Renewables and Innovation: Knowledge from around the world

"Always do your assignments as soon as they become available, you'll have way more free time and a lot less stress."

Janelle smiling in front of trees and ocean

Janelle Faul

  • Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Program: Mechanical Engineering
  • Campus: Okanagan

Year: 4th Year

Chat with Janelle


UBCO Engineering has enabled me to have many great experiences that are furthering my engineering degree that I am unsure I would be able to get anywhere else. I recently finished a year-long Co-op position at Ballard Power Systems, a hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing company, where i was able to get hands-on experience in renewable energies in large-scale automotive applications. This was a great position that bettered my technical and industry knowledge. Currently, I am a Co-lead for the aerodynamics sub-team in the UBCO Motorsports club. This year we are designing a brand new aero wings package for the car for this upcoming Formula Student (FSAE) competition cycle. This is a great club to be a part of as there is a lot of hands-on work and many different sub-teams to cater to the different systems of the car. This upcoming winter I will be going on a Coordinated International Experience (CIE) exchange to Denmark! I'll be able to take classes specific to renewable energies and other topics that UBC may be unable to offer. I am going to be traveling the world and still furthering my knowledge and my degree.

How did you decide your current UBC Engineering discipline, or why did you choose UBC Engineering?

After my first year of university, I was undecided on what path to take as my engineering specialty and what options and supplemental programs that would benefit my degree. The best was being able to take classes in first year that were related to the different streams and learn what each one is focusing on. These classes led me to my decision to pursue mechanical engineering. I felt that mechanical engineering has many elements of electrical and civil engineering so that I wouldn't be stuck just with one specific program and could branch out into more interdisciplinary classes.

What has made your time at UBC Engineering memorable?

There are a few memorable moments from my time at UBCO so far, but the ones that stand out are with my fellow classmates and my professors. There are quite a few professors here at UBCO that have made the university experience so much fun and their dedication to their students shines through in their teaching and demeanor. Their classes are often the highlight of everyone's schedule, no matter what the content is.

Tell us about your experience in your program. What have you learned that is most valuable?

One thing that I learned that is very important for your degree is to have great time management skills and organization. This was something I was prepared about but didn't realize how much these skills would benefit my studies. Often there are many assignments and projects due at the same time for your classes so having these skills allows you to stay organized and submit these tasks on time with better quality.

What resources or events organized by UBC Engineering have helped you in your academic, professional or entrepreneurial journey thus far?

For the women in engineering, there are many networking events with your peers and industry that are set up throughout the year. These events have helped my networking and connected me with other students and friends. As well, the academic advisors and your professors are the greatest resources you can have. They are always open to helping students out with course scheduling, references, or finding a lab position.

What is one piece of advice you would share to a student entering UBC Engineering?

Engineering is a career that looks towards the future, towards innovation and progress for our world, so despite how taxing and stressful the degree is, you are going to be at the forefront of technology and future innovation. Be driven to make the world better.

Many of today’s jobs did not exist 10 years ago, and we do not know for certain what the workforce will look like 10 years from now. How do you see the remainder of your studies in the Faculty of Applied Science preparing you for the future of work?

As the engineering industry is always shifting and adapting to accommodate new technologies being prepared for the workforce means learning and becoming adept at these new technologies. For the remainder of my studies here at UBCO, I know the school will have projects and classes related to these up-and-coming techs and my semester abroad in Denmark will allow me to further my knowledge in future renewable energies, giving me the preparation I need to enter the industry and make a positive contribution to the workforce.

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