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MacEngineer SPRING 2019

McMaster Engineering is pivoting: transforming engineering education

Message from the dean For the last five years, I have been sharing our Faculty’s vision: Innovation from Excellence. We have been working diligently to improve diversity, create community, enhance research and innovation, commit to the professional development of our students, attract top students, and enhance their success. Many of you have been part of this shared journey to develop a vibrant experiential learning ecosystem to inspire student innovation and big ideas. Within the last six years, McMaster Engineering has enhanced the student experience by supporting our amazing clubs and teams through increased funding to broaden students’ opportunities for experiential learning. We began offering a unique course that allows students to capture credit for these experiences, ENGINEER 4EX3 Ishwar K. Puri, Experiential Engineering Design, which Dean, Faculty of provides third and fourth-year engineering Engineering students formal recognition for participating in technically-oriented teams such as Solar Car and Rocketry. This Fall, we will be offering another course, 3CX3, Experiential Learning in Complementary Studies, that will offer course credit to students involved in non-technical clubs and teams. In April, we’ll be issuing digital credentials for co-curricular activities and issuing McMaster’s first degree using blockchain technology at the spring convocation. Through the support of our students and the generosity of many donors, we’ve created a dedicated space to champion our clubs and teams with the Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning. We are furthering the research mission and giving students professional development skills by offering the largest undergraduate research program of any engineering school in Canada. In 2017, McMaster Engineering faculty members mentored 269 undergraduate students in their research groups, i.e., roughly just over 6.5 per cent of our BEng headcount participated in undergraduate research. Last Fall, we launched the Minor in Innovation with the DeGroote School of Business and the Forge, McMaster’s start-up incubator to teach students’ how to think like entrepreneurs and innovators. We’ve launched MacChangers, an extracurricular program which brings students together to tackle



grand challenges facing our world and tests their problem-solving skills in areas such as transportation. This Fall, we will be launching a companion McMaster Grand Challenges Scholars Program, where students will be gaining core competencies in myriad ways, from creating more renewable energy to building resilient infrastructure, to exploring climate change solutions. McMaster Engineering has been improving diversity both by bringing more women in as faculty members and by increasing our number of women students. This year, 27 per cent of our incoming class were women, and we intend to keep pushing this forward to 30 per cent and beyond. McMaster Engineering has a proven track record of innovative educational approaches, from our client-focused Engineering Profession and Practice course, 1P03, to our successful new Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences program (iBioMed), which introduced a new way of learning to our students through an integrated course (1P10) with a biomedical project focus and design spine. Students in our ‘pilot’ iBioMed program have soared, with overall assessments surpassing Engineering 1 students taught in traditional course structures. All of this has prepared the ground for our biggest change yet. Automation and artificial intelligence are changing how we work. Traditional sectors have been, and will continue to be, disrupted. We need students who are nimble, agile thinkers and strong communicators who are prepared to shape the future, rather than just chase it. We know that the world is changing at a rapid rate. We need students who possess not only technical skills, but have competencies in five core areas, including research/ creativity, multidisciplinary, business/entrepreneurship skills, multicultural and diversity and social consciousness. We are calling this revolutionary approach to education: The Pivot. It’s the largest transformation of the student experience ever taken in 61 years of engineering at McMaster and will change our curriculum, reimagine our classrooms and amplify experiential education. You’ll learn more about The Pivot and students who reflect the core mission of what we are aiming to achieve in this issue of the MacEngineer. Our plan will change the McMaster Engineering education experience. It will ensure our students are equipped with the ability to pivot and adapt, using a “hands-on, minds-on learning by experience” approach. We hope you will support us in this next evolution of our Faculty.

Contents Do you have something to say or news to share? We would like to hear from you. Contact Carm Vespi Tel: (905) 525-9140 ext. 24906 Fax: (905) 546-5492

Message from the dean

Alumni profiles 8


The electric Pivot 16

The MacEngineer is published by the Faculty of Engineering for its alumni. Distribution assistance is provided by the Engineering Alumni OfďŹ ce. Editor: Carm Vespi Managing Editor: Monique Beech Art Direction and Design: Steve Janzen Writing: Kim Arnott Michelle Presse Photography: Kareem Baassiri Jin Lee

ot : The Piv rming Transfoering engine ion educat


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Building success from the ground up

McMaster places second in world for global impact

Discussion on digital credentials




Alumni events 26

Spring 2019


: t o v i P The g n i m r o f s n a r T g n i r e e engin ion t a c u d e ion t a m r o f ans

t tr s e g r a 61 l n i e c n In the erie p x e t n e ulty c a F of stud s ’ r aste M c M , years ill be w g n i r ee of Engin changes to its ing c u m, d u l o u r t c i n r i r u te c a u d s a r m g o o r s s under a s cl t i g n i ial n t i n g e a i r m i e p re g ex n i z i s a h and emp all to prepare — e to r u t learning u f e of th s r e e n i of a s eng e g n e l chal e h t t e rld. o me w g n i hang c y l d i p ra

Called The Pivot, the $15-million initiative, set to launch in Fall 2020, is a new approach to engineering education that will help ensure graduates are resilient, calculated risk-takers who are intellectually curious and unfazed by failure. “The Pivot represents the largest transformation of the student experience ever taken in 61 years at McMaster Engineering,” says McMaster Engineering Dean Ishwar K. Puri. “It will revolutionize the undergraduate student experience, enabling us to ‘leapfrog’ other engineering schools, and be a model for revamping programs across Canada, the U.S. and the world.”

“These students are involved in clubs and teams,” says Preston. “One shifted fields because they were inspired by working on Formula Electric. Others have done absolutely remarkable things both in research, co-op, clubs and teams, in all of these different avenues that parallel their curricular activities. These are exceptional students, and our curriculum is in their way. We’re helping to provide, in the curriculum, the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.” Electrical and Biomedical Engineering student Kaylie Lau is one of those remarkable students. The Schulich The curriculum change to the scholarship student is also general first-year engineering Andrew Aslanidis, the Bioengineering representative Mechanical Team program integrates four courses into for the McMaster Engineering Society, Captain for MAC one seamless, hands-on learning plays for the varsity curling club Formula Electric experience in which students will and volunteers her time with Ronald complete several project-based McDonald House Charities Canada, just to courses in their first year and a single name a few of her extracurricular activities. project-based course in subsequent years Akil Hamilton, “McMaster Engineering has taught me to pivot because through to their final year capstone course. Integrated Biomedical we are taught that to be a successful engineer, you have “A more traditional teaching model involves one Engineering and Health to be very flexible,” says Lau. “Pivoting, to me, means person standing at the front of a classroom, all eyes Sciences student taking what you’ve learned and being grounded in that, on them, and disseminating their knowledge,” says but also being able to change direction.” Colin McDonald, director, Engineering 1. “We Part of the plan includes replacing lecture are replacing these traditional teaching halls for the Level 1 Engineering foundational methods with ones that promote learning experience course with a large start-upthrough activities and experiences, inspired space, dubbed the Design Hub, asking questions and working through which will be a focal point for collaboraproblems with unknown solutions.” tive opportunities with industry partners. Ken Coley, associate dean, academic Pivoting is familiar for student feels privileged to lead The Pivot Andrew Aslanidis. For as long as he initiative. “Through a powerful suite can remember, Aslanidis thought he of high impact learning practices we will would be a software engineer. He pivoted equip students to reflect on and craft their his dreams after coming to McMaster. own learning to boldly address the future.” Eva Mueller, As the Mechanical team captain for MAC Formula Chemical Engineering Electric, he says he tries to switch up his extracurricular PhD student activities each year to take advantage of the different opportunities on campus and be as agile as possible. “Taking different courses and joining different clubs really ignited something within me that made me want to go into John Preston, associate dean, research and Mechanical Engineering,” says Aslanidis. “I’ve never looked external relations, says that the inspiration for The Pivot back. I kind of pivoted to start my engineering degree.” came from watching what some of the Faculty’s top Aslanidis wasn’t the only Pivot ambassador students, now Pivot ambassadors, have been doing. whose career path took a major turn.

