Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ho-Ho- Holidays!!!!

 Season greetings from all of us in Eng I Outreach office!

Congratulations to engineering students who finished off exams yesterday! Especially the first years who just finished their first semester as a Mac Eng student!

Take a look at the gingerbread house that some of the upper years made to help the first years celebrate! It’s a little in shambles after the students ate it… but it was definitely a tasty celebration of the end of exams J

I think I am speaking for everyone when I say winter breaks are just so much more relaxing when you are in university. Why, you may ask?  Well, the winter break is at the end of the first semester, thus we are done with those courses for good and can stretch our legs and take a nice relaxing break before the new semester comes and pull us back in the library!

If you followed our survival guide like you should have, I assume you had a swell time writing your finals and most likely are sipping eggnog while reading this. I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! In case you do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you the happiest holidays and a pleasant winter break. Go pour yourself some more eggnog or make a ginger bread house or climb the Kilimanjaro, sky is the limit!

Give yourself a pat on the shoulder; you made it through another year! Take moment to remember your happiest memories and maybe some moments which were not exactly happy, but maybe made a positive change in you, made you a stronger person and taught you a valuable lesson.

Life is all those memorable moments, so take a break and prepare yourself for a whole new year! May this year to be the best one yet!

Monday, December 3, 2012

How to survive exams & make it to the holidays!

Exam season is here! It’s tough times for university students, especially engineers. Here are some tips from my friend, Helen, and I on how to survive exams and make it through to Christmas break! 
[Disclaimer: All advice to be taken at your own risk!] J

Mary’s survival tips for exam season:

  •  Make a study plan.  Remember, there are two types of lessons, the easy ones which you don’t need to study and the hard ones which you cannot learn so don’t waste time studying them.
  •  NO Procrastination! Are you procrastinating right now? If you have an exam to study for stop reading this and go back to studying!
OH, you are still here….sigh. Ok, here are some more tips I guess:
  •  Stay away from your phone and computer as much as possible. Those texts and notifications can wait. In fact, throw your phone out of the window this instant!
  •  Put that coffee mug away! It makes you hyper and makes it hard to take naps and get your 12 hours of sleep per night.
  • Eat a lot of chocolate. It makes you happy and keeps you focused. (You can make exercising one of your New Year’s resolutions in less than a month). 
  • Just chilling with the associate dean :) (L to R: Mary, Helen) 
  •  Eat food, take breaks and stay alive. Make yourself a nice 5-course dinner to reward your hard work during the day. Remember:  Grandma’s food is delicious because she spends a lot of time prepping it, so do not choose a lousy recipe just to save time.

Helen’s survival tips for exam season:
Ok folks, my turn now. Let me tell you the key to doing exams Helen-style.
  •  Look ridiculous. For the ladies, throw that hair into an obnoxious, messy bun atop your head. Sweatpants? Yes...  all day, every day. For the men, ‘tis the season of bedhead, and although Movember has come to pass, the university community will see their fair share of unshaven-ness. (Count how many neck-beards you can spot! Decembeard? Yep.)
  •   Stay glued to your electronics. How else is your friend going to wake you up in the morning? Or tell you that you wrote down the wrong time for the exam?
  • Caffeinate yourself. Coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola are staples to achieving this, but of course there are interesting alternatives. I hear wonderful things about chocolate covered coffee beans.
  •  Stick to your vegetables. Chocolate is a no-go. Do you want to fit into your ugly Christmas sweater? YES. OF COURSE YOU DO!  It’s the only true way to make grandmothers happy.
  • Stay hydrated. Remember all that caffeine you consumed? It dehydrated you. And with all that liquid consumption, you’re bound for washroom breaks every 15 minutes. In fact, you should be due for one right now.

Best of luck with your exams, and give us feedback on how you survive the holidays!  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holiday Fun at McMaster!

Hello World!

What a whirlwind the past few months have been! We're currently in the last few weeks of first semester before exams and the profs have really been keeping us busy. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel...Winter Holidays! There is nothing more exciting than knowing you get 3 weeks off to relax and not worry about school. With the season fast approaching, Mac Eng has really taken on the holiday spirit.

