Author Archives: Ashley Mak

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,

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.

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,

    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….


    Planes, robots, and granola bars

    Hey guys! These last two weeks have been crazy – especially with finalizing the details of an awesome trip that my friends and I organized through ASME.

    So, this past Saturday, ASME UBC took 40 people down to Mulkiteo, Washington and Everett, Washington to visit MTM Robotics and the Boeing Assembly Plant, respectively. Of the 40 people, there was a great mix of undergraduate mechanical students, some materials engineering students, and a bunch of first years! On top of that, we also had the Board of Executives representative from the ASME BC Chapter join us aswell. It was really fantastic to see how the event reached more than just mechanical students.

    The day started at 7:30am on Saturday, March 5th. All of the students met us at the EDC atrium to sign in and find their spot on the charter bus. As 8:00am rolled around, we were on our way towards the US border. We were fortunate enough to have a beautiful, sunny day for our trip. Once we got to the border, we were greeted by a super friendly border guard who directed our group towards the other less-friendly-looking border guards. Once we all made it across the border, we all got back on the bus and we were on our way to MTM Robotics (formerly known as Mobile Tool Management/MTM).

    For those of you who didn’t catch my last post, MTM Robotics is a supplier of robotics and system software that aids aerospace manufacturing. Some of their big clients include Boeing and AirBus. One of the cool robots we got to see is called the Mini Flextrack. It’s a robot that travels along vacuum rails (Venturi effect) which are positioned onto the fuselage of an aircraft. This allows the robots to drill holes and insert fasteners autonomously. These robots replace the traditional labourers that would otherwise have to manually locate the hole, drill and insert the fasteners themselves. Having this automation allows for a quicker manufacturing/assembly time for big companies like Boeing and AirBus to keep up with the demand for airplanes. Click here to see the Mini Flextrack

    At MTM Robotics, we were greeted by Eric, the Senior Systems Engineer and also a UBC Mech alumnus! He gave our students an incredibly comprehensive tour of the MTM facilities. I visited MTM last spring, and it was amazing to see how much they had expanded and grown within the last year. Last year, they had a large chunk of their basement workshop devoted to material storage and now, they have converted it into a full work-space/test station for their outgoing robots. They are also discussing potential expansion into a larger facility within the next year! There were some very thoughtful and enthusiastic questions from the students and Eric answered all of them with great detail.

    After MTM, our group stopped at a nearby strip-mall area and grabbed lunch before heading off to the Boeing Everett Factory. When we arrived, the students spent about 45 minutes walking through the Future of Flight Museum which included life-sized models of the Boeing 747 stabilizer, Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine and the G.E GEnx engine. There was also a cross-section cut out of one of the Boeing fuselage’s with MTM’s Mini Flextrack attached to the side! The tour of the actual factory floor was really neat too – unfortunately, no cameras were allowed. The first part of the tour focused on the Boeing 747 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Outside of the factory floor, we were fortunate enough to see one parked 787 Dreamlifter and another landing on the runway. The second part of the tour was on the other end of the plant and focused on the Boeing 777 and 777-x. The 777-x features all composite wings and new engines. Needless to say, the students were overwhelmed by the size of the Boeing factory and all of its rich history.

    After Boeing, we began our trip home. One of our tour organizers bought waaaay too many granola bars to give out to the students as a pre-dinner snack. I’m talking like atleast a hundred granola bars. So, we gave those out and some juice boxes and water bottles. Shortly after, most of the students fell asleep on the long trek home. I spent a good 45 minutes talking to some first years about Mech and how it all works and encouraged them to apply to Mech as their specialization! Seriously, after a trip like this one, I don’t think it takes much convincing that Mech is the way to go!

    All in all, it was a fantastic and super educational day. We hope to expand our trip into a 2-day trip next year to cover more potential companies. It would also be great to see if we could get a more technical tour from Boeing. Now, I’m back on that school grind with assignments and labs due, and a quiz coming up next week.

    UBC Engineering students at MTM Robotics on a tour hosted by ASME UBC.

    UBC Engineering students at MTM Robotics on a tour hosted by ASME UBC.

    Reading Break Blues

    Hey all,

    After a long few weeks, I’m back! The last few weeks have been busy with assignments and midterms – as usual. And E-WEEK!

    Unfortunately, Mech didn’t do too well in the final rankings. There was a serious lack of Mech spirit this year which really sucked to see. In the final rankings, I think we placed 2nd last, in contrast to coming in 3rd place last year. Some of my classmates commented that “the rankings are inversely proportional to the departments that are ACTUALLY doing work.” While it’s true that Mech does have a heavy, heavy course load, I don’t think it was unreasonable for each student to attend or participate in atleast one event. Mech is the 2nd largest department in the Faculty of Applied Science while Mining is half the size. Yet, they continue to hold down the E-Week crown as they won their 3rd consecutive E-Week. Anyway, E-Week 2016 is over, but Mech will make a triumphant comeback in E-Week 2017!

    Last week was also reading week.
    Here’s how reading week ideally goes: complete homework assignments, get ahead/study for all your classes, relax, go on vacation, have fun.
    Here’s how my reading break was actually spent: sick in bed, occasional trips to the Shoppers Drug Mart in the pouring rain, and lots of Netflix.

    I guess the catching up on Netflix part isn’t so bad, but being sick did suck. Luckily, I’m getting over the worst of it and I’m back in motion! Although I spent most of my reading break in bed, I did get a chance to do some detailed planning for ASME UBC’s annual Boeing/Mobile Tool Management Tour.