Changing the curriculum

Reimagining the classroom

Spring 2019


Eva Mueller always dreamed of going to medical school until she got “really hooked on engineering.” A musician, athlete, volunteer and now PhD student Kaylie Lau, in Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Mueller has applied her love of Biomedical Engineering student helping others to her scientific endeavours in the biotech industry. “There will always be new things to learn and discover, may that be in music, what I’m really passionate about, or sports — that’s always been an outlet,” says Mueller, who also earned her undergraduate engineering degree from McMaster. “If you’re happy with what you’re doing and making a difference in the world around you, I think that’s what everyone should strive to be passionate about.” Collaboration is a key objective of The Pivot, which has already proven successful in other courses. One of the most memorable for Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences student Akil Hamilton was his 1P10 course, a project-based course that gives students the chance work with real clients. “There were lots of group projects in which we had to leverage our ability to pivot,” says Hamilton. “You start with a particular idea, and over time, you have to refine the ideas with your team. It teaches you to pivot your original idea, whether that be from changes in the client’s needs to other requirements of the design project.”

Engineering. He says that every engineer should be agile enough to merge the politics and the social sciences with technical solutions and the communication skills necessary to best serve the community’s engineers work for. “Problems are not just technically based,” says Rogers. “They’re based in other parts of the human experience… Engineers should be beholden to their communities. You have to be able to look at things from a social perspective.” Arlene Fajutrao Dosen, director of outreach and engagement, says the Faculty is preparing students to address the grand challenges facing society and have a global worldview. “We’ve presented a scaffold and will build a menu around that. A student might be really interested in building business/entrepreneurial skills, but there will be various ways they can do that. It may be a minor in innovation or developing a student Lacey Wice, Mechanical start-up through The Forge… it allows Engineering student us to…work with students to develop

a career action plan for their success.” Dosen says the Faculty wants to offer more work-integrated learning opportunities through expanded international co-op placements, and by supporting clubs and teams. The Pivot will provide more funding to renew clubs and support new clubs as they are developed, and increase the number of undergraduate research and regular co-op opportunities for students. Lacey Wice is so passionate about clubs that she started her own for other Mechanical Engineering students. Being a team captain for McMaster Baja Racing, pursuing a number of patents, being a ballet dancer and getting a head start on her master’s thesis Ryan Rogers, are just some of the things that keep Mechanical her on her (pointe-covered) toes. Engineering student Along with technical know-how, “It started with being passionate students will be developing skills in five about ballet and creative things, To learn more about key areas, including research/creative, says Wice. “Then it turned to science The Pivot, please visit multidisciplinary, business/entrepreneurand technical skills. But mostly, I’m ship, multicultural/diversity and social consciousness. just passionate about learning… I pivot Social consciousness is on the forefront of Ryan Rogers’ believe that every student that mind. After being the valedictorian of the McMaster graduates from McMaster Engineering Engineering Class of 2017, he began his masters in Mechanical is applying what they learned every day.”

Amplifying experiential learning



McMaster places second in world for global impact McMaster University has placed second in the world in a new international ranking that recognizes the impact universities are making in their own countries and on a global scale. The Times Higher Education Impact ranking is based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations which are designed to address the most serious challenges of our time. McMaster has been recognized for its deep commitment to the development goals including good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth, building sustainable cities and communities, achieving gender equity and revitalizing global partnerships. More than 500 universities from 80 counNamed tries participated in the ranking. Canada’s “We are a global university and it is our responsibility to find ways to most researchRanked help people and our societies improve and benefit from research and intensive university 77th in the education,” says McMaster president Patrick Deane. “We need our in the Research World University world to be more sustainable, more diverse, with less poverty and more Infosource annual Rankings published opportunity. The United Nations SDGs give us a framework that supports rankings by Times Higher these goals and an impetus to focus our collective efforts.” Education While McMaster was ranked second overall, it received specific rankings in each of the development goals: #1 – Decent Work and Economic Growth #2 – Good Health and Well-Being #14 – Sustainable Cities and Communities #16 – Partnership for the Goals #68 – Gender Equality “This ranking speaks to the very core of what we value as a university. Our purpose is to advance human and societal health and well-being, and we do that in the way we teach and the Winner of the impact of our research and prestigious Global community involvement,” Teaching Excellence says David Farrar, provost Award from the Higher and vice-president Education Academy in academic at McMaster.

partnership with Times Higher Education

Spring 2019


Alumni profiles Riding the waves of change

“I think that willingness to change has been the key to my success in this industry.”

Some people reach the age of 50 and look back on a linear career path that has led them exactly where they aspired to be in high school.

Paul Kerr is not one of those people. He didn’t aspire to be an entrepreneur – and certainly didn’t dream that he’d one day co-found and lead a 350-employee IT solutions firm. Looking back now, as president and chief executive officer of Scalar, the company he helped launch in 2004, he recognizes his willingness to pivot, shift gears and veer around obstacles as crucial to his success. Arriving at McMaster with dreams of medicine, he quickly recognized that he didn’t have the skills for success in that competitive field. He pivoted into computer science because it was something he enjoyed doing – and admits he got lucky enough to pick “the best industry in the history of the world.” He also had the good fortune to graduate in 1992 as an expert in Unix, a computer language that quickly became very relevant in the business world. “To this day, even though I don’t touch a keyboard that



often, I say I’m a Unix guy, and that defines me to a whole group of people.” Starting his career with IBM, he supported the initial launch and rollout of Unix-based servers to the banking and insurance sectors, and then eventually moved into a role as managing partner/principal at Enterprise Technology Group (ETG), a Sun Microsystems services provider. But as technology shifted and Sun Microsystems waned, Kerr was forced again to pivot, and to reinvent himself and his dreams. The result is Scalar, a company with $425 million in annual revenue and nine offices across Canada. While Kerr jokingly calls it “the moving company” as a reflection of its adaptation to the rapidly-changing IT landscape over the last 15 years, it was also recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2018. Recently, Kerr sold the firm to global technology company CDW. “I think being open to change and building a company with a culture that is accepting of change is very important,” says Kerr. “Everything is going to change around you and you have no control over that. “The more willing you are to accept those changes – you may not like them, but you grit your teeth and learn to work through them – those are the people who find the best opportunities. I think that willingness to change has been the key to my success in this industry.”