This past weekend was the Hamilton Santa Claus Parade and as tradition dictates the engineers were present to ring in the holiday season. Our various car teams were present and the "Redsuits" (engineering spirit leaders) were out handing candy canes to children and singing Christmas carols to our heart's content! This was my 4th year marching in the Parade and it did not disappoint. Below are a few shots of our amazing marchers in the parade.
Our lovely Mac Eng paraders!

Action shot of the two Carpools during the parade

Some amazing Redsuits leading the Eng team

Oh no! Someone was left behind!

Along with the Santa Claus Parade, Mac Eng holds an annual fundraiser event called Santa Hog. At Santa Hog we raise money for Interval House, a women's shelter, by caroling from class to class asking for donations. Now, these are not your average Christmas carols. Like everything we do here at Mac Eng, we take our own spin on traditional carols and make them about Mac Eng. If you're wandering around campus on November 30th you're sure to see us spreading Christmas joy!

Well, that's all for me! Gotta go back and hit the books.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Magic of Midterm Season

No matter what they always seem to sneak up on you. You question your knowledge: have I even learned anything yet? Or, on the flip side, you ask yourself “how am I going to retain all of this information?”

Yes, you know what I’m talking about. Midterms. Now, some of you may have tests labelled as such in high school, but if you’re like me and went to a semestered school, they were a new phenomenon upon entering university. At the end of the day, they’re just another test.

From my experience in first year, there really wasn’t a “start” and “end” date to the midterms. The reality is each of your classes will have 2 or 3 “midterms” so you’ll have them starting around the end of September and going all the way to the end of November. They’ll come in waves, having two in a week and such, but there seems to always be one on the horizon.

The great thing about these magical tests is that since there are two or three per course, the weighting is nicely distributed! If you have a hard time on one, it will not seal your fate on passing or failing the course! There’s always a chance to make up for some mistakes. Plus, there’s always the exam which is a large chunk of your grade in a course.

Second years studying in the Bob Loree Undergraduate Engineering (BLUE) Lounge. It's a great place to ask upper years for help!
So, when you start engineering, and you put those test dates in your calendar, don’t freak. Take a deep breath, and plan ahead:
(1)   Don’t start cramming the night before. Seriously. I know you hear this all the time, but it’s so true.
(2) Do practice problems. Engineering is about application, so don’t just read notes.
(3) Use the resources available – talk the prof or Teaching Assistants if you’re having problems, and also the Internet is a pretty marvelous thing. There are some great videos online.
(4) Figure out how you study best. Some people do the group thing, and some people need to study alone. Some need silence, while others rock out to some classical music in the background.
(5) Don’t cram the night before. (So key it takes up two spaces on this list)

At the end of the day, one of the best feelings a student can have is walking out of a midterm they aced. But sometimes, even when you work REALLY HARD, it’s just not your night. And that’s okay. Just keep swimming. 

Later days,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back to school--Bring on the fun!

Wow, I can't believe September is over! It feels like only yesterday I was donning my redsuit and welcoming first year students into McMaster Engineering. Welcome week is always one of my favourite times of year. Everyone is so excited to be back at school, and the campus is so energetic and enthusiastic! I made so many friends in first year, and I know they're going to have an amazing time during the year. From "Carpool" parties to bus pulling, it was truly a week to remember! On faculty day we formed groups of 20-30 first years and 5 reps for some fun-tastic engineering games. Check out my wicked awesome group below. What a bunch of stunners!

Here we have some of the amazing first year students pulling a Hamilton public bus across the downtown core of Hamilton for Shinerama! It's been a tradition in Mac Eng for years as a fundraising event  to help fight cystic fibrosis.

And finally, just a shot of the most fantastic group of people you will ever meet!

Just because Welcome Week is over, that doesn't mean the campus has been dead. Far from it! Coming up we have the annual Engineering and Science Olympics, an event that is run for high school students to get them interested in science and introduce them to the McMaster campus. On October 11th we will have around 1000 high school students from schools across Ontario exploring campus and participating in various activities throughout the day. If you're school is coming down for the event, I can't wait to meet you! Don't be afraid to say high to some of the awesome volunteers we have helping out with the event. They want to welcome you guys too!

