From Legos to Civil Engineering

"Put yourself out there. Take on responsibilities. Prove yourself."

Bishoy Helmy, with UBC Steel Bridge Design Team gear in front of the UBC Engineering Cairn

Bishoy Helmy

  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Program:
  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Year: 3rd year

Chat with Bishoy

I started at UBC in 2020 when everything was online due to COVID-19 and this made it difficult to get involved. However, that did not stop me. I was able to join multiple organizations and committees to mend my future. For example, I joined the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), where I made a lot of friends and found it to be a second home. Cheers to The Cheeze - the endearing name name students use for the Engineering Student Centre - for that! I also joined the UBC Steel Bridge Design Team which has taken my university experience to the next level. I have already been to competition with my team in the two years that I have been a part of it and I regret none of it. I am also now part of the Civil Club as the Vice-President External!

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

I chose Civil Engineering because I was very fond of construction and Legos as a kid. As funny as it may sound, I was a very big Lego kid and I always accredit my choice of Civil Engineering to Legos. In all seriousness, my choice of discipline arose from my love of PHYS 170 - Introductory First Year Physics & Mechanics and how fascinated I was by bridges and construction.

What has made your time at UBC Engineering memorable?

One thing that sticks out to me when I think memorable is my time with UBC Steel Bridge. I joined the team when everything was online due to COVID and got to experience a team-like environment without feeling that in-person connection. Just recently, we were invited to compete in Montreal, Canada for the Canadian National Steel Bridge Competition where we placed second overall. This was definitely one of the most memorable activities that I have taken part in during my time at UBC.

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

One thing that we learn in Civil Engineering is Surveying. Now, I knew we would learn how to survey at some point in our degree but now that I am on my first co-op work term, I have used surveying way more than I thought I would be using it. A couple of other useful skills that I picked up have been using AutoCAD, CIVIL3D, and S-Frame.

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

All credit goes out to the professors and the amount of support they have granted us as students over my time with UBC. A special mention goes out to Dr. Yang, one of the greatest professors that I have interacted with thus far and such an approachable and knowledgeable person.

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

One piece of advice would be to give it your best shot. Don't do the bare minimum and let your time at university slip through your hands. Get involved and put yourself out there because you might end up in places where you never thought you'd be, simply by being active in your Engineering community.

We are committed to UBC’s vision of “a community in which human rights are respected, and equity and inclusion are embedded in all areas of academic, work and campus life.” What opportunities have you had to respectfully engage with leadership?

I have engaged in leadership through many scenarios and activities during my time at UBC thus far. This includes being an Orientation Leader, being a sub-team lead for my design team, and many other experiences that have shaped my understanding of leadership and community. I am happy to say that this has also helped me pick out a job for my first co-op work term and place me in an environment where I can engage with projects and experiences from a position that I am comfortable being in.

Find me on: Instagram

Two students standing in an outdoor stairwell observing the project site.

Civil Engineering

Civil engineers are in high demand, working for example as project managers or design consultants, across all industrial sectors and government. Focus your creativity and help build tomorrow’s world.

Civil Engineering

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