Alumni profiles

Pivoting in search of a new challenge

“I enjoy working on projects with complex problems, new technologies, uncertain regulatory regimes, or challenging geographies.”

Aside from the engineering degree she earned at McMaster in 1996, Jacinta McNairn’s resume boasts a diploma from a helicopter piloting program and a master’s degree in earth and space sciences.

She’s currently enrolled in medical school at the University of Calgary in the quest to add medical doctor to her list of credentials. Those seemingly disparate achievements are tied together by a few themes, says McNairn, a 1996 Engineering and Society grad attracted to that program because of its recognition of “the connection between engineering and its context.” “I also chose Engineering and Society because it allowed me to pursue my love of languages and circumpolar studies,” she adds. “I’ve always taken a ‘you can do anything’ approach to life, which translates for me to ‘you can do everything.’” That approach led her to launch her career on Ellesmere Island. “It was geography that first drew me,” she admits. “The

opportunity to work in the world’s most northern permanent human settlement was too good to pass up. “I would have taken a job peeling potatoes or mopping floors to visit Ellesmere Island, but I was lucky to get an air quality monitoring position instead. That started me on the path of atmospheric chemistry and meteorology, leading to a commercial helicopter pilot license, then an MSc in earth and space sciences.” A craving for variety led to more than a decade of work as an environmental engineering consultant, working on wind power and a variety of projects she describes as “X-Files.” “I enjoy working on projects with complex problems, new technologies, uncertain regulatory regimes, or challenging geographies,” says McNairn. “But with the downturn in the economy in Alberta, industry appeared less inclined to invest in X-Files. The work became more routine, and more focused on profit (i.e., keeping the team employed) than engagement. “I needed to reignite my idealism, to reconnect with people,” she added, as explanation for her latest pivot, her decision to start medical school and join the Canadian Armed Forces. “I am training to be a family doctor, looking forward to engaging with patients and their families, and hopefully one day providing medical relief to parts of the world that are suffering from war, natural disaster, and/or famine.”

Spring 2019


Alumni profiles

The unintentional entrepreneur

“I was wellprepared to both identify interesting problems and solve them.”

In a knowledge economy that’s leveraging big data and machine learning to disrupt our traditional perspective on almost everything, Ken Sills is perfectly situated.

“I never saw myself as an entrepreneur, but with graduate degrees in both science and engineering, I was well-prepared to both identify interesting problems and solve them,” says Sills. In 2014, that perspective led to a career-changing entrepreneurial pivot. In partnership with fellow McMaster Engineering graduate Sasha Kucharczyk, Sills launched Preteckt. A rapidly growing startup based in Memphis, Tennessee, Preteckt offers fleet managers and vehicle manufacturers a vehicle prognostics system based on machine learning. Using connected hardware and software analytics, the system can predict vehicle maintenance needs before they cause expensive downtime.



“It’s like driving with a master mechanic in your engine compartment,” Preteckt advertises, in a bid to connect with trucking companies and transit fleets, where unexpected breakdowns eat into profits and reliability. Sills earned his master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McMaster in 2013, at the end of an eight-year period teaching physics as an adjunct assistant professor at the university. He began his academic life studying astronomy before earning his MSc in Computational Astrophysics from St. Mary’s University in 1996. His most recent pivot has him serving as Preteckt’s CEO and co-founder. The startup has raised about $3.5M USD to date from angels and financial VC, and is now growing on revenue from contracts with Fortune 500 companies. The company is currently hiring for data scientist and data engineer positions in Hamilton, and Sills says they’ve had a lot of success with McMaster graduates. He also urges engineers not to shy away from their own entrepreneurial opportunities. “Don’t be scared of selling,” says Sills. “Build a product that solves a serious problem and that you want to be an evangelist for because you think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.”

Alumni profiles

Pivoting into policy

“I was interested in shaping policy and being in a position to make a difference in the community.”

Priya Tandon can back up her public policy knowledge with engineering prowess, and she’s bringing both to bear on the issues and concerns of northern Ontario’s minerals sector.

After earning her undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, Tandon spent three years working for an engineering consulting firm, primarily on projects related to the steel-industry. When she began looking at post-graduate programs, she discovered the Master of Engineering and Public Policy (MEPP) program at McMaster. “I was interested in shaping policy and being in a position to make a difference in the community, and I wanted to leverage

my engineering experience,” Tandon explains. “I was excited to find a program that allowed me to build on my engineering background while learning more about policy. “And it was a bonus that it was in my hometown.” Committing to a career shift was a leap of faith, admits Tandon, but completing the MEPP program in 2009 ended up being a great investment in her future. “It opened up doors for me that I never knew existed, and I have progressed in my career based on the rare combination of both engineering and policy knowledge.” Currently working as director of corporate policy for the Ontario Public Service, Tandon leads a team working on strategic plans and policies for the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and has been involved in developing and launching large policy initiatives for the province. She urges today’s students not to be afraid to take chances. “I took a chance on the Engineering and Public Policy program without exactly knowing what role I would end up in,” she says. “But I believe that if you are passionate about something, it will naturally drive you to success, both in education and your career.”

Spring 2019


Alumni profiles

Navigating the world of The Pivot

“I still don’t know what I’ll be doing when I actually grow up.”

Michael Tang’s official job title with Deloitte Canada is head of Global Digital Transformation and Innovation for Financial Services. You might describe his role as digital tour guide and map reader, with a touch of fortune teller thrown in.

“I help large banks and insurance companies really embrace and understand the disruptions coming along with innovation – digital and technology – to their business model,” says Tang, whose 1995 Engineering and Management degree focused on ceramics. His first pivot occurred several decades ago after a fourth-year internship at a materials engineering firm in the Netherlands convinced him he wanted a different future.