Anyways, I have to get back to my mountain of homework awaiting me.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Games Begin!!!

As far as I can remember, I was never a big fan of sports.

I never had a favorite soccer team or watched NBA play offs. Believe it or not, after living in Canada for 5 years, I am not even sure how many players a hockey team has!!! However, there is one sports event I have never missed: The Olympics.

I find the idea of the Olympics fascinating. It is a symbol of peace for all 5 continents to come together, put aside their differences and bond for a single purpose. During Olympics all nations come together, enjoying the ceremony, watch the games, learn about other nations and once again remember to share their similarities and celebrate the differences.

Being a feminist, this year’s Olympics games are extra special to me; for the first time in the history of the Games, there will be a female entrant from every competing nation. For example, Saudi Arabia,alongside Brunei and Qatar, has consented to allow female delegates to compete in the 2012 Summer Games.

Women have come a long way since the beginning of the games. In 1900, only a total of 11 women participated in the Olympics (for the very first time!) but as of 2012, every country competing in the July 27-Aug. 12 Olympics will be represented by both male and female athletes.

Joseph Veloce, Mac Engineering grad
Joseph Veloce, Mac Engineering grad .
Watch the games and don’t miss out on this very special event!

Join us to cheer for Joseph Veloce, a recent grad of McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, who is competing in Canada's Olympic track cycling team. 

You can read the story of his life as an Engineering student and a professional athlete here: . Also keep up with McMaster athletes in Olympics by visiting

I'm so excited for the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies today! Let the games begin!!  ~Mehrdokht

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Keeping an Eye on Things

When did it get to be the middle of July!? I remember back in May thinking, "Wow! I have so much time to relax and do nothing!" Well I can safely say that with work and summer school, I have been kept very busy. And that's just the way I like it :)

I have been fortunate enough to be put on a very interesting project at work. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs I am working with in Dr. Heather Sheardown's chemical engineering lab this summer, and we deal with creating novel ways to treat ocular diseases. My project is dealing with delivery of drugs to the retina, the back portion of the eye, using fibrin gels. If you have taken grade 11 or 12 biology you may recall that fibrin is a protein found in our blood that forms clots when we are wounded to stop bleeding. We are borrowing the principles of fibrin clot formation and are using these fibrin clots to form gels that can could potentially deliver medication to the eye. The picture below shows a fibrin clot I made in the lab. As you can see it's fairly opaque and not ideal for use in the eye, but that's the beauty of experimentation! Now I get to figure out why it looks like this and how to fix it.
Fibrin gel made in the lab combining fibrin and thrombin protein molecules.
When I'm not hard at work, I love to spend my time outside and enjoy the weather! Hamilton is known as the "City of Waterfalls", and with more than 120 waterfalls in the area there's nothing more enjoyable than hiking up the trails to the top of the falls for a picnic and some fresh air. If heights aren't your thing you can always wander through the Royal Botanical Gardens, or even see some exotic birds in the Aviary located near McMaster campus. Or if you just want to beat the heat, Port Dover is only an hour away and the beach there is awesome! For those of you who are adventurous like me, you could always join the McMaster Outdoors Club and go on camping trips around Ontario. A few weeks ago I went on a hiking trip to the Bruce Peninsula, and it was incredible! Such amazing sights and experiences with great people.
All of the trippers posing for a photo atop a cliff along the Bruce Peninsula.
So, whatever you're doing this summer, I hope you're all making the most of it!


Friday, July 13, 2012

It Feels like a Fireball Outside

“You’re hotter than a bunsen burner!”

I got that note from the McMaster Engineering Society (MES) representative on Valentine’s Day in my first year of engineering. All the Eng I students in my calculus class got similar notes from the MES, and I remember laughing while everyone compared them. I have to say though, with the heat wave this summer, sometimes I really do feel like I might spontaneously combust.

