“Put yourself out there, try new things and don’t have a fixed mindset: you never know what you’re going to like!”
- Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
- Campus: Vancouver
Year: 6th year
Why did you want to study engineering?
I always liked science in high school, so that factored into my decision. Also, my dad is a scientist who works with engineers and I realized from talking to him that engineering has some advantages over science. I wouldn’t need to do a master’s degree to get a job in my field, and as an engineer, I would be doing more hands-on problem solving.
Why did you decide on UBC Engineering? What made it stand out compared to other schools?
There are other reasons, too. Vancouver is such a beautiful city with all the greenery and its location on the ocean. I had also heard good things about the students here compared to other schools where students can be really competitive with each other. UBC Engineering isn’t like that, and everyone in engineering is friendly and helpful. I found out early on that even if you didn’t know someone you could go to them and ask for help.
How did you choose your program specialization?
I liked the introduction to electrical engineering in the foundation year. Before that, I thought electrical engineers only worked on powerlines, which I didn’t see as something I wanted to do. I realized how broad electrical engineering is and that it is has many applications. I also liked how you were not confined to one type of work and can branch out into many different fields.
Tell us about your fourth-year capstone project.
Capstone projects give you the opportunity to try and solve a real world problem that doesn’t have one solution. My group is working with Rampart Detection Systems to come up with a way to measure whether wine has gone off or been spoiled. We’re not sure yet how we’re going to do it and we’re currently in the research stage exploring different sensors that can detect chemical compositions in liquids through a closed wine bottle.
What have your co-op positions been like?
I’ve done five co-op terms. One term I worked at Sierra Wireless as a software test engineer, where I tested their firmware using both manual and automated methods. My last co-op position was eight months at Smith and Anderson, an engineering consulting design firm. My role as a junior electrical designer was to decide where to place lighting in buildings they were working on, including a new hospital in Terrace. At a hospital, different rooms have different lighting requirements – from bright lights for an operating theatre compared to dimmable lights in patient rooms, with each having its own load and power requirements. I applied a lot of knowledge I’d learned in school and also learned new tools like AutoCAD and Revit.
What was your exchange term in Australia like?
I did the Coordinated International Experience exchange term with the University of Sydney in early 2020. Unfortunately, soon after I arrived also marked the arrival of COVID-19, which meant we had to shift to an online format. One course I particularly enjoyed was on cochlear implants. While I missed out on some of the exchange benefits, it was still lots of fun and I was able to spend seven weeks travelling in Australia.
How do you think you might use your engineering degree to benefit society?
I want to make a positive impact and do something to contribute to society, but I am not sure exactly what that is yet. I liked working on the hospital project – that felt like I was doing something good for the community.
What’s next for you after you graduate in May 2023?
I want to go backpacking as a grad trip and then find a job. I’ll see what opportunities emerge! I am open to a lot of different things, including taking more courses.
Any reflections on being a female engineer?
There is likely still some bias out there where people think of Mark Zuckerberg when they think of someone in engineering. But you don’t have to look that way to be good at your job or be a great engineer. There are still some stereotypes, but it’s a diverse community and I think it is getting better.
Any advice for other students?
Even if you don’t think you’re cut out for engineering, you actually are! In first year, I was often overwhelmed and felt like I didn’t fit in. But as I’ve gone through the years, I’ve met people who feel the same way and we’ve bonded together. The same goes for applying for jobs that you might not feel qualified for. Just put yourself out there, try new things and don’t have a fixed mindset. You never know what you’re going to like.