“I then took a year off with another internship at IBM which was my entry into the tech world,” says Tang, who also worked at Microsoft before joining Deloitte in 1997, where he focused on technology and architecture. He recently returned to Canada after spending five years working for Deloitte New Zealand as chief strategy officer in the Asia Pacific Region. “I still don’t know what I’ll be doing when I actually grow up,” he says. “My role literally changes every month it seems. The velocity and pace in this environment requires constant adjustment to keep up.” Tang, who was recently named an account executive with Google, works with clients to help them build business strategies that respond to existing technological developments, as well as emerging disruptions such as artificial intelligence. And just as he helps executives learn to pivot in the face of oncoming change, Tang urges students to leave themselves “strategic options.” “You can’t predict the future and different things will happen that are beyond your control, so don’t be naïve enough to pick just one direction or strategy,” he says. “I think today’s world has so many moving parts that you’ve got to leave yourself some choices.”

Alumni profiles

Pivoting through the air

“And in fact, there is a lot of physics in circus arts, which I also enjoy.”

As a professional aerialist, acrobat and figure skater, Christa Wilson is acutely aware of that moment when her skates grab the ice or her fingers grip the bar, her weight shifts and she’s off in a different direction.

That physical pivot makes the jumps, spins, tricks and twirls of her life as a professional freelance artist possible. But her career also required a mental pivot – a turn from a future in engineering to the world of performance. As an Engineering Physics and Society student, Wilson minored in Psychology, so she could consider the profession from a social and environmental perspective. During university, she continued to train and compete at the national level in ice skating – a sport she began at four years old. She reached the fork in the road between the athletic and the engineering path in 2006 after she graduated

with her degree and retired from competitive skating. When she was offered a professional performance job, she pivoted from her engineering aspirations. “I thought that I would return to engineering when my student loans were paid off, but I was hooked,” Wilson explains. “I spent five years performing and traveling with ice shows, and then began training and performing circus arts when I met my husband. We now travel and perform together.” As a professional freelance artist, she has performed in more than 50 countries around the world. In addition to skating, she now also works as an aerialist and acrobat. “This is definitely not what I thought I would be doing but I am very grateful to be able to,” says Wilson, who adds that skills learned at McMaster, including critical thinking, time management and networking, continue to serve her well. “And in fact, there is a lot of physics in circus arts, which I also enjoy,” she adds. Looking back on her university days, she says she wishes she knew not to take herself so seriously. “I worried so much that I wasn’t at the same level of my peers, when I should have spent more time focusing on what I was good at,” says Wilson. “We can be our own worst critics, so try to treat yourself as kindly as you treat others.”

Spring 2019


Alumni profiles

Electric re-imagined

From left to right: Himesh Kurera, Federico Duperly, Kenneth Noronha, Kieran Ward, Cody Rhebergen, Sam Jantzi, Jackson Diebel, Phillip Weicker

Phillip Weicker is determined to turn the world of electric cars on its head. And for anyone who remembers him from his McMaster days, that news will likely come as no surprise. You might remember Weicker, a 2001 Electrical Engineering graduate, as winner of the Governor General’s Academic Medal. His graduating grade point average of 11.9 out of a possible 12 over seven terms (with a perfect 12 in two consecutive years of study) ranked him as McMaster’s top graduating student that year. More likely, you’d remember him as the student who helped turn an ’82 Chevy into a driveable hot tub. As seen on Jay Leno in 2014, he was back at it again when he teamed up with fellow alumnus Duncan Forster to transform a 1969 Cadillac Coupe DeVille into a drivable hot tub that raced at Bonneville Salt Flats to set a world record for fastest hot tub ever. After leaving McMaster, Weicker went on to earn a master’s degree in computational electromagnetics, set his sights on the electric car industry, and landed in California in 2008. Since then he’s been working in technical leadership positions for a variety of start-up and early-stage companies in the electrified transportation field. In December 2017, Weicker and eight colleagues founded a new company – recently rebranded as Canoo – with the aim of redefining urban mobility. “We set out to build relevant electric vehicles at affordable price points, and to challenge the traditional ownership model of how a car gets delivered to a customer,” he says. “We want to push the limits of what a vehicle can be if you remove all the constraints of having an internal combustion-based architecture.” With a subscription-based model instead of traditional vehicle sales, as well as plans for four different vehicle cabins to be built onto a standard “skateboard” platform



that houses the battery-pack and electric powertrain, Canoo promises a new look at the mobility paradigm. “Just as the first cars looked like horse-drawn carriages without the horses, most of today’s electrified vehicles look exactly the same as non-electrified vehicles. Traditional automotive industry is building cars in a particular layout because that’s what people are used to. But it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Weicker, the company’s co-founder in charge of Powertrain and Electronics. From the position of the driver, to the location of the various components and systems, to the space and visibility inside the vehicle, Weicker insists that there is “a smarter way.” The company’s first vehicle, promised for 2021, aims to offer the interior space of a large SUV on the footprint of a compact car. About 10 McMaster graduates are involved in that vision, many of them recent graduates who studied under Ali Emadi, director of the McMaster Institute of Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO). “It’s great to have young energy and excitement on board,” says Weicker, adding that Canoo has hired about 300 staff with a passion for electric vehicles and willingness to “take radical ownership of their tasks.” “It’s easy to convince yourself that there are limitations that are not really there,” says Weicker, adding that his “completely absurd and impossible” car pool adventure was good practice for visualizing a totally new electric vehicle. “Both of these endeavours are an exercise in understanding whether limitations are real or imagined, and how ambitious we can be.”

Faculty of Engineering hosts panel discussion on digital credentials On April 10, the Faculty of Engineering welcomed Globe and Mail columnist Jennifer Lewington to moderate a panel discussion on how digital technology – like the blockchain and digital badges – is transforming post-secondary education. The event, part of the Faculty’s Café X public conversation series, explored how microcredentials, stackable courses and digital degrees could offer new opportunities to both students and educators. The panel included: •

Kim Hamilton Duffy, CTO of Learning Machine

Melissa Pool, McMaster’s registrar

David Porter, CEO of eCampusOntario, and

Ishwar K. Puri, dean of McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering

Blockchain technology – the digital infrastructure used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – allows students to present their academic credentials digitally in a way that is both secure and verifiable. Other digital technologies, such as badging, have the potential to showcase specific skills and learning outcomes. “McMaster students come from more than 130 countries around the world,” says Pool. “Similarly, our alumni network spans the globe. It is incumbent upon the Registrar’s Office to explore portable credentials that will allow our students to be able to take their credentials with them wherever they go.” The Faculty of Engineering is currently running a pilot program with McMaster’s Office of the Registrar to offer credentials using blockchain for its MacChangers program this April. As well, it will be offering Canada’s first digital degrees to engineering students this June. “Digital credentials are the wave of the future,” says Puri. “Why? Because we believe in the self-sovereign identity of data: that data should belong to the student. “It is important for us to invest in and to implement digital credentials using platforms such as blockchain because we are innovators. Just as society is innovating and business is innovating, higher education must also innovate.”

