Joren Jackson, BASc '18, Integrated Engineering
“Engineering teaches basic problem solving, how to learn skills effectively, and how to break problems down, and those are all skills that can be applied to nearly all aspects of life and even most career paths.”
My name is Joren Jackson, and I am graduating from the Integrated Engineering Program with a focus on mechanical and materials engineering. I founded UBC Rocket two summers ago, and since then I’ve been heavily involved in leading the team and developing our first rockets. My time at UBC has been defined by working with teams on hands on projects, both within the Integrated Engineering Program and with my student team. I have always been interested by aerospace technology and space exploration, and I’m looking forward to making my mark on this generation’s contributions to space exploration as an engineer. I’m also a glider pilot instructor and have taken advantage of Vancouver’s geography to sail and ski throughout my time here.
What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?
Being part of extracurricular teams. As a member of UBC Rocket it’s been an incredible experience to be a part of an exciting, challenging project and work with a bunch of like-minded people. I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling of relief and pride I experienced when seeing our rocket shoot into the sky after three days of sleepless troubleshooting, three months of testing, and eight months of continuous hard work — despite the long hours and stress it was absolutely worth it just to see it all come together in the end. This year has been even more special as I’ve been able to see the team grow, and lead a group working on an all new rocket. Seeing a team of mostly first and second years really step up to the plate and design and build an ultimately incredible example of a high-power rocket has been incredibly impressive and memorable. An added bonus has been the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, there really is a special kind of friendship that develops when working on a long-term engineering project.
How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?
I’m currently finishing work on UBC Rocket’s first supersonic rocket, which has required me to apply nearly all of my engineering skills, as well as learn new ones. I’ve been especially involved in working with the composite structure, where I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in my materials and mechanical engineering courses. After I graduate, I’ll be working on more multidisciplinary projects where the diverse set of engineering knowledge I’ve gained through my integrated engineering degree will come in handy.
How do you feel a degree in engineering has benefitted you compared to a different field of study?
My engineering degree has opened a lot of doors for me in the aerospace field, which is highly technical — the hard skills and project experience of an engineering program are really a minimum requirement for most aerospace jobs. Engineering also teaches basic problem solving, how to learn skills effectively and how to break down problems, and those are skills that can be applied to nearly all aspects of life and even most career paths. Especially with the integrated program and its emphasis on projects and entrepreneurship, an engineering degree can absolutely act as a gateway to non-engineering careers.
What advice would you give a student considering engineering?
Join a student team! I waited until my fourth year before being a part of a team, and I wish I’d started earlier. Each team on campus has some amazing projects and members, and I don’t know of a better way to gain hands on experience, apply classroom skills to real-world problems, and make great friends. As daunting as it may seem, I highly recommend that every engineering student check out and apply to a few design teams in their first or second year.
What are your plans for the future?
After graduating, I will be working as a test and integration engineer for SpaceX in California. I’m extremely excited for this opportunity to apply the skills I’ve learned and developed at UBC towards increasing humanity’s off-earth presence. Long-term I’d love to help increase the presence of aerospace engineering in Western Canada, both in industry and academia. I think there’s a huge interest amongst new engineers in the advances being made in the aerospace field, and that there can be a lot more opportunity to channel that interest in the region.