- Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
- Campus: Vancouver
Minor: Ocean Sciences
Year: 3rd year
Why did you want to study engineering?
When I was in high school, there was a bus ad promoting engineering that had the slogan “my life’s work makes life work better.” I saw engineering as an opportunity to make a difference and use my math and physics skills. My grade 12 physics teacher was also very influential in helping me see that engineering was the place I belonged.
Why did you decide on UBC Engineering? What made it stand out compared to other schools?
I was deciding between Waterloo for mechanical engineering or UBC for the general first-year program. I’m so glad I picked UBC, because mechanical engineering would have been the wrong choice for me. The foundational first-year program helped me figure out what I wanted to do.
How has your experience as an engineering student been different from or similar to what you thought it would be like?
Engineering is so much more about communication than I realized beforehand. In both classes and co-op positions, it doesn’t matter how good your ideas are if you can’t communicate them. Also, although I had thought that once I was in my specialization that we’d all move through it together from year to year, I realize now that everyone’s path and timing is a little different, especially with co-op work terms.
What new skills do you think you’ve developed as an engineering student?
The coding courses for electrical engineers have taught me an entire new way of thinking. And I have learned a lot about creative problem solving from the project-based assignments in my courses. There are always many potential paths to get to a goal. It takes a lot of creativity to think about possible solutions and then a lot of quantitative and qualitative analysis to pare it down to the one solution that you’re going to go with.
Have you been involved in any design teams?
I was part of SUBC, a student design team that builds 1-person human-powered submarines. I loved the hands-on work and the challenge of solving a problem where you can’t just google the answer. It really gives you an opportunity to be creative. As the vision systems and electrical team lead, I led the circuit design and worked on the program battery modulation and emergency shutoff. Our submarine ended up placing 3rd overall in a European competition: we did really well! I was exposed to many electrical engineering concepts way before I learned them in class and also learned about various industry standards I wouldn’t have otherwise yet been exposed to.
What’s the UBC Engineering community like?
Building and being part of a community has always been really important to me, which is one reason I’ve really enjoyed my work as Vice-President of Student Life with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Society (ECESS).
I have really appreciated the support of my professors. There’s a reputation that the grading scheme at UBC is harsh, and it is a hard program. However, whenever I needed support I’ve always been able to find it, which means a lot when you come from a smaller place.
One thing every engineering student agrees on is they couldn’t have made it through their degree without the help of others going through it at the same time. The difficulty of this program teaches you how to work well with other people from a range of backgrounds – and that you don’t need to love someone as a person to work well together as colleagues.
Tell us about your 3 co-op jobs.
In my first 8-month co-op work term I had 2 jobs at OSI Maritime Systems, a defense contractor building bridge systems, which are the navigation and radar systems for warships and submarines. I worked for 4 months as a service technician and then 4 months providing integrated logistics support to help coordinate repair and maintenance. This past summer I was in Nelson, BC, working at Nelson Hydro, building automated fieldwork applications, including a GIS for the utility. I also surveyed over 6,000 external assets and did diagnosing, repairing, and replacing of solar panel infrastructure.
Did your engineering classes prepare you to succeed in your co-op jobs?
Some of the practical skills – like writing memos and learning to program in various computer languages – have been very helpful, as has my confidence that anything is fixable and solvable if you have the right resources behind you!
Do you have a dream job after you graduate?
I would like to be a marine engineer. I would be very happy to be doing anything that involves boats – that’s my passion. And if I ever get bored of it, I’ll open a marina!