Lifelong Interest In Hands-On Projects Led Caitlyn To UBC Engineering

"The student community here at UBC is super collaborative and people are always very helpful."

Caitlyn Molander

Caitlyn Molander

When did you first become interested in engineering?

Honestly, I didn’t know a lot about what engineering was in high school. 

I was always interested in math and physics, and I won a scholarship to attend a UBC program to learn more about STEM. 

I found it interesting, and my dad also suggested I consider engineering because of my interest in working on cars. 

Questions about engineering

Why did you choose UBC?

My original plan was BCIT, but I couldn’t apply there until I had grades for all my courses. I thought I might as well apply to UBC through their early admissions route and then decide if I still wanted to pursue BCIT. I got in with early admission, and knowing that UBC is a really good school it seemed like a good path to pursue. 

I also liked the fact that at UBC I had the option of going into general first year and having many different options, while at BCIT you have to choose the specialty you want to study right away.

Foundation year

First year advantage of engineering

How did you choose mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineering was always in the back of my mind. I’d thought about civil engineering or chemical and biological engineering, but in first year I realized that I didn’t like chemistry as much as I thought I had in high school! And taking APSC 101 showed me what I was and wasn’t interested in. 

I really liked working on the design of the mechanical claw in first year and that led me into thinking I’d enjoy mechanical engineering.

Mechanical engineering

What are some highlights of your education?

One of my favourite things was at the beginning of second year. 

We did a machine shop intro class and were able to work with lathes and mills and learn about circuits and drafting and CAD. 

It was a month-long crash course in all these things and then we got to build a magnetic levitation device to practice all of these different skills we’d learned.

Tell us about your work on Formula UBC Racing.

I’m on the Formula UBC Racing design team. As a member of the powertrain team we take a stock engine and modify all the systems around it, like the fuel, oil and air intake, to try to optimize it and deliver the most horsepower possible for competition. 

I really love being part of the team. When you’re in school you don’t necessarily have a lot of hands-on experience. 

But on my design team we do a one-year design cycle, so you get to design a part, build it, test it and then see it in the car at the end of the year and in competition. I’ve been able to apply a lot of the skills I’ve learned on the design team to my co-op position.

Formula UBC Racing

Where did you work for co-op?

I had a manufacturing co-op position with Dometic, which is one of the biggest manufacturing facilities in Richmond. I worked with their machinists, designing factory layouts and talking with them about where a machine would work best and the orientation that they would need. I was also able to do some design work to improve machine processing. Doing this co-op was a big shift for me and a good introduction to workplace environments. 

Co-op  Dometic

Benefits of co-op

Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish as a student?

In mechanical engineering and in co-op I definitely want to try as many different things as I can to see what I enjoy doing. There are many different paths you can go in, and I’d also like to get a co-op position outside of Canada. 

Why engineers make great leaders

Do you have any advice for high school students who are considering engineering?

I think one of the biggest things for me was getting a support system. 

I didn’t know anyone else who was going into UBC, and I’ve been able to find fantastic support groups in the design team and in mechanical engineering. You’ll see the competitive side with a few people in your courses, but overall the student community here at UBC is super collaborative and people are always very helpful.

Two UBC mechanical engineering students prepare for the autonomous landing platform competition.

Mechanical Engineering

As a student in UBC’s Mechanical Engineering stream, you’ll begin by mastering the fundamentals, building a knowledge base in solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, vibrations, heat transfer, controls and design. As a student in UBC’s Mechanical Engineering stream, you’ll begin by mastering the fundamentals, building a knowledge base in solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, vibrations, heat transfer, controls and design.

Mechanical Engineering

Discover Student Experiences

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.

Browse Student and Alumni Spotlights
UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. E-commerce Cart A shopping cart. Time A clock. Chats Two speech clouds. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Social Media The globe is the default icon for a social media platform. TikTok The logo for the TikTok social media platform. Calendar Location Home A house in silhouette. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Location Pin A map location pin. Mail An envelope. Telephone An antique telephone. Play A media play button. Search A magnifying glass. Arrow indicating share action A directional arrow. Speech Bubble A speech bubble. Star An outline of a star. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. User A silhouette of a person. Vimeo The logo for the Vimeo video sharing service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service. Future of work A logo for the Future of Work category. Inclusive leadership A logo for the Inclusive leadership category. Planetary health A logo for the Planetary health category. Solutions for people A logo for the Solutions for people category. Thriving cities A logo for the Thriving cities category. University for future A logo for the University for future category.