An Interest In Trades Led To Engineering

"Engineering is such as versatile field and you learn so many different skills."

Sophia Morton

Sophia Morton

  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Campus: Vancouver

When did you decide you wanted to study engineering?

I come from a blue-collar trades family in a small town called Dashwood on Vancouver Island, and growing up I loved helping my dad in the shop. I was interested in the trades, but couldn’t decide on a which one I wanted to pursue. 

So I decided to try for engineering so I could get an overall view of everything in the most hands-on way as possible.

Why did you choose UBC?

UBC is not only close to home, which is great, but I’d heard about its awesome reputation for engineering and for its student culture and life on campus.


Why engineering is the most versatile degree

One of Canada’s best engineering programs

Do you have a sense of the program you’ll be applying for next year?

Right now mechanical engineering is my top choice. Overall, it just seems cool and interesting as well as being very hands-on and technical. I’m also very interested in aerospace, which is a program option you can pursue within mechanical engineering.

Mechanical engineering  Aerospace

Do you have any highlights so far this year that you’d like to share?

It’s been fun branching out and meeting so many new people. 

There are lots of programs and events put on by the Engineering Undergraduate Society that are really fun to attend – from the initial E˄0 week in September to tutoring nights with pizza to E-Week in January. 

The engineering design courses have also been good. I particularly liked designing and building the autonomous claw, which needs to be able to move and pick up objects. It involved a lot of hands-on metal work, which I enjoyed.

Autonomous claw

The first-year advantage of UBC Engineering

Do you feel like you’re developing new skills?

I was a studious student in high school, but I never really got the hang of sitting down to actively study. Here at UBC there’s so much new stuff that I’ve been learning and I’ve had to learn how to study. 

The courses are really interesting, but there is definitely a need to learn how to balance six courses and all their labs in one term.

I’m also learning a lot about communication. The engineering design courses have modules on communicating with stakeholders and with your team members. There’s a whole model of team development, from norming (getting to know each other) to performing, which is when you’re actually working well and delivering results.


The skills required to succeed as an engineer

What are you looking forward to over the next few years?

I’d like to join a design team, maybe Mars Rover or one of the smaller aerospace ones. I might like to get involved in the Engineering Undergraduate Society, and I’m definitely planning on co-op. Basically I want to explore as much as I can! 

Rover  Aerospace  

Engineering Undergraduate Society  Co-op

Any advice for a high school student who is considering engineering?

Go for it! Engineering is such as versatile field and you learn so many different skills. 

When I talk with upper-year students it’s really exciting to hear how they are applying these skills in so many different kinds of jobs and areas. 


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UBC Applied Science students are people who are passionate about their chosen field — architecture, landscape architecture, community and regional planning, engineering and nursing — and those that inspire others by making meaningful contributions to the betterment of society.

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