Ashraf Ahsan – MASc ’19 (Electrical Engineering)
Why did you choose to study at UBC Okanagan?
UBC consistently ranks as one of the world’s top research universities and UBC Okanagan provided a unique opportunity due to its rapidly growing graduate program with world-class engineering research groups. I always wanted to pursue higher studies and the stunning natural beauty of BC’s Okanagan Valley made it an easy choice.
What has the experience been like thus far?
UBC Okanagan gives me a sense of belonging and the wonderful community here has helped me transition into this new environment coming from Bangladesh. It’s been less than a year and I already feel like I have made the right decision coming here. I believe there are countless opportunities at UBC for those who are ready for it. This is truly a place of mind!
Describe your research
Material science is a relatively new and very broad field. It involves applications from several scientific disciplines that contribute to the creation of new materials. In my research, I am using Raman spectroscopy to study the influence on the crystallinity and scattering of carbon thin films that have been synthesized using different deposition techniques by varying the Raman laser’s wavelengths or frequencies. The results are expected to indicate the possibility of using the technique to produce carbon thin films to be employed in future applications with a controlled content of structural defects, a predominance of ordered sp2 bondings and tendency of graphitization.
What do you enjoy about working with your supervisor and your research group?
I enjoy the company of my research group as they are very welcoming and motivating. Our supervisor (Stephen O’Leary) is very experienced in his field and the resources provided by UBC to pursue our topic of interest is very helpful. It is a comfortable environment for sharing and pursuing ideas.
Can you talk about the importance of the EGSS to your experience at UBC Okanagan?
EGSS has been an integral part of my experience at UBCO since the very beginning. I have made many good friends through the social event organized by this group. Now I have joined the executive committee of EGSS as the VP External to contribute to the club. EGSS plays a big role in communicating the voice of the students to the authorities.
What do you like to do when you are not in the lab?
When I am not working on my research, I like spend time with my friends. We like swimming and playing basketball and football both on and off campus. I have recently come to realize that I really enjoy cooking with my friends.
Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?
I think extra-curricular activities are crucial for mental and physical health. I like doing sports for fun such as football, basketball, table tennis and swimming and participating in outdoor activities such as Kayaking and Hiking. I am involved as an Exam Invigilator for the Disability Resource Centre to enable students achieve their full potentials and they have helped me learn a lot about equal opportunities. I am also involved with providing technical support to seniors in Kelowna.
As an international student, describe your transition to living in Canada? What has it been like? What sort of support system to you have at the School of Engineering?
I am an international graduate student and my transition to living in Canada has been surprisingly relaxed, even though I came from a different part of the world. Part of this is due to the friends I have made here, and resources provided to me by UBCO such as the Graduate Students Community Facilitators. This has motivated me to get involved with the student experience office as a Graduate Student Community Facilitator assisting new students in their transitions in our campus. The School of Engineering has a variety of resources that a new graduate student might need. The supervisors and administrative staffs are all very helpful. Every graduate student in the School of Engineering is a member of the EGSS. Also, UBCSUO plays a big role in acting as a support system for the students.
Looking ahead 5 or 10 years, where do you see yourself?
In 5 to 10 years, I see myself working towards process development which will benefit the world through engineering knowledge. I am a people’s person and would like to see myself managing a team to attain efficiency and improvements in every step of the way.
Best advice you have received so far at UBC? Advice you’d give to a student consider UBC Okanagan for their graduate studies?
The best advice I have received at UBC is to keep an open mind and learn from your cohort. They have unique life experiences and come from diverse cultural backgrounds. UBCO is a great place to focus on your research and studies. My advice to new students would be to get involved on campus more to see the opportunities this campus has to offer. There are plenty of scopes to network and get involved for those who are willing to make a difference!