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Advocating for a World without Poverty

May 2018 was one of the most exciting months of any year in my entire life! You ask why?  In a single month, I was able to travel to 3 different cities to advocate for a world without poverty! Crazy,  right? (If you don’t think that’s cool then sorry we can’t be friends)

I have been an active member of Engineers without Borders (EWB) for 2+ years. I act as the Advocacy Representative for the University of British Columbia Chapter. My duties in this executive position are as follow:

  1. Educate Chapter Members about campaigns that help develop Canada’s International Development Portfolio
  2. Educate Members of the public about these campaigns
  3. Meet with Member of Parliaments to ask them to bring these matters to the Parliament

So I work on a wide variety of levels to help develop Canada’s International Development Portfolio.

Meeting with MP of Vancouver Quadra, Joyce Murray, about Innovative Financing

Every May, chapter members from all across Canada gather in Ottawa to meet with Members of Parliament to push for more international aid and financing. This year, on May 1st 60 EWBers met with about 90 Members of parliament to convince the government to invest more in small scale businesses in developing countries. In federal budget 2018, Canada allocated about $876 million to innovative financing and we at EWB want to make sure that a large portion of this money goes to small scale businesses and social enterprises especially those led by women. Innovative financing helps provide resources for developing economies while generating return for the investor nation. I met with 3 members of Parliament to discuss this. At the end, we had most of the MPs on board with this ask and our campaign was a success.  

After a fun filled weekend, I was back in Vancouver to start my job at MECH Student Services. About 3 days later I get an email from the Policy and Advocacy Director at EWB inviting me to Toronto to attend a week long workshop centered on effective leadership. About a week later I was on a flight to Toronto! (Huge thanks to MECH Student Services for giving me this time off). I attended this week long workshop where we explored leadership through a different lens. We defined effective leadership as the identification of your inner capabilities and the ability to recognize the inner qualities of the team you are leading. It’s safe to say, I learned loads and will be bringing this material into the meetings at our EWB chapter on campus.

At the Toronto 3D sign at Nathan Phillips Square

And here I was thinking that’s it. Now back to normal everyday life. A day later, I get an email from the United Nations HQ in New York inviting me to attend the Presidential General Assembly’s Youth Dialogue 2018 to represent Engineers without Borders, Canada.

3 days later I was on a flight to New York!

With the President of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák

Over an entire day, I had the exciting opportunity to meet with advocates from all across the world and discuss how they thought we can achieve a world without poverty!

And with that I concluded the month of May! Nothing but adventure and learning!

On June 1st I was back in Vancouver. Working full time, completely sleep deprived and living off coffee. But it was all worth it!

GOODBYE, FAREWELL MECH

On a day like today when the breeze moves the branches of the trees and the clouds extend over the sky in a sea of pastel colours, I get flash backs of the days when I thought school would never be over, when I thought school was too hard for me to handle. I let out a big sigh today and I get nostalgic for ever thinking that I was not capable of achieving my dreams and giving up on myself before I had the chance to try.

I have had a dream for such a long time: I dreamed about being a Mechanical Engineer from UBC, having friends to share my daily experiences and learning about how the world around me works. Today I can say I have successfully accomplished this dream. I am so thankful to the people who have helped me make this happen, because if it wasn’t for their push and support, I would have given up a long time ago. For the past two weeks I have been thinking about my years at UBC, and how it has changed me for the better. I have faced so many challenges along the way that taught me how to be strong and to never give up. I have literally grown thick skin, which I hope can help me in future adventures and professional careers.

I just wanted to write this blog to thank you all for making my time at UBC memorable. Thank you to the Mech Student Service Office for their years of support and help, thank you Mech staff for always being kind and generous, thank you to the best facilities team that with dedication have made us feel proud of our department. Special thanks for those professors that multiple times encourage me to learn for the sake of learning – not to get good grades, especially those that saw potential in me when I didn’t think I had any. Thank you to Larry, the janitor in the second floor of CEME who always greeted me, and helped me keep the club room clean. Finally, I would like to thank my amazing team of executives in Club Mech, my family, and friends for motivating me to keep going.

Well, it is almost the end of this term and I am getting ready to write some of my last finals EVER and finishing Capstone documentation. Cheers to my last year, and believe me when I say that in no time, it will be your last one too. Feel free to ask any questions to the future Mech Ambassadors at ambassadors@mech.ubc.ca.

