Hi, my name is Jaymi and I’m a graduating student from Materials Engineering. My five years at UBC have been filled with more courses than I can count, but my true university experience was formed by my involvement on campus. As soon as I joined my department, I started volunteering with our undergraduate club, which led to me being president for two amazing years and really enjoying everything my department had to offer! Being president, I also took advantage of participation with the EUS and was able to do some exciting work with the conferences and finance committees. Amazing peer mentors taught me so much in these roles that I went on to join the UBC Vancouver Senate, contributing feedback on the academic affairs of the institution and even helping design new undergraduate admission criteria. My degree has been an incredible time of growth and community, and I am so happy with the way it’s turned out!
WHAT HAS MADE YOUR TIME AT UBC THE MOST MEMORABLE?
The community of leaders that I’ve surrounded myself with has definitely made my experience the most memorable. Whether students, staff or faculty, they are not afraid to challenge opinions, question authority, support ideas and be uninhibitedly passionate about change at this university. It is encouraging and inspiring to spend time with people who are so driven to make a difference. Their support has helped me understand my own abilities and pushes me to be a similar presence in the lives of other people I meet around campus.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN ENGINEERING THAT IS MOST VALUABLE?
The critical thinking — both in and out of the classroom — is one of the best skills that I’ve learned. It is the easy thing to accept ideas or solutions from people who seem to have higher authority or more experience, but I was also being trained to become a professional, and I had to internalize that I had the right and duty to question them. Whether it was an engineering design that I thought I could improve, a policy proposal that didn’t quite align with my values, or funding that didn’t benefit students to the maximum ability, I knew I was in the position to be able to question others, challenge authority and speak up for myself.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE/VALUABLE NON-ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE STUDYING ENGINEERING AT UBC?
Being engaged with the UBC community has definitely been the most valuable experience during my degree! From volunteering within my department club, to working with the EUS, AMS and UBC Senate, it’s been so exciting to engage in all these different parts of campus life. I’ve been able to connect with amazing people and learn about all the different components that are important to keep things running smoothly at UBC. It’s given me a chance to explore interests beyond my courses and has kept me busy outside schoolwork. The student life is one of the main reasons I chose to come to UBC, and I’m happy to have gotten as much out of it as I did!
HOW DO YOU FEEL A DEGREE IN ENGINEERING HAS BENEFITTED YOU COMPARED TO A DIFFERENT FIELD OF STUDY?
Engineering has taught me to think outside the box — whether being presented with a problem or a solution. I find that especially in materials engineering (where there is a constant push to improve performance, cost, or efficiency) it has been important to understand that there can be more than one solution to every problem. It can be scary to stray from past examples, but engineering is about constant improvement, and that isn’t possible without innovation or creativity.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
I find my inspiration from the people that surround me. It has been such an amazing experience to have classmates, professors, staff and friends that continue to push me to do my best and to do what I love; they are brave, passionate and so intelligent, and they encourage me to be the same (even if it means having tough conversations when I’m not doing my best). Their support has allowed me to understand my potential, both as a leader in my community and as an engineer.