Spring 2019


The electric Pivot The world’s ability to imagine a zero-emission future has blossomed over the last decade, with Tesla’s all-electric vehicles responsible for much of that shift in public perspective. With advanced battery technology and electric powertrains, the company’s vehicles have come to stand for the view that cars can be quick, fun and stylish, as well as clean. Tesla’s increasing focus on developing energy generation and storage products at its Gigafactory 1 underlines its stated mission to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” That philosophy is attracting skilled McMaster engineers to California, to contribute their innovation and ingenuity to pivoting the world to electric. We asked a few of them to share their thoughts on working for Tesla.

develop this improved process. That signified to me that, regardless of your position at Tesla, solving the problem is of the utmost importance.

with other disciplines and improve my interpersonal skills. I was able to meet intelligent and driven individuals who provided different perspectives.

What should students who want to follow in your footsteps be doing today?

Eunice Lee

Participate in extra-curricular activities at McMaster in STEM or

Project Engineer, Equipment Engineering team 1 year at Tesla

(BEng ’16, Chemical and Bioengineering)

Why did you want to work at Tesla?

Mohanad Elshafie (BEng ’06, Electrical, MEng ’08, Mechanical) Senior Manufacturing Engineer 1 year at Tesla

Mohanad Elshafie

What do you like most about your job? Working with a smart, competent, driven group of people with a common goal. I remember during my first weeks after joining Tesla, we needed to develop an improved process on the production shop floor. And I was working directly in tandem with the senior director of the company to



outside of STEM. One of the most rewarding experiences I had was working on the McMaster Solar Car project. This allowed me to learn practical engineering skills from building the car to the flow of energy inside vehicle. Also, being part of the Maroons has allowed me to interact

I wanted to be a part of a team that’s changing the automotive industry by bringing EVs (electric vehicles) to the forefront. When you look at what Tesla has accomplished in the last 10 years, it’s impressive and rewarding to see that most of the big automakers are now developing their own all electric vehicles for the consumer.

How would you describe the atmosphere at Tesla? It’s been a rollercoaster ride! Tesla can be challenging at times and since it’s very fast paced, you have to be able to adapt to change but at the end of the day, it is very rewarding to see how far we’ve come when we take a step back. I was lucky enough to come near the

beginning of the Model 3 program and be a part of the production ramp. Even though it was tough at times, we were all motivated to work through and solve the production challenges at that time. There are a lot of talented engineers here at Tesla, and I love having the chance to be able to work alongside them and learn from their experiences.

What should students who want to follow in your footsteps be doing today? I am grateful for my co-op work experiences I’ve had during my undergrad so I would definitely recommend doing a term if you have the chance. I would also recommend trying a few different co-op roles to really know what you want to do after graduation as it can be pretty daunting to look for your first job after graduation. Don’t be afraid to reach out within your network of peers and mentors to help guide your decision as well. It may not come naturally to some of you, but trust me, networking is key. However, I do want to emphasize that everyone’s path to the same goal is and can be different, so just make sure you are learning and enjoying yourself along the way!

experience - while integrating it in a mission bent on helping transition the world to more sustainable methods and a way of life. All things that make a great product and mission!

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned since starting? Definitely that there is always more than one way to solve a common or uncommon problem. The solution to seemingly simple or complex problems can most often be found in unorthodox methods that may just be simpler than realized originally. It’s a hard way of thinking to appreciate until it’s in motion fully, or until one has seen a team collaboratively solve a problem in a stressful situation to understand. Being nimble, and open to ideas from all levels of the organization are what allow Tesla to be so disruptive despite its size and resources.

day. Building cars is hard, it’s a science and it is a monumental challenge in certain circumstances when dealing with unorthodox ways of solving common problems but looking for uncommon and innovative ways of doing it better. But being able to get up knowing I’m going to work with teams of problem solvers, hands-on learners and passionate people makes getting through the hard times that much easier. I also like that I get to be hands-on with the equipment that is directly allowing our products to be built, as well as leading a team that spends most of its day fixing, or improving these systems and equipment to directly impact the company’s bottom line through throughput improvements and efficiency improvements. Sustaining production lines is an art and one very much behind the scenes but nonetheless critical to the lifecycle of a vehicle from a manufacturing standpoint.

Dipen Nagpal (BEng and Mgmt ’14, Mechanical) Senior Mechanical Design Engineer, Interior Systems 2 years at Tesla

Mitchell Kos (B.Tech ’16, Automotive & Vehicle)

Why did you want to work at Tesla?

Equipment Maintenance and Engineering Supervisor Model 3 General Assembly 2 years at Tesla

Why did you want to work at Tesla? I was drawn to Tesla because of the way it approaches not only the manufacturing process of its vehicles, but the automotive industry as a whole. It has a dead set focus on rethinking the way the consumer looks at the vehicle product, design, technology and

I believe in the mission to accelerate the world’s transition towards sustainable transport. Tesla gave me the chance to be creative and lead the design of my own commodity of cutting edge technology, which was an unbelievable learning experience.

Mitchell Kos

What do you like most about your job? I have the rare pleasure to lead, and work with some of the most motivated and technically savvy people in the industry right now, and it’s one of the main reasons I get up for work every

How would you describe the atmosphere at Tesla? Fast-paced atmosphere where

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change is the only constant. Tesla is still a start-up amongst other automotive companies, therefore we have to sometimes go beyond our regular duties to complete tasks.

Dipen Nagpal

What should students who want to follow in your footsteps be doing today? Apply the knowledge of engineering and design in extracurricular teams after class (Formula SAE). Become an expert in designing and have a portfolio handy to showcase your accomplishments.

Kevin Mikrut (BEng ’14, Materials) Lead Process Engineer 1 year at Tesla

Why did you want to work at Tesla? I started working in manufacturing after graduation and really enjoyed the environment. I was inspired by the strong mission Tesla stands by and I knew the challenging road ahead of them would make for working



environment that would push me, and drive me to learn at an accelerated level. Elon has always said that the competition in the automotive industry is fierce and for us to survive, excellence has to be the passing grade. I wanted to be a part of something that completely changed the direction of an industry while working alongside some incredibly talented individuals and teams. It’s safe to say that Tesla has redirected the automotive industry, transitioning the focus to electrification and sustainability.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned since starting? For me the most interesting thing I’ve learned is simply what people are capable of when pushed to accomplish an incredible goal. The growth and innovation that has come out from the talented group of engineers at Tesla is really amazing. By staying focused, and making fact-based decisions for the betterment of the company, it’s inspiring to see the potential of the team at Tesla.

What should students who want to follow in your footsteps be doing today? Find what interests you and give yourself a stretch goal. Work towards finding ways to get closer and closer to achieving that goal. The challenges and experiences you’ve had will mold you to become a valuable candidate at companies like Tesla. Reaching your end goal will take time, so be patient and don’t get discouraged, challenge yourself to keep learning new skills and methodologies. At 27, it’s still early in my career, there are several paths I can

take. My new experiences will help me answer the questions I have about my next steps and what interests me most.