Relaxing after May@Mac
Open House this year
Luckily, for the past two years I have held Work-Study positions at McMaster. The Work-Study program offers part-time and full-time jobs on campus to help students financially pay for school and alleviate their loans. Tons of positions are available from office assistants to research assistants with profs (like Genna!). Not only do I meet other students and staff members, they keep the buildings wonderfully cool! I’m in the Engineering I Outreach office this summer (I was a Teaching Assistant for L.E.A.P. last summer), and I’ve been starting my mornings with lemonade on my bus ride to the campus to beat the heat. In the school year it is nice taking the bus, because we have the HSR bus pass with our student card; I just have to flash my student ID to board. Stepping off the bus onto campus is one of my favourite parts of the day. McMaster’s campus really is beautiful this time of year!

The flower arrangements on the walkway
 to Burke Science Building (BSB)
As much as I’m enjoying the summer, I can’t help but be excited for fall! It’s a little cooler then, and as a Welcome Week representative (aka ‘Redsuit’), I’ll get to join all the incoming first years for bonding activities like pulling a city bus through the Hamilton streets and cheering Mac on at the football game. Then, if it gets too hot, we can always go for a swim at Gulliver’s Lake for the engineering retreat. It’s a great week: be sure not to miss it!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer. Take some time to have fun in the sun!

Software Engineering & Co-op III

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Memories of my First Year!

Coming to University could look very scary.

Mary enjoying a cup of tea!
You have no idea what to expect, you have heard all these different stories and have talked to every student or alumni you could reach but yet, facing it yourself is a whole different story.

For some it could be a little more challenging; living away from family for the first time, having English as a second language or being a newcomer in Canada are some of the challenges many students face in their freshman year.

I had all of the above! I came to Canada in 2008 and had only 2 years of high school to learn English. I was pretty terrified of the idea of coming to a new city on my own and entering an unfamiliar community. Even though I was only a 2 hour bus ride away from my family, somehow it felt like they were at the other end of the world.

But don’t let that scare you! Here comes my most important point:  Being a newcomer is not as hard as it looks. The rest of the incoming first year students know as much as you do about the university!  Also, the community is so tight and welcoming that it doesn’t take long before you will fit right in! From the very first day of the frosh week I felt right at home [Did I mention how awesome Welcome Week is? Find out more here:]

Mac engineering students have an especially exciting student life.  There are plenty of fun events and lots of clubs to join to help you bond with people who share same interests as you.

Basically, Mac community members know the difficulty of adjusting to a new life style, and they all support making your experience the best it can be, both socially and academically.

After two years as a ‘Mac Eng’ student, I am still as in love with campus as I was the first year. I’m confident that I made the right choice as I pursue my chemical engineering degree. ~ Mehrdokht ('Mary')

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer's Almost Here!

Hello world!

So much has been going on this summer, I don’t even know where to begin! For the past month and a half I have been working with Dr. Heather Sheardown, one of my chemical engineering professors, in her lab on campus. I have the opportunity to work with graduate students learning from them and working alongside them on their experiments. It has been an incredibly educational experience. Our lab deals primarily with biomaterials and drug delivery to the eye. I have been making various contact lens materials infused with drug, and tested their ability to release drug directly to the eye to treat disease. We do this to increase the effectiveness of the drug in treating disease. It’s really cool!

Genna, Josh & Javaun volunteering at May@Mac Open House
Here I am volunteering to greet
future students at May@Mac Open House!
I hope you all are excited for summer to arrive! To all you grade 12 students, I hope you didn’t have too hard of a time deciding what school you will attend. If any of you attended our May@Mac Open House last month I hope you enjoyed exploring around campus! Hopefully we were able to convince you to all to come at Mac.  And to all you who did choose McMaster, I can’t wait to meet you in September! I’m an orientation leader for the faculty of engineering this year, so you’ll find me hooting and hollering in my red jumpsuit all Welcome Week long!

