Chemical engineer Catherine Loureiro-Costa helps other young women in her field discover a world of possibilities.
Catherine Loureiro-Costa always had a knack for the sciences.“In high school, I liked math, chemistry and physics,” says the Montreal native and McGill University graduate.
Chemical engineering, which combines these three disciplines, was the perfect fit. Though Loureiro-Costa’s father, a veteran of the petrochemical industry, provided some advice, job fairs and networking events helped her realize the different opportunities available outside of oil and gas.
Now a chemical engineer in the processing department at the L’Oréal Canada plant in Montreal, where she works to optimize processes and efficiency on the hair dye product line, Loureiro-Costa does her part to get the word out by representing her company at similar events. She’s even been a guest speaker on career panels at her alma mater and works with McGill’s club Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering.
“In chemical engineering, there were a lot of women so I never felt like the odd one out,” says Loureiro-Costa, who always encourages young female students to stick with their studies.
“I tell them that it’s not as hard in the field as some might think. When I was in school, it was really helpful to talk to working engineers. So I figure, why not do the same for other women,” the 26-year-old explains.
Loureiro-Costa has held four different titles at L’Oréal Canada since she was hired in 2009, from a quality assurance junior engineer to an evening shift supervisor.
“L’Oréal builds managers,” says Loureiro-Costa, who in the future would like to continue pursuing management positions related to the sciences.
“The company is very dynamic, just like I am. When you get too comfortable, they’ll shift you in to a new role. Every day presents new challenges,” she adds.
There’s also camaraderie among her co-workers and healthy competition.
“What’s really great is that at 26, I’m surrounded by a lot of other young engineers. We like to challenge one another and we have a lot of fun; it’s not only about the work,” she says.