Justin Sma (BEng ’11, Mechatronics) Automation Controls Engineer 2 years at Tesla

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned since starting? The absolute breakneck agility that comes with competing against an entrenched industry. Tesla has to deliver quickly, efficiently, and successfully. This means taking a very different, and often innovative approach to problems.

What do you like most about your job? The opportunity to work with brilliant people from all over the world, each one an expert in their field.

What should students who want to follow in your footsteps be doing today? Network and get yourself out there. You can be the smartest person in the world, but if no one has ever heard of you, you’re not going to get hired. And conversely, develop your core skills by getting lots of experience. Theory and book knowledge are a good foundation, but engineers are all about practical solutions, and a big part of that is understanding the industry and how theory is applied to the real world.

@McMasterEng on Twitter

Building success from the ground up As chief operating officer of Adi Development Group, Saud Adi no longer does actual engineering work. However, the educational background in Technology and Engineering he received as an honours student at McMaster University is still beneficial to him on a daily basis. It allows him to effectively hire, manage and communicate with the dozens of engineers he employs and consults with. “As a developer investing millions in the construction of luxury buildings, it’s an invaluable asset that often surprises people in boardroom meetings,” says Adi. “The ability to understand, and even challenge the engineers, gives us the opportunity to collaborate and deliver quality buildings that are designed beautifully and built to higher standards.” Bringing those buildings to life is only part of what his company does – it also specializes in the sales and marketing of these properties – but construction is the half that Adi is most passionate about. “I’m amazed at how a raw piece of land can turn into 300 homes in a matter of four or five years – that has always intrigued me,” he says. “I’m

fortunate that I’ve integrated into the construction culture very well and it’s something I love to do.” Adi enrolled in McMaster’s Bachelor of Technology program after studying Construction Engineering at George Brown College, earning his degree in 2013. He was still a student in 2007, when he and his brother Tariq launched Adi Development Group. They started with the purchase of one property around the corner from their house and over the last decade have grown from a Burlington-based company into a highly successful enterprise with eight GTA projects underway. Adi is sharing some of the benefits of his success through a scholarship he created for B.Tech students. He says his gift offers him a way to give back to McMaster while also nurturing great talent. “I want to allow students to focus fully on school and alleviate the stress they can feel if they have to worry about making money while they are also trying to study.” Adi, who also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board, says he and his company also benefit from maintaining a close relationship with McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering. “I want to understand who are the best and brightest, so possibly we can bring them to work at Adi,” he admits. For those students with dreams of their own big success, Adi urges patience and persistence. “Success doesn’t come overnight,” he warns. “You have to enjoy the process. The process of getting to success is the fun part.”

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Fireproof sensor to track high-risk workers McMaster engineers have created a motion-powered, fireproof sensor that may help save the lives of firefighters, miners, oil workers and others working in high-risk situations. The sensor can track the location and movement of people in burning buildings, mineshafts or other hazardous environments where they cannot always be seen, and alert someone outside should they stop moving. About the size of a button-cell watch battery, the low-cost sensor relies on triboelectric (friction-generated) charging. It is designed to be easily incorporated into the sole of a boot, under the arm of a jacket or anywhere where motion creates a pattern of constant contact and release to generate the sensor’s operating power. The sensor was created by McMaster researchers — under Ravi Selvaganapathy, a professor of mechanical engineering — working with partners at UCLA and University of Chemistry and Technology Prague.

“Smart” surfaces may lead to medical advances McMaster engineers have solved a vexing problem by engineering surface coatings that can repel everything, such as bacteria, viruses and living cells, but can be modified to permit beneficial exceptions. The discovery holds significant promise for medical and other applications, making it possible for implants such as vascular grafts, replacement heart valves and artificial joints to bond to the body without risk of infection or blood clotting. The new nanotechnology has the potential to greatly reduce false positives and negatives in medical tests by eliminating interference from non-target elements in blood and urine. The research adds significant utility to completely repellent surfaces that have existed since 2011. Those surface coatings are useful for waterproofing phones and windshields, and repelling bacteria from food-preparation areas, for example, but have offered limited utility in medical applications where specific beneficial binding is required. The researchers, Tohid Didar, Mechanical Engineering assistant professor and his team, who collaborated with Dr. Jeffrey Weitz of the Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute at Hamilton Health Sciences to understand the challenges related to making successful implants, are now working on the next stages of research to get their work into clinical use.




Bachelor of Technology programs (B.Tech) celebrate 20th and 10th anniversaries At a November dinner, the Faculty of Engineering celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Bachelor of Technology degree completion programs and the 10th anniversary of the four-year B.Tech program. The vision for a program to offer degree-level education and employment opportunities for students with an aptitude for applied and hands-on work was born out of a partnership between Mo Elbestawi, then McMaster’s Mechanical Engineering chair, and Cheryl Jensen, former dean of Technology at Mohawk College. Elbestawi, former dean of Engineering and the current director of the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology, says the fundamental idea of B. Tech. was to have a flexible program that could easily adjust to new technologies and interests – an idea that stays true to this day. Following the launch of the Manufacturing Engineering Technology degree completion program in 1997, Elbestawi reached out to Art Heidebrecht, former dean of Engineering (198189), to spearhead the expansion of B. Tech. From 2005 to 2009, Heidebrecht, who is also a civil engineering professor emeritus, helped to develop the degree completion programs and the fouryear programs as the founding executive director of the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology Partnership. Today, there are over 1400 students enrolled in seven combined degree/diploma programs and degree completion programs, which include Biotechnology, and Automotive and Vehicle Engineering Technology and Software Engineering Technology.

New faculty appointments McMaster Engineering announces the following appointments, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Drew Higgins Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering After earning his PhD in 2015 from the University of Waterloo, Drew Higgins undertook a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University. He is developing novel nanomaterials and energy technologies for automotive applications.

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News Vincent Leung Assistant professor, Chemical Engineering Vincent Leung is a recent PhD graduate from Chemical Engineering at McMaster. He is creating vaccine formulations that are thermally stable so they can be easily transported and stored.

SeonHong Na Assistant professor, Civil Engineering SeonHong Na earned his PhD at Columbia University in 2018. His research focuses on computational geo-mechanics, multiphysics and multiscale modeling of natural and engineering systems with particular emphasis on coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes in soils and geological materials.