If you have any questions, or want to know what to do next in preparing for Mac, visit for the answers!
Have an amazing summer guys! ~Genna

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Almost there...(Paula)


So, officially 4 out of 5 exams done. Let's see...mechanics, then stats, heat transfer, and biomechanics. Like I said before though, spread out over a reasonable period of 11 days. And my last one isn't until Wednesday! So a nice 8 day break, during which time I regrettably am having my wisdom teeth out - have you had yours out? How was it? I am so not looking forward to it. :S

Between my last exam and the start of work, I have a little over a week off so I'm heading to Cuba! Woohoo! Have any of you been? I'm going to Varadero because the beaches are supposed to be b-e-a-utiful :) I can't wait! Writing that last exam, I'll surely only be dreaming of this:

As for work, I'm going on a 16 month internship through the McMaster Co-op program at L3-Wescam, in a manufacturing engineering position. Internships/co-op are really good experiences to get in your undergrad so that when you graduate you'll be really marketable. Also, the co-op program is great because you can join at any time up until the second last year of your if you're unsure about signing up, you can always wait and see if co-op becomes of interest to you. That's what happened to me!

Anyways, everyone, enjoy the beautiful weather today - 21 and sunny! Too bad I have to get my teeth out this afternoon or I'd go play at the nearby waterfalls in Dundas.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Last minute fun before exams. (Genna)

Hello world!

Looks like it’s been a few weeks since I shared the goings on of my life! School has gotten a little hectic this time of year, what with term projects wrapping up and last minute assignments the profs just love throwing our way. The bright side is that in less than a month summer begins! I’m quite fortunate this year to only have 4 exams, and they’re all spread out over 3 weeks! It gives me lots of time to study, and not stress out :P

With the end of the term also comes the last minute get together before we all settle down for exams. The Eng Musical ended 2 weeks ago, so the cast, crew, and band of the show decided to have a little get together and go out for sushi:). We had an amazing run, and got lots of positive reviews. Can't wait for next year, it's going to be even better! Check out some shots from behind the scenes below:
The final shot of the show. Isn't it impressive?
The absolutely amazing cast, band, and crew of the 2012 McMaster Engineering Musical!
Some last minute dance rehearsing in the dressing room. Check out those jazz hands!
We even had a giraffe!

Well, I guess I better hit the books. Those biochemistrynotes won’t review themselves!



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kipling! (Paula)

Hey guys!

How's it hanging? Hope you're all amped for the expected sunshine this week! Good weather makes everything so much better don't you think? :)

Speaking of, I don't know about where you live, but in Hamilton on Friday at about 6pm we had a freak snowstorm!!! I was so upset! The snow actually ... wait for it ... stayed on the ground! This, when only a week before it was 26 and sunny. I hope this inspires you to think about the effects of global warming, and how you can change your habits to create less waste and pollution 8-).

Anyway, that snow fell at the worst time possible - right before all of the graduates were heading to campus to get transportation to the Kipling Formal (i.e. the engineering graduation formal). As a (non-graduating, but lucky) guest, I was pretty concerned about getting soaked and freezing before even getting to the formal! Thankfully my roomate saved the day and offered to drive myself, my date, and all his housemates and their dates. So, alas, no one's hair or outfit was ruined :)

Above: The mechanical engineers' rocket!

Above: The civil engineers' rope bridge, and the materials engineers' playpen.

Did you notice the mention of the word GRADUATES above, by the way? That's right - all the graduating students of the class of 2012 left their "kipling gifts" for us overnight last Thursday (including a McTerials play pen, a huge model rocket in the side of one of the arts building, and some "Mecheroni and Cheese" for grabs in the eng building lobby) before getting their coveted iron rings at the kipling ceremony Friday afternoon. How exciting! Still 3 more years until I get my ring though...siiigh! Luckily, school is a pretty fun place to be so I'm ok with taking the long way to get to "my precious" :P

Anyway, I'm out everyone - first exam is in 4 days eek!! Happy Tuesday!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring is in the Air! (Paula)


Guess what? 2 more midterms down, so 2 to go! Both next week, unfortunately, and 2 evenings in a row, but it'll be nice to have a free weekend after :). This week's agenda: 1 lab, 2 assignments. Not too bad, but seriously so hard to focus with this amazing weather!! Today it's supposed to be 17 degrees and sunny, and I'm free as of 1pm. Much more appealing to go for a run on the Hamilton-Brantford rail trail (which conveniently runs behind my house) and then lounge in the sun, don't you think? But odds are I'll have to at least bring a little work outside with me, as I did on Sunday studying for my heat transfer midterm:

Best way to study, eh? Smoothie, picnic blanket, and sunshine! Oh, and books ;). I have a great backyard to hang out in, actually - it has a reasonably-sized deck, and a 2-level grassy area with stairs and an arbor in between! Very enticing to go outside :)

Anyway, enjoy the day everyone! And the rest of your March Break week, for that matter. Let's cross our fingers for continued temperatures about 15 degrees! :D


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm baaack! (Paula)

Hey guys!