“Good morning! Oh, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight”

Truman Burbank

 

Diana Nino

 

E-week has Come and Gone! MECH Rocked!

https://www.facebook.com/UBCEngineers/photos/a.224912160997884.1073741828.171391373016630/750216988467396/?type=3&theater

Original photo from: UBC Engineering Undergraduate Society Facebook Page

This week was super fun, but also busy. The life of a Mech student sometimes makes you wish that days can actually be longer than 24 hours. Most Mech students are involved in extra-curricular activities. Some are part of Club Mech or student teams such as, Baja, Formula, Thunderbots, AeroDesign, etc.; others are part of ex-officio clubs, such as Alpha Omega Epsilon (AOE), Sigma Phi Delta (SPD) and Women in Engineering (WiE). There are a lot of positive things that come out of joining groups like these at UBC. In my opinion, the most valuable skills you can learn from these activities is the ability to work with people and effectively succeed in the accomplishment of a project. Whether your interest is related to technical skills or group management, these groups really give you the opportunity to explore your abilities. This is what Club Mech does for me, and that is why E-WEEK is an important time for our Club.

https://www.facebook.com/ClubMech/photos/a.190109334434008.34643.100699010041708/974312349347032/?type=1&theater

Original photo: UBC Club Mech Facebook Page

Our goal for this year was to win first place in E-WEEK. As the week went on, we participated in all the activities, but sadly we didn’t get enough points to win 1st place. Mech placed 5th out of 12 engineering teams that competed. Although we did not win, the experience and memories of friendship that were created that week will last a life time.

I think we are lucky that UBC engineering has a good Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS). They organize so many events during the academic year, so undergraduate students from every department have a chance to relax, enjoy and socialize through their university experience. So, thank you to the EUS for organizing such a fantastic E-WEEK! You can find out more about the EUS here.

The sense of community at UBC Engineering is great. By participating in events, clubs and teams, you will meet great people from different departments that can potentially teach you interesting things about their lives and careers.

Until next time,

Diana

E-week is Coming

https://www.facebook.com/UBCEngineers/photos/a.762840317205063.1073741909.171391373016630/762841990538229/?type=3&theater

Original Photo from: UBC Engineering Undergraduate Society

This week in particular has been rather crazy for me. I have been trying to organize my schedule to make sure I have enough time for my extracurricular activities, classes and work. Time management is a key skill in the life of a Mech student. We usually get pretty good at this during Mech 2; after all it is a busy program.

Anyways, the reason why life is so busy right now is because E-week starts next week! As Vice-President of Club Mech I have to participate in as many events as possible. For those of you who don’t know, E-week is an undergraduate “Engineering faculty” competition week during the second term of classes and is hosted by the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS). They plan a lot of events such as opening ceremonies, cooking with beer, true engineer (participants build a structure made out of materials from the dollar store in a short period of time), new red old red (a fun undergraduate and alumni casual networking event), etc. and give participants points for their attendance. The department that has the most points wins the competition.  If you want to know more, you can check out some of the events here. This is an important time for us undergrads to represent the Mechanical Engineering department and show our pride.

In the past, Mech has won the competition many times, but that hasn’t been the case in the last 2 years. Our Club Mech President Ashley Mak wants us to win, so we will do our best to beat the other departments! With all the events going on, I have to make sure I have time to complete my assignments, study and participate in activities. So far, I have managed to set up a schedule that allows me to do everything for that week, but I have to say it will require dedication, long hours and tons of reminders and alarms… I will let you know how it all goes. Fingers crossed that we win E-week!

Hope your week is going great. Thanks for reading.

Diana

Hey there!

I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of the term already – I guess time flies when you’re having fun! Or really busy.

I’ve been both these past couple months, what with courses, working at MECH Student Services, working as a TA, and volunteering for my favourite groups, Thunderbots, Club MECH, and EngCite! I got so caught up in all the homework and events that this is my first blog post! So, I’ll start with an introduction:

Hello, my name is Khashina, I’m a 3 ½ year mechatronics student, and Two Truths and A Lie about me are:

  • I’ve roasted marshmallows on an active volcano
  • I can do a backflip from standing position
  • I took a job working outside in -20°C weather just to see if I could

If you think you know which one of those is false, leave a comment or send me a message at ambassadors@mech.ubc.ca and I’ll let you know!