Richard Paige Professor, Computing and Software Richard Paige earned his undergraduate degree at McMaster in 1992 before embarking on an academic career that has taken him from Canada’s York University to the United Kingdom’s University of York. His research focus is on model-driven engineering and low-code approaches to software development. Boyang Zhang in the Department of Chemical Engineering has an associate member appointment in the School of Biomedical Engineering for a three-year term. Janie Wilson in the Department of Surgery has an associate member appointment in the School of Biomedical Engineering for a five-year term. Seshasai Srinivasan in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology has an associate member appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, effective Nov. 1, 2018. Amin Reza Rajabzadeh in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology has an associate member appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, effective Oct. 24, 2018. Tracy Becker — Adjunct assistant professor, Civil Engineering, three-year term. Paul Hynds — Adjunct assistant professor, Civil Engineering, three-year term. Dimitrios Konstantinidis — Adjunct assistant professor, Civil Engineering, three-year term. Ayman Saudy — Industry professor, Civil Engineering, three-year term.



McMaster students selected for national design challenge A team of engineering, commerce and science students is looking to reduce space junk and extend the lifespan of orbiting satellites as part of the 2018-2019 Canadian Reduced Gravity Experiment (CAN-RGX) Design Challenge. “When satellites in orbit run out of fuel, they are often decommissioned despite all onboard systems still functioning normally,” says Michael Stramenga, fourth year engineering student and leader of the McMaster Experimental Reduced Gravity (MERGE) team. The design challenge, organized by SEDS-Canada, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Canadian Space Agency, is hoping to find a better solution. McMaster’s team is studying the effects of sloshing during satellite refueling, and developing a slat-screen system to dampen and evenly disperse incoming fluid to minimize instabilities in the satellite. Once the competing teams finalize their designs, they will have six weeks to build their experiments which will be integrated into NRC’s Falcon 20 aircraft before the Flight Campaign scheduled for July 2019.

McMaster to participate in EcoCAR Mobility Challenge McMaster University is one of only two Canadian schools taking part in a North American competition to improve the energy efficiency and safety of an SUV. The EcoCAR Mobility Challenge is the latest Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. The four-year competition will see teams re-engineer a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer to incorporate advanced propulsion systems, electrification, and connected and automated vehicle technology to improve the vehicle’s energy efficiency, safety and consumer appeal. “We are very pleased and excited to participate as one of the only 12 university teams in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge,” said professor Ali Emadi, lead faculty advisor, McMaster Engineering EcoCAR Mobility Challenge Program. “I believe EcoCAR is an excellent collegiate automotive engineering competition for our research-focused student-centered approach at McMaster University.”


Student creates app that predicts snow days Imagine being able to predict whether or not a snow day is on the horizon with the touch of a button? Fifth-year Software Engineering and Management student Joe Crozier has made it possible by creating a free app, appropriately called The Snowday App. Using an algorithm written by Crozier, the app checks weather data from the user’s location to predict the likelihood of a snow day on the following day. For example, on the eve of the second snow day in two weeks in Hamilton, the app indicated there was a medium to high chance of a snow day for Tuesday, February 12. Since its launch in 2012, the

app has received approximately 250,000 downloads. The inspiration behind The Snowday App stems from Joe’s childhood in Collingwood, which tends to see higher levels of snow days due to its climate. “The app really sparked my love of programming and iOS development,” says Joe. “I was known as ‘The Snowday App kid.’ It solidified my identity as someone who makes apps.” Along with its prediction, The Snowday App includes witty messages to soften the blow of snow day hopefuls, such as “You should finish that assignment” and “Sorry to hear about that. Really.”

Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy celebrates a decade of detail Since opening its doors 10 years ago, the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy has garnered an international reputation for excellence. Established by McMaster, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Government and FEI Company, which designs and manufactures microscope technology, the centre offers an exceptional collection of instruments ranging from high-resolution scanning microscopes to an atom probe. “Even at the academic level, there’s no centre of the same magnitude internationally,” said engineering professor Gianluigi Botton, the centre’s founder and director. Gianluigi Botton, founder and director, The centre has been involved Canadian Centre for in a wide range of projects, Electron Microscopy including working with the Royal Ontario Museum to probe the structure and chemistry of meteorites, the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to understand the evolution and degradation of alloys used in nuclear power plants, and helping the City of

Hamilton assess the integrity of its water infrastructure. Botton, who also holds the Canada Research Chair in the Electron Microscopy of Nanoscale Materials and was recently elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, says the next decade promises to be just as exciting. “We will be investing in new infrastructure that will keep us on the leading edge of electron microscopy internationally and replace some of the older instruments,” he said.

Spring 2019



Professor elected as Fellow Chemical Engineering professor Heather Sheardown has been elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Biological and Medical Engineers (AIMBE). Sheardown also holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Systems and Heather is an expert in drug delivery, Sheardown contact lens materials, IOLs, polymer chemistry and bioengineering in the ophthalmic space. Fellows of the AIMBE are considered to be in the top two per cent of people in the field.

McMaster student wins Women in Transportation Award Anastasia Soukhov, a fourth-year Civil Engineering and Society student, has received the Undergraduate Women in Transportation Award. The award, worth $2,500, is given by the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS), an organization focused on the professional development, encouragement and recognition of women in transportation professions. In addition to undertaking a year-long work term at the transportation engineering consulting firm CIMA+, Soukhov has been involved with the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) McMaster Chapter.

ď‚Œ Faculty of Engineering McMaster University



Engineering Physics grad wins top prize at OPG Ignite Competition Mitchell Kurnell, Engineering Physics and Society alumnus and research associate at McMaster, is one of three 2018 Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Ignite Competition winners. He was awarded $25K in the Inspection and Maintenance category for his inspection tool innovation that uses laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). Kurnell’s solution will improve reactor safety, reduce worker doses and provide huge cost savings at OPG. He is working with supervisors David Novog, Engineering Physics professor and NSERC-UNENE Industrial Research Chair and John Preston, associate dean, Research and External Relations and Engineering Physics professor, on the project.

Materials Engineering professor wins prestigious steel industry award Joseph McDermid, Materials Science and Engineering professor, has won the 2018 Dale CH Nevison Award, which recognizes a person in the galvanizing field who has made a significant contribution to the industry. As the NSERC/Stelco Industrial Research Chair Joseph in Advanced Coated Steels McDermid from 2003 to present, McDermid has focused on integrating and developing new grades of advanced high strength steels for automotive weight reduction and safety enhancement with the continuous galvanizing process, the most widely practiced and cost-effective means of protecting steels against corrosion.


Computing and Software research team wins IBM Project of the Year Award

Christopher Anand

McMaster’s Computing and Software associate professor Christopher Anand and his research team have won the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies Project of the Year Award. Selected from a total of 48 projects from universities around the world, the team’s winning project aims to create hardware and software solutions that accelerate the computation of core mathematical functions needed for applications from computer animation to machine learning. The project was chosen as best exemplifying the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies’ mission by delivering excellence in applied research, exposing IBM development teams to new and emerging technologies, and transferring results into commercial products. The patented technology that results from this project will impact future generations of IBM processors.

