What drew you to engineering? And to UBC Okanagan?
I have always loved to innovate and invent. I feel like the opportunity to learn how to turn these ideas into reality, and earn a living at the same time drew me to engineering. I also always wanted to come to BC to study. When I found out about UBC Okanagan, it seemed like the perfect fit for me. Coming from a small high school, and hometown, I valued the close atmosphere found here, and the Okanagan campus is the perfect blend of size and opportunity.
What has been the impact thus far of being a Schulich Leadership Scholar?
The experience has been incredible. I am so grateful for the financial freedom that the award has afforded me. On top of that, it has opened many doors on campus! For example, I was able to participate in research during my first year, attended Schulich conferences, and got to meet incredible people through connections made through the Schulich Foundation. One of the most recent highlights has been welcoming three new Schulich leaders to UBC Okanagan!
Coming from a smaller community – what were your initial impressions of Kelowna and the Okanagan campus?
I was excited to have a completely new place to explore and learn about. Kelowna is the perfect city for me, as it is small enough to not feel intimidating but large enough to offer lots of cool experiences. I felt the same about the Okanagan campus. I love the small cohorts, the close relationships, and the opportunities that abound for each student because of the smaller size. During my first week, I visited the beach, met new friends, played sports, and explored the city.
Describe your first year. What was it like? High points? Challenges?
Everything was new, exciting, and interesting. I got to meet new friends from all around the world, partake in awesome experiences, and learn things that caused me to be excited about upcoming lectures and labs. I loved skiing at Big White, playing intramural sports, designing and creating unique projects, and going on adventures with my friends. I did find some courses challenging, and had to learn new ways to be successful. I lived in residence and got to meet great people. One of the biggest challenges was trying to decide what to do next! One of my favourite memories was going night-time tobogganing with a bunch of friends on some campus hills.
Favorite courses and instructors in the first year?
I really enjoyed APSC 171, the first-year design and CAD course with Dr. Taheri. I liked the hands-on projects, creating things, and working in a team of like-minded people. I also found it exciting to learn new methods of bringing my ideas to fruition. I also enjoyed taking Engineering Analysis 2 with Dr. Shirazi. His teaching style and compassion for students created a wonderful learning environment.
What was the transition from high school to university like for you?
I loved my small school and small town, but I was ready for the adventure. The transition was quite smooth. I had great roommates in the Cascades (residence building), and one was even an amazing cook! My family visited once, and I returned to Ontario for Christmas. I had fun and worked hard. I enjoyed the freedom, but also missed my home, cats, and siblings!
What extracurricular activities did you get up to? Did you get involved with research at all? Did you windsurf here?
By second term, I found myself quite involved in extracurricular activities. I took part in intramural soccer and basketball, I had begun volunteering as an English tutor with Project Literacy, and I was helping with research in Dr. Golovin’s lab. I also became a second-year representative with the Engineering Society. I encourage all students to fully immerse themselves in the many extra-curricular offerings available both on and off-campus. My favourite off-campus activities are using the local hiking trails, going to ski resorts, and swimming at the beach. Unfortunately, I did not get to windsurf in Kelowna as all my gear was in Ontario!
Sounded like you seriously considered all the disciplines for specialization, what were your determining factors?
Choosing a discipline was very difficult for me. I had been favoring Mechanical or Electrical going into first year. I became less decided over my first year after seeing all of the amazing projects, professors, and lab spaces dedicated to each discipline! I finally decided to pursue Manufacturing because of the professors I enjoyed the most. I found the manufacturing engineering information night very helpful, as I heard some of my favourite professors Dr. Richert, Dr. Shirazi, and Dr. Iqbal. I was interested in the artificial intelligence, mechatronics, and computer applications that are relevant to the field. The small cohort and new facilities at UBC Okanagan also helped me to choose Manufacturing.
So far, how have you been enjoying Manufacturing?
I love it. I feel like in second year I am learning “engineering” as opposed to theory. I love the small cohort, and the new and exciting resources available. The labs are interesting, the professors passionate, and students eager to learn. I feel like I made the right choice for me.
Favorite courses and instructors thus far in the second year?
In second year, I have been enjoying my manufacturing course with Dr. Iqbal. I love the more applied style of learning. While the labs are online, I still feel like I am getting real-world experience. I am also enjoying Instrumentation and Data Analysis with Dr. Swart.
What’s been your experience since the start of the pandemic?
I have been enjoying the increased time with my family back in Ontario. I miss being on campus, but I do understand that this format is the safest way to deliver courses during the pandemic. I don’t mind online lectures, as the professors are working very hard to deliver content in the best way possible. I do miss having hands-on labs, but am still learning lots through the online format. The online assessment and testing have been challenging, but I see professors and students both tackling the challenges and improving in a short period of time.
What do the next couple of years look like for you?
I was recently accepted into UBC’s Co-op program, so I hope to have a position lined up for next summer. I will continue to learn, grow, and enjoy my time at university. I am really looking forward to getting back on campus in Kelowna!
What are some of your goals once you complete your undergrad?
I hope to innovate and invent. I hope to work as an engineer, possibly for a small company with big ideas. My ideas will have grown in scope too, and I will have a path to make my ideas a reality. I will teach others and continue to learn about subjects that interest me. I will give my time and resources back to the organizations, and people, who helped me get to where I am. I also hope to find joy in my work and personal life. I don’t have very many concrete plans, but the Schulich Leaders Scholarship has provided an excellent start to my career. The confidence I have gained through this position has helped me immensely. I feel that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to!