Alright. So the big theme in my life this week is that I have my very last midterm on Friday (!) and then I just have Final Projects and Final Exams! Often, classes will have projects as a large part of the work you do, which is really great because it distributes your grade (no 80% finals for us!) and you get to learn about the material in a more hands-on way. For example, for my manufacturing processes class, I have to choose an object and, through observation, think about how it was made (which might sound boring but did you know water-bottles are made by blowing up hot plastic into water-bottle shaped balloons?)

Well, back to work for me, and please leave a comment or send me an email if you have any questions about being a UBC Mech student or about this post!

Here We Go…

Happy Wednesday all!

So, here we are 3 weeks into the school year. Classes are in full swing, projects and student teams are underway, and midterms are fast approaching. The first two weeks were slow and then it feels like everything started happening all at once this week. How are you all getting along?

This semester, I have 4 courses and capstone for a total of 16 credits. Sad to say, this is probably one of the easiest semesters I’ve had over my entire degree. Plus, it helps that the courses I’m taking this semester are pretty interesting! Do you ever wonder what kind of things mechanical engineers learn in school?

MECH 327: Thermal Design. So far, this course has been a refresher on thermodynamics that we covered in MECH 2 (blog post debunking MECH 2 myths coming soon…). We have talked alot about first law, second law, and cycles. Thermo isn’t my favourite subject, but I’m fortunate enough to have an awesome prof this year teaching the course. Shoutout to Pat Kirchen for being being organized, efficient, and having the neatest notes out of any prof I have ever had.

MECH 329: Materials for Mechanical Design. This class is exactly what it sounds like – learning about the materials needed for engineering design. In all honesty, I was most excited for this course because…well, materials is my jam. However, it has been the most disappointing course this semester so far. I was expecting to learn about the actual material selection process for design (ie: 1010 steel vs 1045) steel but instead, we are learning about the chemistry fundamentals (ionic bonds, covalent bonds, etc… Think CHEM 11 or CHEM 12). So, not super impressed so far but hoping that will change!

ELEC 344: Applied Electronics and Electromechanics AKA your “4th year motors course”. As a not-so-avid fan of electrical, I was not excited about this class. I expected more circuit analysis which we already do alot of in our curriculum. The course started off covering the fundamentals of electromagnetism, which was a nice refresher because I don’t think I’ve touched that stuff since PHYS 153 in first year. I just completed the first lab yesterday and it was analyzing the relationship between the position of a metal plunger within a solenoid and the resulting effects on inductance and electromagnetic force. So far, so far. 10/10 would continue going to lectures and labs.

MECH 463: Vibrations. Springs. So many springs.

MECH 45X: Capstone. MECH has a design project component in every year of your studies which is unique to our department. Capstone is just the 4th year design project and it’s year round. My project this year will be to design circuitry housing for a product called Reveal. All I can say about Capstone and any other design project: what you get out of the project is 100% dependent on how much you put into it.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for a post debunking all the myths about MECH 2…

Until next time,
Ashley

Welcome back!

Welcome back to another year at UBC! For all the new readers in the audience: Welcome to the UBC Mech Ambassadors Blog!

This blog was created for the purpose of showing students, who are interested in joining UBC Mechanical Engineering, the daily life of existing current MECH students. We will talk about courses you can expect to take as mechanical engineering student, ways to get involved and connected with the department, and events throughout the year. You will get complete transparency into all things MECH!

We were fortunate enough to receive great questions and feedback on our blog posts last year and would love to continue seeing questions and comments from you all! If you have a request for a blog topic or have a question in general, please feel free to email: ambassadors@mech.ubc.ca

So, bookmark this blog and join us as we continue our journey to become UBC Mechanical Engineers.

Until next time,

Ashley

T-minus 2 Weeks

We are approaching that time of year once again – midterms are wrapping up and final assignments and projects are rolling in. The last two weeks of school are an interesting time. You’re in that place where you’re not incredibly overwhelmed with work and studying, but you know that you should be preparing for finals that are coming up in two weeks, buuuuut, the sunshine, warm spring weather and dwindling motivation make that so difficult.
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My final exams are fairly spread out throughout the two weeks and I finish up on April 25th (perks of only having 4 courses this semester). It’s also crazy to think that this will be my last summer before graduation – it feels like it has been a long time coming. For all you first year readers out there, enjoy your time in university. It goes by way faster than you’d think!

