Siang Lim, BASc '17, Chemical Engineering

Siang Lim
Experience as much of university life as you can while maintaining the grades you will need to pursue your goals.

Siang Lim graduated from UBC with a degree in chemical engineering and a minor in computer science. As an undergraduate he worked for BC’s largest natural gas distributor on energy efficiency and conservation programs, optimized CO2 electro-reduction technologies for a cleantech start-up, and studied cell intercalation in developing organisms with computational models. As Co-Lead TA for APSC 160, he helped instructors to organize their courses and first year engineering students to learn how to code. As Vice-Captain of the Chem-E-Car engineering design team, their team expanded from six students to over 40 members and launched several innovative chemical engineering projects. He is currently a 2017 NSERC USRA fellow in CHBE and is working on applying machine learning algorithms to design smarter controllers for industrial processes.

What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?

My relationships and friendships formed with students, team members, faculty and UBC staff have made a lasting impact on me. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting and working with many motivated and talented people on various engineering projects. Some of my most memorable experiences include representing UBC in San Francisco, CA and at Oregon State University with the Chem-E-Car team and winning the Dean’s Award with my capstone group, Acid Reign, for our design project on sulphuric acid production.

What have you learned that is most valuable?

Coding skills have been extremely useful in all my internships and projects. The ability to not only understand engineering work and its underlying principles but to also write simple scripts to automate and optimize workflow is invaluable and can save organizations time and money.

What has been your most memorable or valuable non-academic experience studying engineering at UBC?

I have gained practical, hands-on experience in many aspects of chemical engineering through my involvement with the Chem-E-Car engineering design team. I have designed battery systems, developed web applications, and coordinated fundraising efforts. As a team lead, I helped manage strategic directions of the organisation and guided the day-to-day operations of the team. Team activities including project work, technical presentations and representing UBC in conferences and competitions have improved my technical and soft skills. I am fortunate to have worked with many passionate and talented Chem-E-Car members. We expanded the team from six students to a strong organization of over 40 dedicated members within two academic years. My most rewarding and valuable experience is launching new team projects, working on them from inception to completion and witnessing the personal and professional growth of our team members.

How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?

Having completed upper-level coursework in both chemical engineering and computer science, I’ve gained a unique range of skillsets that aligns closely with my interests. I’ve been able to apply these skills in industry and research work as well as student team projects. For my current NSERC USRA research project, I’m working on applications for machine learning in process fault detection and designing smarter controllers for industrial processes, an exciting area of research where computer science and chemical engineering intersect. A working knowledge of Algorithm Design and Analysis and Machine Learning and Data Mining from CPSC courses along with practical coding experience has made me a more valuable contributor to our research team.

What advice would you give a student considering engineering?

Join design teams and work as an intern in both academic and industry environments. Experience as much of university life as you can while maintaining the grades you will need to pursue your goals. Many exciting opportunities in UBC Engineering outside of the classroom can complement your education. Aside from gaining work experience through engineering internships, you can also work on cutting-edge research projects with faculty and participate in competitions with engineering design teams as well as mentor other students. APSC 160 is always looking for responsible, motivated and committed undergraduate TAs if you’re interested in contributing to the learning experience of first year engineering students.

What are your plans for the future?

After completing my research projects this summer, I look forward to representing UBC and Canada in the 10th World Congress of Chemical Engineering in Barcelona, Spain in October 2017 with the Chem-E-Car team. Following that, I intend to continue working in software and chemical engineering to solve challenging problems in both industry and research.