Spencer Sumanik

How did he get into all this fascinating stuff? He and a childhood friend got their bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering at UBC Okanagan. After that, both of them moved to Ottawa to continue their studies, each in their own preferred field. They rented a room in Ottawa with another Yukoner. Spencer chose Carleton, as it felt more intimate, like a big small town, like Whitehorse is a big small town.

“There are actually quite a lot of Yukoners in Ottawa,” Spencer says. Studying takes up very much of my time, so it is hard to make new friends, and being from the Yukon, we already know each other. We support each other.” Just recently they were in a bar, the table happened to be full of Yukon friends and they happened to run into Sandy Silver (Premier of Yukon)

In his summers off, Spencer has worked for Highways and Public works. “They are very accommodating about hiring Yukon born and raised students,” Spencer said. Last summer, Spencer was a project manager. Also in the summers, Spencer rides his horses. Over the years, he has continued taking lessons in horse jumping and competed in horse shows in Alaska and Alberta. He has competed at the same level as the very best: Olympic riders. He very much enjoyed being with these top athletes. “They are just very nice, normal people, doing what they love,” he says.

I ask about swimming, “When, as an elementary school kid, you came to my house you were the first kid ever to swim right across Moose Skull Lake,” I remind him. Spencer excelled in swimming, After graduating in 2009, he took a year off to focus on the Canada Games in Charlottetown, where he competed in swimming with another Porter Creek Secondary graduate. For the rest of the year, he was making money to pay for future studies. He also travelled to Europe and, amidst his travels, he worked in a horse barn in Ireland for two months.

Future plans? “ I plan to graduate this May. I will start writing a lot of job applications, applying for jobs, probably in the United States: Houston, Alabama, California or Fairbanks. NASA has a lot of entry-level jobs. And I will talk to my professor about continuing to study for a possible PhD,” Spencer says.

What an actuating life!