Inspired at UW Engineering Symposium

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A couple of weeks ago, during March Break and after hitting the awesome UW Engineering Explorations tour, I took my kids to a UW Capstone Engineering Symposium in the Davis Centre. On display that particular day were 4th year group projects from Management Engineering, Software Engineering, and Nanotechnology Engineering.

My 7th grade son Calder has been keen on studying engineering at UW since the tour last year. This goal is a huge motivator to work hard in school and, given the competition to enter these programs only 3km from our home, I reckon it’s never too early to start developing related makerly skills. That notion was confirmed by the students with whom we spoke.

My 9th grade daughter Arden is a bit closer to post-secondary studies and equally curious to learn about opportunities. Fuelled by our recent tour of UW’s School of Architecture, we’re going to keep putting feet on the street to talk with people on the front lines who are making, learning, doing, and getting stuff done.

As we rolled into the Davis Centre that Friday, Management Engineering student Kevin Burt (above) called out to me, “Hey, you’re the guy from the makerspace, right?” Ah ha, I had been down at kwartzlab earlier in the week working on the photobooth when Kevin and his buddy showed up a few hours early for Tuesday Open Night. They were looking for help “printing some stuff for school.” Based on the game pieces on the table above, I guessed that they had found what they were looking for.

Click through for more from the Symposium…

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Packed!

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We got to meet the rest of the Resourceful team, (above left to right) Kevin Burt, Sutej Sharma, Cheryl Dias, and Kevin Slome.

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The team had developed a game to educate people on the inputs and outputs of the food supply system. Me: “what surprised you in doing the project?” Kevin: “How much water it takes to grow okra.”

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I was curious why the team had to look beyond UW in order to print their game pieces. I reckoned there must be dozens of 3D printers at the school. As I understand it, there are but the available ones only print jobs in either black or white. Gotta say this game had excellent production quality. The tiles were pro-printed, but to do low-volume multi-colour game pieces by injection mold was cost prohibitive for the prototype. The 3D prints look great.

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Calder (left) talked about the math of the game with Sutej.

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Cheryl holds all the cards. Nice work, Resourceful.

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Heading out from the Management Eng aisle and on toward Software Eng…

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I found Arden (right) talking with Software Engineering student Schukey Shan.

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Schukey of team Dishlicious.ca and her…

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partner Neha Sharma (right) explained…

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how their project helped friends decide where to eat, accommodating dietary restrictions and preferences. When I worked at BlackBerry at Columbia and Phillip Street, we would walk to the University Plaza for lunch and burn the first 10 minutes debating where to eat. Definitely could have used Dishlicious.

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By this time, both my kids were off engaging project teams on their own.

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Calder was talking with Jimmy Lu about his project…

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Sonicle, which does some cool lifestyle aware song selection based on a whole whack of user telemetry and environmental awareness.

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Team Sonicle, left to right, Shaishav Siddhpuria, Jimmy Lu, Arash Mortazavi.

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Wearables.

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Arden on to another project.

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Calder here talking with Nanotechnology Engineering student Adam Svatos about…

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ion thrusters for microsatellites. I can’t help but smile when I type that and it seems…

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Calder thinks it’s pretty cool, too. Nice to see Structur3D Printing friends Andrew Finkle and Amir Solowiejczyk in the house as judges for Nano. Also saw…

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former BlackBerry pal Mike Kirkup, now chief of UW’s Velocity incubator. When I introduced Calder, Mike asked “What grade are you in?” Calder: “Grade 7.” Kirkup: “Join Velocity!” as he put a postcard in Calder’s hands. Never too early, indeed.

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My favourite question for students: “If you could go back in time and talk to your Grade 9 self, what advice would you give yourself?” I’m very grateful for all the thoughtful answers. You are all excellent representatives for your programs and your school.

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What a great March Break interlude and a uniquely local experience. All the way home, we talked about the projects, the stuff we had learned, and what we wanted to know more about.

From UW’s Davis Centre, this is Waterloo.

DW

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1 Response to Inspired at UW Engineering Symposium

  1. Nosey Nick says:

    Am I the only person looking at that first pic and thinking “Got wood, need sheep”? 😀

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