-on-one time with students and “got us to think about physics in a totally different way.” He adds that Hudson’s teachers were also an invaluable resource to ask potential career questions.
“Teachers have a great power to reach kids especially when you [as a student] don’t quite know what you want to do,” he says. He mentions Hudson’s abundant resources to help students delve deeper into their interests, ask more questions, obtain volunteer opportunities, and perhaps even get some experience in the field.
In addition to his warm memories of excellent teachers, Fred has a very special, personal connection to Hudson, as it is where he met his current wife, a then-exchange student from Japan. When asked if Fred and his wife will carry on the Hudson tradition and send their two children someday, he says he’d very much like to.
In 2018, Fred graduated from Ryerson University with Honors, receiving a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Structural Engineering. While there, he served as a research assistant, specifically working to help develop sustainable bridge barriers that use glass, fiber-reinforcing polymer bars (and there is no doubt Fred can easily explain this in impressive detail.) Currently, he works for Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, a top civil engineering firm based in Toronto, where he is a Structural Designer.
Fred’s successful jump from culinary arts to designing structures is an example of how Hudson is a place where important foundations are laid—one calculus problem at a time.