Long time no's been a busy month! Let me start off by saying my "reading" week holiday was absolutely superb, with a few days of glorious skiing in Quebec with some friends. Considering the totally weird winter we've been having, I was actually really happy to see snow ... and play in the snow...and build in the snow...and throw the snow! I bet you're all looking forward to your March Break next week - any cool plans? Feel free to comment below!

Unfortunately, now that reading week is over exams loom ahead...yikes! Unlike last term, though, I have some decent space between each exam - mostly because I start on the first day and end on the last day! You might think this might be like THE worst thing ever, but actually I'm happy to have time to study for everything. There's nothing worse than working really hard all semester and then having several exams crammed into not nearly enough days. Personally, I like to be able to focus on one at a time - and April's schedule will mostly allow me to do that :D. So wish me luck!

More importantly, engineering welcome week representative (also known as "redsuit") tryouts are happening right now! That means that all of the redsuit hopefuls for September 2012 are currently strutting their stuff hoping to be selected to welcome you to our campus in a few months' time. Redsuits tend to be really outgoing and excitable, as you'll certainly see if you come join us at Mac Eng!

Above: A friend and I playing in the snow in our redsuits!

Anyway...back to the grind! Still 4 midterms, 6 assignments, and 1 report to do before the end of term...but who's counting right?! :P

Peace out lake trouts!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#Rezlife (Daniela)

Hey everybody!

So us lucky university students had our only break of the semester this past week. Yes, it was the much anticipated reading week, where some people like myself try (and fail) to get ahead on school work. It’s a good chance to catch up with friends and family and maybe do some coveted winter sports. But alas, that week comes and goes in a blink of an eye and I am already back to my home-away-from home: Moulton Hall.

Move-In to Moulton Hall Welcome Week 2011
(Sneak peek to your move-in :P )

Despite being in second year, I am in residence again, and having spent two years on campus, I have some good insights into residence life. At Mac, there are many different residence options and themes. There’s your standard dorm style, with a range of 1 to 4 occupants, suite or apartment style. Then you have to throw in themes like all-female, international, substance-free, etc. I’ve lived in a double and single room, each offering their pros and cons. Double is great because you have someone to watch movies and hang with all the time, and single is sometimes nice because you get that “me” time.

A very essential tool for any student living on campus is the meal card. You ID card, which doubles as the magical swipe card for purchasing food, is your key to sustenance. I was blown away by all the options on campus when I first arrived. Eventually, I stumbled upon the buffalo chicken wrap which I ate way too many times. Not going to lie, the food does get a little tiring, and if you let it, the Freshmen 15 will happen. It’s not a myth.

Rez is great for two main reasons:

1) Convenience. You’re a stumble out of bed away from class.

2) Opportunity. Residence gives you a whole other community outside your faculty to be a part of, with leadership positions even in first year with the Inter-Residence Council. Then later on, there’s a chance for Community Advisor or Residence Welcome Week Rep.

For more info and PICTURES(!) check out the housing services site here:

Later days,


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Work work work....then fun! (Genna)

Hello World!

So the semester is well underway, and in the grand tradition of engineering I am now buried in midterms and assignments. I’m talking about constant back to back midterms peppered with assignments, tutorials, and lab reports. Doesn't that sound like fun? Well, to me it actually is! As much as the workload may be daunting I do love what I’m learning. Although I’m not too excited for my 3 midterms in a row next week…Ugh!

Oh well! One by one I’ll get it all done. What’s keeping me going this week is the thought of Karaoke Night with the cast/crew/band of the engineering musical! We like to act a little silly from time to time, and what could be sillier than singing the Spice Girls at the top of your lungs in front of a group of strangers?! We like to do bonding activities here at Mac Eng - it’s like one big happy family!

