What’s one thing you wish you knew about engineering back when you were in high school?
I wish I knew how much I’d like engineering! Once you get used to the learning pace, as an engineer student you are able to solve problems and think critically about the world that surrounds us. You grow and adapt to understanding concepts that build the technology that we use everyday, and make up the fabric of society, as we know it. That motivates me to continue to learn more!
What’s your proudest accomplishment as an engineer?
As an engineering student at Ryerson University, I had access to Entrepreneurial Zones and mentors that motivate and guide students to turn an idea into a start-up. My proudest accomplishment was learning how to think like an entrepreneur. I won two Norm Esch Awards which taught me how to define the profitability and viability of an idea through market research analysis, how to develop a business plan, and how to find resources and mentors that can be very helpful in creating a start-up.
Tell me about a time in your career when your work has been about discovery or curiosity?
In order to graduate from most engineering programs, students are required to complete an Engineering Design Project. For my team’s project, we decided to explore the theory of Wireless Power Transfer. We have built a working prototype transmitting power at the resonant frequency of 13.56MHz. All the subcomponents are working individually, the next step is to have the system working with all subcomponents connected together. We are close! This is a block diagram of all the sub-circuits we learned about in our undergraduate degree, and now we get to implement them into our capstone project.
What are you doing these days?
Right now I’m in the last semester of my undergraduate degree, and most of my free time goes to working on my Engineering Design Project!
Do you feel your work contributes to society? How so?
Engineers are equipped with the resources, knowledge and techniques to come up with solutions that can benefit society from any number of perspectives. A skill as elemental as programming, allowed me to program a web app solution that can contribute to a movement in Ontario, which is focused on an environmentally friendly approach to generating and using energy. The web app, for which I won both stages of the Norman Esch Awards, is being designed to inform home-owners on the savings generated when installing solar panels in their homes. The more home-owners that generate power with solar panels, the more green energy gets distributed in the smart grid, ultimately reducing levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Hopefully, that’s the direction that we’re headed in as a society.
Why do we need more female engineers?
As a female engineering student in electrical engineering, where the average ratio of females to males is 1 to 10, I feel that women should become more active and involved in computer and electrical engineering. I feel very comfortable in a class of 150 students where only 15 are female students, I don’t feel a difference when talking to anyone of my peers, but it would be interesting to see more women taking advantage of the amazing opportunities that come with being an electrical engineer… like designing microsystems and becoming part of the silicon movement in micro-electronics, or being part of a team that builds robots for outer space, such as the Canadian Arm. It’s a big deal. Anyone can make a greater impact in the solutions we need for a better tomorrow.
When you were becoming an engineer, were you nervous and stressed out about all the math and science? What made you push through and become an engineer? Were you sure that you wanted to become an engineer when you were in gr12?
Engineering was always interesting, and somehow designing was too. I first got a diploma in graphic design, and later started my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. It was a great experience to do both. Graphic design is demanding, but I felt like engineering is a lifetime profession, one in which you can never get to know everything about, because there is always more to know and explore, and research. Understanding the math and science behind it may take some time, but it is so rewarding to build on those concepts. Being patient in learning the basics will make it a richer experience, I promise!
Do you have any hobbies/passions that give you a unique perspective in engineering
I have a diploma in graphic design, which is completely different from the engineering and scientific mindset. Having a diploma that required me to be creative and artistic allows me to sometimes push the boundaries, that as engineers we are taught to follow. I am often involved in volunteering where marketing and digital design skills are needed, so I continue to find ways to be creative.
Tell us about your Norman Esch Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award idea, and what motivated you to get started?
The Norman Esch Award was a work in collaboration with an expert in the solar energy industry. The idea surfaced, as so many home-owners who are not aware of how solar technology works, want to be informed. The web application would make it easy for individuals to know the energy savings that can be generated when installing solar technology. The plan is for home-owners to calculate the energy they are currently using and the savings they would realize by installing solar panels.