What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?
The people. The friends that I’ve made. At no other point in my life will I be so proximally surrounded by this many brilliant and diverse minds. I feel honoured to have been touched by thousands of stories in my time here — stories which have shaped who I am and my understanding of myself.
Why did you choose Engineering?
I gain a lot of satisfaction from seeing a conclusive end to a project. Whether it’s a hardware failsafe device for drones or the Totem Football League finals, there’s something about tangible and concrete endpoints that motivate me. Engineering is all about addressing problems, and though the answers may change over time, there will – always – be a solution.
Tell me about your experience in Engineering. What have you learned that is most valuable?
Coming into engineering, I liked to work with others. Halfway through engineering, I came to despise the idea of group work. Now that I’m finishing, I’ve come to appreciate that nothing can be done alone. My dislike towards group projects was rooted in the inability to trust in work that was not my own. However, I’ve learned that a group can achieve so much more if you spend less time dwelling on your expectations of others, and instead direct that effort into motivating the team and managing your expectations of yourself.
How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?
Engineers have such a unique way of seeing the world, and I am repeatedly told that our approach to problems is desirable in all industries from business to law to medicine. I’ve tried to use this philosophy of widespread applicability to bring a different spin to the work I’ve done in Residence Life and the other involvements I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to.
What has been your most memorable/valuable non-academic experience studying engineering at UBC?
This is like asking me to choose my favourite Pokémon. Non-academic experiences have been my everything: Student government taught me confidence. Orientations taught me to lead. UBC REC taught me tenacity. Ambassadors taught me to value all individuals. Residence Life taught me to love. What I’m trying to say is that engineering can only teach you so much, and I am forever indebted to the opportunities I was given to grow beyond what a curriculum can teach me. (Articuno. It’s definitely Articuno.)
How do you feel a degree in Engineering has benefitted you compared to a different field of study?
By teaching me that due later means do later, how to be really good at Facebook and that coding is the reason I have trust issues. All jokes aside, engineering has taught me perseverance and self-discipline. At some point it becomes clear that the long labs, long equations, long reports and long hours aren’t just there to torture us. And that point is at the very very very end.
What advice would you give a student considering Engineering?
I spent a lot of time complaining that I was not happy with the level of hands-on work in my department instead of actually going out and getting that experience. We have so many amazing student teams that give you real world experience while you’re still in classes. Additionally, finding summer internships or enrolling in Co-op is an easy opportunity to try something out for four to twelve months and then peace out. It’s a lot harder to experiment around or figure out what you don’t like once you’ve graduated.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Sushi. Pizza. Pho. Something that has to do with food.
What are your plans for the future–immediate? Long-term?
In first year I would have said medical school. Now, I’ve learned not to speculate too much on specifics and instead be content with the unknown. Two dream projects I would love to see myself working on in some capacity, as an engineer or not, is the SkyTrain extension to UBC and bringing the Summer Olympics back to Canada. Ideally I’d like to be full-time judge on Iron Chef.
How will you go on to make a difference in our world?
I wish I knew the answer to this — that would make life a lot easier to plan. I think we owe it to ourselves to find roles where we feel a sense of purpose. Maybe that’s in our work, in organizations we volunteer for, or as a parent. Regardless, if we can make a positive difference for even just one person, then we are making a huge difference in the world. I truly do believe and hope I have the capacity to positively influence a vast number of people, but I just need to figure out how.