Student-Athlete stories: Smith sets sights on skyscrapers

Christian Smith at Varsity Stadium during the 2021 season holding a rugby ball
Christian Smith at Varsity Stadium during the 2021 season | Photo by Tiffany Luke

Each Thursday, will highlight a U of T student-athlete and their academic pursuits. Each of these students achieved first class honours with an AGPA of at least 3.50 in the previous academic year.  These are our Student-Athlete Stories.

Varsity Blues men’s rugby player Christian Smith credits the University of Toronto’s Track One engineering program for helping him decide his future.

“I was always interested in engineering in high school, but I couldn’t decide on a specific field,” said the veteran from London, UK. “Fortunately, I was able to take a general first year in the Track One program, which allowed me to choose my specialty at the end of the year. I particularly enjoyed the civil engineering courses during this year, which led me to choose civil engineering as my specialty.”

As a part of the engineering program at U of T, Smith did a co-op placement at Mattamy Homes, working on a 58-story tower in Etobicoke.

“This role was on site and was very different to my university experience,” he said. “My main takeaways from the experience were the importance of time management and organization when working on a project with so many moving parts. I was also lucky enough to be a part of a great team, which taught me a lot about the importance of teamwork in industry.

Smith on the rightholding academic achievement award and smiling on the company of two other athletes
(Smith, right, receiving his OUA academic achievement award at the 2022 Intercollegiate Athletic Banquet)


That co-op placement opened Smith’s eyes to a potential future in project management.

“I recognize that this will likely require further education, and I am considering pursuing a Master’s in civil engineering as well as a MBA once I have gained some experience in the field,” he said. “My studies in civil engineering have taught me not only how to schedule and manage large projects, but also how to design many of the individual components. I believe this understanding is essential for effectively solving the complex problems that arise during major construction projects.”

Smith, who earned OUA academic achievement award laurels following the 2021 season, enjoys the teamwork that U of T’s civil engineering program involves.

“I have loved collaborating with so many amazing people throughout my time here and I have learned so much from these partnerships,” he said. “They have pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me more than I ever could have learned in a classroom.”

Smith during a gametime.
(Smith and the Blues taking on the Trent Excalibur during the 2022 season | Seyran Mammadov)


One such project involved designing a bridge in a team of three students.

“Although we struggled greatly to get to a feasible design, I think it was really rewarding to see the project at the end and how much we had accomplished,” he said. “I also completed a group research project this past year on the deterioration of concrete where I learned a huge amount from working with another student.”

Smith praises U of T for its academic accolades and global recognition.

“You can go anywhere and do pretty much anything with a degree from U of T,” he said. “I also think the amazing facilities and resources, both athletic and academic, are unparalleled in Canada and match up to the best worldwide.”

This story originally published University of Toronto Athletics