Anyway, just to update you guys on some of the things happening in the Mech Department…

  • Club Mech just finished up their elections for the executive and ex-officio team. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be the president of Club Mech next year. I’m really looking forward to working with the student community and department next year. One of my main goals is bringing the MECH spirit back during E-Week! Two years ago, our department placed 3rd overall and this year, we placed 10th out of 12. If you read my blog post about a month ago, you’ll know that the spirit was lacking this year. For this next year, I plan on bringing us back to the top 5, atleast! (As a side note: the neat thing about next year is that the EUS Council will be mostly comprised of girls! Our incoming EUS president is female along with a couple other EUS VPs, and the CIVL and IGEN presidents. Woo, go girls!)
  • Club Mech is also hosting a Networking 101 Workshop this Thursday, March 31st from 6-8:30pm at the ESC. If you’re interested in learning about how to prepare for a networking event or how to turn a network contact into a future job, this workshop is not one that you want to miss! Click here to RSVP for the Networking 101 Workshop.
  • Don’t forget about our First Year MECH Networking Event at the ESB on Wednesday, April 6th! If you want to find out more about our department, come to this event and speak with our senior students, alumni/grads, and faculty! Click here to RSVP to the MECH First Year Networking Event.

  • Cheers,
    Ashley

    Calling all UBC First Year Engineers…

    It’s coming to that time of year when first years need to decide what specialization they want to go into. On the last Wednesday of the semester, April 6th, the Mech department is hosting a First Year Networking Event. The event will run from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Earth Sciences Building (2207 Main Mall). Here at Mech, we are giving the first years an opportunity to meet with our current students, alumni, and faculty members in a speed-networking setting. Students will be in groups of 4 and matched with a Mech representative. The rotations will last probably about 10 minutes which gives each student a decent amount of time to ask a question.

    If you are thinking of attending, make sure you prepare a list of questions to ask our Mech representatives. Here are some to get you started:

  • What made you pick mechanical engineering?
  • What is/was MECH 2 like?
  • What kind of courses can I expect to take throughout my degree? What were the best ones? What were the worst?
  • In your opinion, why do you think I should select MECH over other departments?
  • What is your background/experience in Mechanical Engineering?
  • What advice would you give to someone who wants to be successful in your line of work?

  • There are so many more questions you can ask and it all depends on who you get to network with and speak to. My best suggestion is to bring an open and curious mind and listen. It’s a really cool feeling to be apart of a department that does so much outreach with first years and potential future Mech students. You don’t want to miss this event. It’ll be your key to getting the inside scoop on being a Mech student. If you want to attend, please make sure you RSVP as there are limited spots!

    Click here to RSVP to the MECH First Year Networking Event

    Hope to see you guys at some future events!

    Networking, networking, and more networking!

    MECH is having a crazy month of networking events!

    On Wednesday, there was a Mech Alumni Networking event at the EDC which included a tour of the Clean Energy Research Centre lead by our own faculty member, Pat Kirchen. There was a good mix of students and alumni from over the years and it seemed that the event was well received by all. Our department head, Sheldon Green, made an appearance and made his way through groups of students asking for feedback regarding the Mech curriculum. I feel really fortunate to be in a department that cares so much about student feedback and wants to improve the Mech student experience. On top of the scheduled feedback sessions the Mech department hosts each semester, Dr. Green still finds the time to attend events such as the networking event to ask for further feedback. At the end of the event, Dr. Green gave some closing remarks and revealed the winners of the door prize draw. The prizes were pretty awesome too – they included a MEL (Masters of Engineering Leadership) backpack, Moleskin notebook, padfolio, mechanical pencil and a UBC Engineering umbrella!

    Later this month, on March 31st, Club MECH will be hosting the president of Vancouver’s Social Butterfly, Alice Zhou, at the ESC. The event is free and is open to ALL undergraduate engineering students. It’ll be a two-hour interactive presentation and workshop where students can learn: how to prepare before a networking event, who to approach at a networking event, how to effectively approach someone at an event, elevator pitches and business card fundamentals. It should be a really interesting and we hope students will learn alot from it. Also, there will be beverages and food provided (which is always a plus).

    Finally, our department is hosting a First Year MECH Networking Event to help all you first years decide if MECH is the department you want to apply to or not! Stay posted for details early next week….

    Ashley