Above: Here's a group shot of the absolutely fantastic cast of the 2012 Mac Eng Musical. Can't wait for the whole show to come together!

Above: Musical is serious business! Here we are rehearsing a scene in the show. We are so intimidating!

I can’t wait for reading week. The best part about it: sleeping in every day in the week because there are no classes! I think I may go skiing with some friends from high school…or just spend the time at home with my dog :P

On an exciting note, I got rehired with one of my professors, so this summer I get to spend time doing research in the laboratories on campus. It’s really fun, and I actually have a chance to apply the material I've learned in class to a real life situation!

Anyways, I gotta go back and hit the books. I’ll tell you all about my summer job another day. Hope everyone’s having a fantabulous February!



Friday, February 3, 2012

If you're not Part of the Solution, you're Part of the Precipitate (Daniela)

Hello friends!

I hope February is off to a great start for you (it’s 29 days this year, you know). I’d like to take some time to talk to you about Chemistry labs! Every first year engineering student has to take CHEM 1E03, and if you’re like Genna and myself and decide on Chemical Engineering, you get to take CHEM 1AA3 in second year!

If I think back to my high school chemistry labs, it’s striking how different they are compared to university chem labs. First of all, high school labs are what, 40 minutes? At Mac, the labs are 2 and half to 3 hours long. The funny thing is, it’s sometimes a rush to finish.

To participate in labs, you’re required to take an online safety course so you know how to handle and dispose of certain chemicals and various safety precautions. Guess what? You can actually use strong acids! They’re available! Woo!

The most pleasantly surprising thing for me when I entered my first chem lab was that there is legit equipment, and most of it is set up for you when you get there! For example, the lab I did this week required titrations, an electric pH meter, a fume hood and various acids and bases. We had to find the isoelectric point of casein by first precipitating it with an acid, and then putting it back into a solution using a base. It was really cool, although my lab partner and I both had issues precipitating the casein.

Sometimes, labs are individual and sometimes they are done in pairs. It depends on what equipment is needed and the difficulty of the experiment.

I enjoy chem labs a lot, and I’m glad I get to do them again in second year. You get to throw on a lab coat, some heavy duty goggles, and accurately measure, graph and calculate. Labs are a great way to learn about the material you hear about in lecture, and they are pretty fun if I do say so myself!

Later days,


Where did January go?! (Paula)

So even though we have no snow to show for it, it IS in fact already February...which means 2 things:

1) Dun dun dun....Midterm season is upon us! I've written 2 of 10 so far, and to be honest I didn't enjoy them too much. Hopefully the rest of them are kinder! Luckily I have the next full week to study for my Heat Transfer test on Thursday, so no excuses for not being maximally prepared!!!

2) It's almost reading week! Reading week is like March Break for University students - inevitably some reading and studying does actually need to get done, but it's a great opportunity to get away for a few days. Maybe go to a cottage, or hit the slopes or the beach, or maybe just take the time to chill at home for the week and enjoy the lack of classes and labs.

I'm heading to Tremblant for the week with a group of friends to do some skiing and snowboarding, and some cross-country skiing as well. It will definitely be a nice change of pace! Well, as long as we get some snow before then.

Anyways, back to the grind. Have to get started studying for Heat Transfer!

Have an awesome weekend,

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Hello world!

The name’s Genna, and I am one of the new contributors for the Hear it From Her blog! I am a 3rd year Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering student, and I’m actively involved in the student life of Mac Eng and various engineering clubs. Like Paula and Daniela, I am also a Redsuit.

Funny story, I was actually a life science student in my first year, but I learned the error of my ways (no offense to those life sci students out there!) and switched over to Eng in the summer of my first year. One thing I can say about the process: endless summer school=no fun! But I’m glad I made the switch because I love my faculty now!

Anyways, life is great here at Mac Eng. I am part of the McMaster Engineering Musical (cast member and choreographer), and rehearsals are in full swing! My Saturdays and Sundays are now devoted to singing, dancing, and generally making a fool of myself. It is definitely one of my favourite extra curricular activities.

