Jason Speidel, MASc '18, Biomedical Engineering
“In every role that I have had at UBC, I have been surrounded by exceptional people and take a bit of inspiration from every one of them.”
Jason completed his BASc in Mechanical Engineering at UBC before starting his MASc in Biomedical Engineering, which focused on the biomechanics of spinal cord injury. Throughout his time at UBC, Jason has been involved in student development, working as a residence advisor, coordinating the Student Leadership Conference and serving on the Graduate Student Society Council and the UBC Senate. As a senator, Jason chaired the Ad-hoc Committee on Student Mental Health and Wellbeing, where he worked to promote mental health and wellbeing throughout the university.
What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?
Working at ICORD (a health research centre at Vancouver General Hospital that focuses on spinal cord injury) has been an exceptional learning opportunity. Working with and learning from neuroscientists, surgeons and engineers has been a great way to learn about an interdisciplinary field and gain understanding of an issue from multiple perspectives. It was an incredibly positive experience with constant opportunities for collaboration, making projects that much more valuable. It has also expanded my knowledge beyond the world of engineering into medicine and thinking about research differently.
Tell me about your experience in engineering. What have you learned that is most valuable?
The most valuable things I have learned are critical thinking, collaboration and integrity. These skills combined with a good work ethic have allowed me to find success both in my degree and beyond. I have been lucky to have mentors which exhibit all of these traits and have been willing to pass them on.
What has been your most memorable/valuable non-academic experience studying engineering at UBC?
Outside of my studies, I have benefited greatly from my campus involvement. Working as a residence advisor gave me the chance to meet hundreds of amazing people from around the world and to learn from them. It was through this work that I first realized I wanted to work in a human focused field, leading me to biomedical engineering. Working on campus while completing an engineering degree forced me to learn effective time management quickly, a skill I am grateful to have! In addition, my time as a senator gave me a great insight into the inner workings of the academic governance of the university, and the incredible amount of work that goes into it. Having a chance to contribute to this in a small way and having the chance to advocate for students has been one of my favourite experiences at UBC.
What advice would you give a student considering a graduate degree in engineering?
Find a project you are passionate about! Grad school is a lot more fun when you love your work and believe in its value; make sure that you have talked in depth with your potential supervisor and understand what it is you will be working on and who you will be working with. Once you start grad school, explore opportunities outside of your research — there are countless ways to get involved at UBC, and they will add greatly to the value of your time here.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am constantly inspired by the people that I see as role models or have worked with. In every role that I have had at UBC, I have been surrounded by exceptional people and take a bit of inspiration from every one of them. This is one of the reasons I recommend getting involved in projects that let you meet new people, it gives more opportunities to be inspired and find something new to get excited about. There are thousands of fantastic students, staff, administrators and faculty at UBC!