Electrical engineering undergraduate Dan Lang makes the leap from college to university through the Bridge Program
Name: Dan Lang
Program: Electrical Engineering | Year: 4 (set to graduate April 2015)
Diploma: Electronic Engineering Technology (Okanagan College)
Hometown: Kelowna, BC
High school: Kelowna Secondary School (KSS)
Future UBC graduate Dan Lang began his journey as an electrical engineer with a passion for tinkering and fixing things, especially electronics. Living within walking of distance of Okanagan College (OC) in Kelowna inspired him to pursue that passion through higher education, and there he earned a two-year Electronic Engineering Technology diploma.
The kind of person who puts a custom operating system on their cell phone to see how it works, Lang wanted to know more, and to experience more—like how to fix his broken laptop—so he set out on the Bridge Program, pursuing a UBC degree.
Students with a two-year diploma in Civil, Electronic, or Mechanical Engineering Technology from OC may be admitted to the second year of the BASc program upon successful completion of the corresponding Okanagan College Engineering Bridge program. (See BASc Admission Requirements in UBC’s Okanagan Academic Calendar here.)
“Hands-on instruction at OC prepared me well for design projects at UBC,” Lang says.
“Ever since OC, I’ve gone to school each day learning how the world works, the secrets of everyday life: You don’t just look at a light switch; you actually know how it works.”
He praises the OC Bridge program and the Camp OC program, which allows him to work with kids: teaching short classes in Lego renewable energy, Minecraft and Java programming, Mechatronics camp using Arduinos, K’Nex in motion (building giant rollercoasters), and programming with Scratch. He has been involved in Camp OC for the last three summers; this past summer he got to design his own classes.
But Lang aspires to more—such as being the first person in his family to graduate with a university degree.
Transferring from OC to UBC
“Advisors at both schools were fantastic and helped to make the transfer process smooth,” Lang says. “There’s a friendly culture on both campuses—professors know your name and are interested in your success.”
Now that he’s here, Lang says the coolest thing about UBC’s School of Engineering is the opportunity for undergraduates to do research. Within two months of his first UBC class, Lang was involved in research facilitated through connections he made at OC. Based in an interdisciplinary research lab on a greenhouse gas emissions project, he works on surface treatments for grapes and apples.
Lang is now also Secretary in the Okanagan chapter of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity; he’s a member at large in UBC’s Mechatronics Club; and the former Treasurer for the Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth.
Obstacles & Challenges
Arriving halfway through the undergraduate stream was challenging at first, he says. It was initially difficult to meet people but “student culture at UBC is very welcoming and inclusive.” Forming study groups also helped.
The greatest struggle was balancing success at school and helping to support his family through a cancer crisis, from which he learned an invaluable lesson: “If Mom can go through chemotherapy and surgery, I can succeed in engineering school.”
And that’s just what he’s doing—“proud to represent this school one day as a graduate of UBC and a product of UBC Okanagan”—and looking ahead to a career in British Columbia.
“Kelowna is emerging as a technological place,” he says. “With every new piece of equipment, with every new professor, every new experience, comes new knowledge and new opportunities.”