International student team wins prestigious automotive engineering design award A collaborative team that includes students from McMaster’s Automotive Engineering Technology program won a first place award at the prestigious Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE) Annual Global Forum. The team won the road test competition with their Personal Urban Mobility Access (PUMA) project, which took two years to design, manufacture, assemble and test. PUMA is a portable, self-powered assisted vehicle that can be taken on a train or a bus and can be stowed or carried

indoors or made available on demand. The project addresses the first and the last mile situation as it mixes seamlessly with public transportation and personal urban transportation. Advised by faculty and staff from the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology, McMaster, students worked collaboratively with Virginia Tech (USA), Howard University (USA), ITESM Monterrey (Mexico), ITESM Estado de Mexico (Mexico), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) and UOIT (Canada) on the project. Seven teams in total competed at the forum.

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Are you an alumni who wants to get involved? Connect with us at: connect/alumni

Events: Staying connected with students and alumni

B.Tech 10th and 20th Anniversary November 29, 2018 Thank you to everyone who joined us as we celebrated 10 years of our Bachelors of Technology program and 20 years of our Degree Completion Program. We were joined by founders, alumni and friends in celebration of the long and happy partnership between McMaster Engineering and Mohawk College.

B.Tech Graduation Reception December 11, 2018 Congratulations to all of the Bachelor of Technology students who graduated in 2018! Best wishes to your future endeavors and we look forward to seeing what you accomplish.



Backpack to Briefcase January 23, 2019 Thank you to the engineering mentors who attended our Backpack to Briefcase event. It was our most successful networking and mentoring event yet! We had over 200 students connect and engage with over 100 mentors. Keep an eye out for future networking events in the near future!

Events: Staying connected with students and alumni

Badge Day at McMaster University We hosted 120 Girl Guides and Pathfinders on March 23rd for the Ontario Network for Women in Engineering (ONWiE) Badge Day. Participants spent the day with us earning a badge through fun and exciting hands-on STEM activities. A special thank you to our sponsor ArcelorMittal Dofasco for providing us with the support to make this event happen.

Guest speaker alumnus Paul Kerr November 21, 2018 Thank you so much to Paul Kerr, president and CEO of Scalar Decisions for taking the time to visit us at McMaster University. It was wonderful to hear about his journey through innovation and how he has made waves in the start-up industry.

Guest speaker Paul Boldt January 29-30, 2019 Thank you Paul Boldt for taking the time to visit McMaster University and speak to McMaster Engineering students. Boldt spoke on his specialties, intellectual property and semiconductors.

Spring 2019


Events: Staying connected with students and alumni

LinkedIn Seminar 2019 - How to create an effective profile February 5, 2019 Thank you Sean McMillan for visiting with us to give students tips and tricks to make their LinkedIn profile stand out. The students really enjoyed the session and were incredibly engaged. There is no one better to provide the students with steps to elevate their personal brand than someone who works for LinkedIn!

Mac Eng Connect The Engineering Alumni Office in collaboration with the Engineering Co-Op and Career Services office facilitated three Happy Hour- style networking events to connect students, alumni and employers. We look forward to continuing these events and encourage alumni to continue to share their journey with students.

17th Annual

Golf Tournament

June 7, 2019 11:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Lowville Golf Club Event contact: Carm Vespi



Events: Staying connected with students and alumni

Scotch Tasting November 8, 2018 Thank you so much to everyone who attended our scotch tasting event! We had such a wonderful time at the Scottish Rite of Hamilton tasting various scotches and connecting with old friends.

Women in Engineering Industry Night - 2019 February 4, 2019 Female engineering alumnae returned to McMaster to inspire and connect with current female engineering students. We had 14 different companies from various industries sponsor the event. Thank you for all attending, making our event a great success!

November 14, 2019 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Liuna Station Event contact: Carm Vespi 905-525-9140 x24906

Spring 2019


Applause and


AN AWARDS CELEBRATION May 9, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. LIUNA Station – Grand Central Ballroom 360 James Street North | Hamilton, Ontario


McMaster University Faculty of Engineering Leadership Award Angela Pappin, Vice-President Manufacturing, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, BEng. ‘88 Mechanical Engineering - a women of distinction driving business innovation, competitiveness and employment in Canada; a dynamic community leader recognized for her long-standing and continuing commitment to excellence in STEM and the advancement of women mentorship.

L.W. Shemilt Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award Faizel Lakhani, CEO, Guavus: A Thales Company, BEng. ‘93 Electrical Engineering - serial entrepreneur, expert in enterprise networking and security and next generation of Mobil networks going beyond the pipe.

Across the generations:

Watching history unfold “There’s a very different feel at McMaster,” says Rotimi Fadiya, an Electrical and Biomedical Engineering graduate, class of 2017. “It’s very tight-knit, very friendly. I chose Mac because I knew it would be a place where I could succeed both academically and personally.” As he entered his second year, Fadiya learned he had been awarded the Brash Academic Grant. “My first thought was, wow, someone took the initiative to support students. I’m very grateful,” says Fadiya, who has also been recognized as a Scotiabank Scholar by Toronto’s Black Business and Professional Association. “There are a lot of talented black individuals in situations that make it difficult to pursue a post-secondary education,” he says. “Just knowing there are people who want

you to succeed — that has a tremendous impact. It changes lives in a very meaningful way.” Ron Brash (1932-2006) graduated from McMaster with his BEng in 1964. As part of his estate planning, he established the Gordon and Agnes (Twambley) Brash Academic Grant in memory of his parents. “If I could have met Mr. Brash, first of all I would have said thank you!” says Fadiya. “I applaud him for looking out for students and for knowing the value of higher education.” The award has given Fadiya a greater appreciation for the importance of giving back to future generations. “The Faculty is building a reputation as the premier engineering school in Canada,” says Fadiya. “I feel as though I’m really part of something — like I’m watching history unfold.”

“My first thought was, wow, someone took the initiative to support students. I’m very grateful,”

To learn more about leaving a gift in your will, please contact: Ms. Terry Milson Senior Development Officer Faculty of Engineering McMaster University 905-525-9140, ext. 27391

Engineering Summer Programs Grades K-12 | July/Aug 2019



Entering grades K-8

Grades 9-12

CAMPS • Engineering and Science • Yes SHE Can! • Codemakers • Computers and Technology

COURSES • Engineering 101 • Science 101 • B. Tech 101: Automation Automotive Biotechnology • Bioengineering and Biomedical • Chemical and Materials • Computer Science • Electrical and Computer Engineering • Civil and Mechanical • Engineering Physics and Mechatronics

Engineering and Science



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MacEngineer Spring 2019  

The MacEngineer - The magazine for McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering Alumni

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The MacEngineer - The magazine for McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering Alumni