Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Super Summer Jobs

Chicka Chicka Bow Wowww.

Done third year. Done classes, and assignments, and studying, and exams, and… work!
I thought I’d talk a little bit about working throughout your undergrad, since today is my last shift working with the Engineering I Outreach office, and in a couple of days I'm off to work a summer co-op position!

In my first summer, I was a Headstart instructor for two first year engineering courses. Headstart allows students to complete up to two first year courses before entering Engineering in their first year. I had a wonderful time working there but my favourite aspect is seeing where all my students ended up. I frequently bump into many of them, many of whom are now entering their third year of engineering, or starting their own co-op positions!

Posing with Deborah McIvor, May@Mac coordinator for the Faculty.
Last summer I worked for the office that posts these biogs: Engineering I Outreach. I've literally done a little bit of everything here from designing magazine advertisements, to learning bits about database management, testing and launching a new panoramic website, and a whole lot of event planning, and coordinating in between.  One of the events I helped with again this year was May@Mac Open House on Saturday, May 11, 2013.  I've had a chance to work on tons of interesting and diverse projects, and every day evolves into something a little different than yesterday. I started the position this time last year, and kept working throughout the school year. A campus job is amazing for students. I could literally walk out of my class, and down the hall to make it to my work shift. They’re super flexible around your academic schedule, and know that your school work comes first.

This summer, I've landed a co-op position with a well-known company in Toronto! In retrospect, all my non-technical questions from the interview were usually answered with my experiences from the past two summer positions I've held. And now, in the next few months, I’ll be using many of my learned skills to help me in building a business plan and launch a set of training videos for their technical products. I can honestly say I'm nothing but excited!

New people, new software, new skills; It’s going to be a fantastic summer!

~ Helen

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Transformers, the MMRI and Formula Hybrid Cars ~ A Love Story

Hello world!
Author sitting in one of the McMaster Engineering Custom Vehicles, the Carpool
Me Sitting in the Carpool

My name is Christen and I am the new, 'old' kid on the block! I am going into my final year of Mechanical Engineering and Society here at McMaster, but it has taken four years to come out from behind the scenes to say hello on this amazing blog. I am heavily involved with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) here on campus, and have been since my first year developing workshops, and helping to organize conferences to get students excited about being a globally-minded engineer.
Author and other blog contributor Danielle dressed up for the Engineering formal, the Fireball
Danielle and I at Fireball

Aside from EWB and being a full time engineering student, I somehow manage to find time for skiing, kayaking, silk screening, indoor farming, and reciting Shakespeare in parks. I could go on and on about my various other interests and passions, but I feel you get the picture; just like a Transformer, there’s more than meets the eye!

Now that all the awkward introductions are done, let’s get to it! Last week I had the privilege of attending a showcase at the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI). What is the MMRI you might ask? It is a huge facility on McMaster campus doing research in polymer, automotive, aerospace, tool, die and mold industries. 
Graduate student Emma holding a Turner's Cube manufactured in the MMRI
Turner's Cube
I was starstruck! Imagine a room filled with million dollar equipment, machining parts that are strong enough to cut through steel. Not to mention, their Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines are so precise they can manufacture these cool Turner's Cubes in one go! It was a great time to chat with leading industry professionals and some of my favourite professors about manufacturing processes.

Also being showcased at this event was our Formula Hybrid Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) team sporting four awards from a competition earlier this May at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The formula hybrid car is designed by McMaster undergraduate and graduate students to compete in the Formula Hybrid International Competition
McMaster's Formula Hybrid SAE team posing around the car and their awards.
McMaster's Formula Hybrid SAE Team
Our team won several awards including: the 1st Place GM Best Engineered Hybrid Systems award and the IEEE Engineering the Future Award.  I am so proud to see our team rock the international stage in sustainability. I look forward to an encore performance next year!

That’s all for now folks!
McMaster's formula hybrid car racing on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway
McMaster's Formula Hybrid Car in Action (no, that's not me)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"The best weekend ever!" ~ Engineering Experience Weekend

Ciao everyone! 

May is a beautiful time on campus at McMaster University, and the warm weather arrived just in time for our annual outreach event for high school students considering our engineering program. As the coordinator for our Engineering Experience Weekend, I was pleased to welcome 66 prospective students for an overnight event that started just as our May @ Mac Open House wrapped up this past Saturday, May 11th. 

Along with my 18 undergraduate student leaders and five design challenge leaders, we greeted our guests with warm smiles and enthusiasm. The visiting high school students were assigned a team and a team colour, with each team led by two of our leaders. The weekend was off to a great start!
The orange team is hard at work.
The orange team is hard at work.

On Saturday night, we held a design challenge, where the students had to build a bridge to span a 75 cm gap. But there was a catch! The bridge could only be built from one side and needed to extant over to the other. The teams were given popsicle sticks, glue guns, tape and string as well as a remote controlled car to help them with their task. It wasn't an easy challenge, but all of the students can up with fantastic designs! 

Sunday morning, three McMaster Engineering alumni came to judge the bridges build for the design challenge. It was great to have Mac Eng graduates come back for this event. Everyone enjoyed the design challenge presentations and some of the students’ parents came to watch them too! 

The green team presenting their bridge to the judges.
The green team presenting their bridge to the judges.
Congratulations to the red team for wining the design challenge.

EEW would not have been possible without my wonderful team of volunteers! They are all fantastic leaders and I cannot thank them enough for all their help! 

To all the amazing students who came out to EEW, I hope you had  as much fun as I did! I enjoyed getting to meet you all and I know the team leaders and design challenge helpers did too. I look forward to welcoming you in the fall!

Until next time,

Some of the wonderful team leader volunteers.
Some of my wonderful volunteers.

P.S.Here are some helpful links for new students: