Overcoming hardship and taking the future into your hands

”Those who master knowledge are those who master the world.“

Andrew, smiling while working in the computer labs
Andrew, in the electrical engineering labs at UBC Okanagan

Andrew Dao

  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Program: Electrical Engineering
  • Campus: Okanagan

Year: 3rd Year

Chat with Andrew


My name is Andrew Dao, and I’m a third-year electrical engineering student at UBCO. Life for me as an international student hasn’t always been easy. My family lacks the financial means to pay my tuition, and I work a part-time job to fund my finances. Despite that, I was able to join the Engineering Society at UBC - an organization to help me build not just friendships but professional relationships. I believe my determination will be a great asset on my journey to success.

How did you decide your current UBC Engineering discipline, or why did you choose UBC Engineering?

I’ve always been a big fan of YouTube engineering channels. Watching Mark Rober, Stuff Made Here, The Action Lab, Hacksmith Industry, etc., design machines has always been something I've done during my free time. I’m especially intrigued and fascinated with some of the builds that involve some level of system control, such as Mark Rober’s Moving Dartboard or Stuff Made Here’s Automatic Pool Stick, so I’ve decided that automated control systems will be my career.

What has made your time at UBC Engineering memorable?

It is the friendly, kind and inclusive environment that made my UBC Engineering experience memorable. I am a timid and introverted person, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make friends at the university. But UBC Engineering has allowed me to open myself to share my interests with others and be who I want to be.

Tell us about your experience in your program. What have you learned that is most valuable?

The most valuable skills I’ve learned are organization skills. During my two years at UBC Engineering, I’ve experienced and learned many programming languages and software, including C++, JavaScript, Python, Matlab, Verilog, and more. While it might not sound like it, the most challenging part of programming isn’t writing one that works but writing that others can read and understand. Most projects are done in groups, so it is essential that others can understand your code. Organizing and presenting my code has helped me learn to manage other things like my notes or study schedules.

What resources or events organized by UBC Engineering have helped you in your academic, professional or entrepreneurial journey thus far?

It is the professor of UBC Engineering, especially Dr. Shirazi. I’ve taken one class in which he was the instructor, but that is the most memorable class in my life. He is friendly, helpful, and empathetic. He provided me with a lot of insight into how the things I was studying will become my greatest assets in my future.

What is one piece of advice you would share to a student entering UBC Engineering?

Don’t let failures deter you. There are always challenges. Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but the most important thing is to learn from those experiences and prepare yourself for the next time. Nothing in life is easy, but you will get there if you have a goal and a determined mind.

Many of today’s jobs did not exist 10 years ago, and we do not know for certain what the workforce will look like 10 years from now. How do you see the remainder of your studies in the Faculty of Applied Science preparing you for the future of work?

Undeniably, jobs aren’t permanent and will disappear as fast as they come into existence. However, some things will stay -  the knowledge, expertise, and mastery of an engineer over their field. Future jobs might not ask you to design a robot that current engineers are doing, but robots are always needed. UBC Engineering has helped me gain the knowledge and skills required to prepare for any jobs that are out there.

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