The show is 100% ours. We write the songs and script ourselves, we are the actors in the show, the band is made up of students, and even the crew is all undergrad engineers! If you’re curious about the show, check us out at and you can read about some of our past shows. This year we’re doing (drumroll please)……..THE ENG KING! Oh yes, it is a spoof on the Lion King, and it is going to be absolutely amazing!

Now I do get the lovely task of managing my time between school, musical, volunteering, and maybe having a social life! Just kidding, my extracurricular activities are super duper social. Tonight’s plan: maybe finish my process simulation homework, and then watch Disney movies till the wee hours of the morning with my housemates. Sounds like a good night? I think so!

Anyhoo, that’s all for now folks! You’ll get updates from me periodically about the goings on in my life; I know you’ll all be waiting on the edge of your seat!



Thursday, January 19, 2012

School: More than just Homework (Daniela)

Personally, I love school. I know, I know, you must be thinking “This girl is crazy!" But the reality is, I love learning. And I’m not talking about differential equations, chemical reactions, or potential energy. I’m talking about the experiential learning that comes from joining clubs, teams and doing stuff outside of class. I participate in a broad range of extra-curricular activities, but one with my highest level of involvement is with the McMaster chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). EWB is national organization that does work in Canada and some African countries, but I don't really want to go on about what EWB is. Rather, I want to tell you about the EWB conference I attended last week in Ottawa.

Students and professionals from across Canada, and delegates from Africa, gathered in the nation’s capital to discuss the organization's new vision, learn problem solving skills and how to have Systemic Innovation (which was the theme of the conference this year).

Delegates listen attentively to Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of War Child (And McMaster Graduate!).

I had an absolutely amazing time at the conference! First of all, I got to reunite with people I went to Ghana with last summer, and most importantly, I had very critical discussions and came out learning about myself, the world at the moment, and forming my own new opinions.

So what can you take out of this? Well, conferences are an amazing opportunity to network with other students and people already in industry (can anyone say job opportunities?!), as well as learn about current issues and develop important soft skills!

The moral of the story is: school doesn’t just give you homework and tests. It provides the platform to have AMAZING experiences.

Later days,


Monday, January 9, 2012

Following the Campaign Trail (Daniela)

Today marks the beginning of the second week of the winter semester. Everyone is now one semester wiser, and I know I certainly have new goals to better stay on top of my work and assignments.

Beyond the standard exhilaration of a new semester, we have a little bit more to get excited about. Tomorrow and Wednesday are the two voting days for the McMaster Engineering Society President for the 2012-2013 year. The MES is a great opportunity for students who
have a variety of interests and skills and want to get involved. You can edit and publish our magazine (Frequency), submit articles to our newspaper (The Plumbline), organize the McMaster Engineering Competition, and also run a variety of events. The Presidential election is the first one of the year, and will be followed shortly by elections for our many other council positions.

If you are interested in reading the candidates' campaign statements, check out the MES website here:

I know I am very excited to vote tomorrow, and I hope my peers do the same!

Later days,


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Welcome back! (Paula)

Hey Everyone!

Happy New Year and welcome back to a new semester at McMaster Engineering! My name is Paula and I am in third year Mechanical Engineering and Society. Like Daniela, I am also a redsuit.

I always love the beginning of the term, not only because the schoolwork isn't in full swing yet, but because it's time to think about what I'd like to be involved in. I'm thinking about rejoining the Master's swim team that I swam on all of first year. The practices are flexible and it's a fun way for me to stay in shape. I'm sure you've heard this before, but whatever schooling you decide to do make sure you find something active and fun to stay involved in! Your studies are important, but it's also very important to find a "work-life balance". For me, and I think for you too, this is constantly evolving and changes based on course load, commitments and even relationships!

Luckily for me, I have 5 courses this term instead of the 6 I took last term. Woohoo! So I may even start to horseback ride again when I can, which I usually only do in the summer. Enough about me though! What I really want to stress right now is that even though engineering is busy, and certainly a lot of work, it is absolutely manageable to pick up some activities that you like to do outside of your studies.

Hmmm, speaking of studies...I`d better get on that. I totally already have an assignment in heat transfer!

Keep it real,