From the time she was a teenager, Ivana Vouk was interested in the environment, the human impacts on it, and how we can lessen our ecological footprint. After graduating with an Engineering Physics degree from McMaster University, Ivana searched for projects she felt passionate about. She eventually began working with water resource engineers at Environment Canada who had developed some of the country's first flood and river ice models. She knew she had found her career path.
Ivana began working with the NRC while completing a Masters in Civil Engineering, specializing in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Ottawa. She is now a Research Council Officer with the water resources team at the NRC's Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre in Ottawa.
Ivana has led the development of 2D and 3D hydrodynamic models to study wide-ranging issues from testing potential flood mitigation strategies to predicting the fate and transport of pollutants in water. She has also managed a collaborative project with the U.S. government to better understand the source and movement of nutrients through the Great Lakes watersheds in an effort to help abate and potentially eliminate algal blooms in Lake Erie.
"At the NRC, I have the freedom to explore the issues that matter to me. It's very satisfying to develop tools that help resolve universal environmental issues like better understanding the human impact on marine environments, and mitigating the effects of natural disasters on coastal communities."
Some of the predictive tools Ivana has developed are already improving Canada's environment by helping industry clients understand their environmental impacts in harsh conditions; illustrating the impacts of flooding and ice-cover during spring break-up along large rivers; and providing better estimates for the extent of accidental effluent spills, allowing for more effective clean up options.
"My work at the NRC is particularly meaningful to me, as I am constantly looking for ways to link the work we do here to my passion for environmental issues. It's about finding ways to apply our research for the betterment of society and our natural environment."