    The tour will be taking place on Saturday, March 5th. We currently have 45 students signed up for the day trip to Seattle – a good mix of first years, Mech undergrads, and some students from other departments aswell. Our first stop will be at Mobile Tool Management (MTM), a company that produces automated tools and software systems to aid companies in aerospace manufacturing. We are fortunate enough to have a UBC Mech alumnus, Eric, now working for MTM. As for Boeing, we will be touring the Everett Factory. This is where planes such as the 747, 777, and 787 are manufactured and assembled. Our next steps are to host a trip debrief session and then we will be on our way!

    All very exciting things to come…I’ll keep you all posted!

    Until next time,


    Today is officially the start of E-Week 2016! There are going to be TONS of events everyday for the next week. Join in and show your UBC Engineering pride by participating, volunteering or cheering on your department!

    Last night was the opening ceremonies. My classmates and I arrived on campus around 8pm and proceeded over to Club Mech to meet up with the other Mech students. In the midst of preparing for opening ceremonies, I took a moment to step back and appreciate how cool it was to be partying with my classmates on a Sunday night. I don’t think alot of other students/faculties can say they have the opportunity to do that. It reminded me of advice that my solid mechanics professor, Dr. Schajer, gave me a year ago while we were filming for filmfEUSt (check out the link below). Speaking of which, if you haven’t met or had a class with Gary Schajer, you are doing yourself a disservice (*hint* JOIN MECH *hint*). He is soft-spoken, wise, and has such a philosophical outlook on life. He’s great.

    Anyway, when opening ceremonies started last night at 10pm, I looked around the new ESC and saw the faces of hundreds of my engineering classmates. We may all have been representing different departments, but there was a common, underlying engineering pride. And really, that’s what E-Week is all about. I’ve said it a hundred times before, but I’ll say it again: PARTICIPATE IN E-WEEK! No matter what department you are in, even if you are not in a specialized department yet, you worked hard to get to where you are now. SO BE PROUD AND REPRESENT IT!

    In the spirit of E-Week and to show you how awesome our department is, check out the links below:
    MECH FilmfEUSt Entry 2012
    MECH FilmfEUSt Entry 2015



    Career Fairs, Networking Events, and E-Week! Oh my!

    I’ve always loved the second semester of school more than first. Don’t get me wrong – I love the feeling of coming back to school after summer (well, for the first week anyway) and all the events/parties that take place, but second semester is when the UBC Engineering community gets busy!

    In the next few weeks, E-Week 2016 (Engineering Week) will be underway. From February 1-6, you’ll have the chance to represent your department in a series of events and show your Engineering pride. If you haven’t heard of E-Week or haven’t yet participated in E-week, I highly encourage that you do it! There are events such as: Chariot Races, CaPPture the Flag, fEUSball Tournament, Pit Purge, Annual General Meeting, E-BALL Soccer, and 4-Legged Race – just to name a few!

    On top of this, the annual EUS Career Fair will be taking place on February 4-5. This is a great opportunity for students to network with representatives from big companies. In some cases, these companies may also be looking to hire students for the summer. Words of advice: dress appropriately and it doesn’t hurt to have a few copies of your resume or business card on you! When I attended the EUS Career Fair in my first year, I hit off an awesome conversation with a HR Rep from SNC-Lavalin. She was telling me about this Project Management Summer Student position that sounded really cool. When I told her I was interested, she said that she thought I would be a great fit and asked if I had my resume… And I didn’t. Looking back, it was a pretty big mistake on my part, but when I think about it some more – in my first year, nobody really told me what to expect from a career fair/networking type event. Even today, I still feel like people aren’t sure what to expect or how to prepare.

    This was a big topic that was brought up during the EUS Industry Committee meeting that I sat in on last week. Upon discussing this with other departments, we are working on implementing a “How To Network” type event for all engineering students because we believe this is pretty important information to have. Over here in MECH Student Services, we are planning a First Year Networking event with our senior MECH students and alumni! This will give you first years a chance to practice your networking skills AND learn more about our awesome department. Details have yet to be confirmed – we will keep you posted!

    Prepare yourself for some very exciting weeks to come!


    PS: Click here for some deets on E-WEEK

    New Year, Same Grind

    Happy new year! I hope the holiday break treated you all well.

    Winter break was awesome. For me, it was filled with lots of family and friends time, catching up on sleep, snowboarding, checking out local bands at The Imperial on New Years Eve and more food than I could have ever hoped for. The break was much needed…Let’s just say it wasn’t the best idea to mix job interviews with six final exams. Although my stress levels reached all time highs, some good did come out of it. I have passed all of my courses (thank goodness) and I have also been offered a student engineering job for the summer!

    For you first-year readers out there, I highly suggest getting experience early. Apply for a summer job/internship or even volunteer to work for a company. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I think it’s worth saying it again: the more experience you get, the better!

    This semester will be a busy one, once again, but in all the best ways. Club Mech has some pretty good events coming up this semester. ASME will be hosting the annual Boeing trip down to Seattle to visit Boeing and MTM Ltd. E-Week will be happening the first week of February (if you haven’t participated in E-Week, do it).

    Again, we would love to hear from you readers. Feel free to send Siddhant or me an e-mail at: with comments or feedback about what you would like us to post about!


    End of term Shenanigans

    Well, here we are in the home stretch of the semester…the last week of classes. There isn’t too much going on this week other than submitting final projects, and assignments. It’s the calm before the storm, also known as finals.

    Academically, things are slow right now, but Mech has been busy with other things! This week, Club Mech is hosting a Mech Student & Staff Party on Friday, December 4th from 12:30-1:30pm. This is an annual event with Christmas treats and drinks; and presents are given to department professors and staff for their hard work and commitment to the students.

    Also on Friday, December 4th, Club Mech is also hosting an end-of-term party in the Club Mech room (CEME 2207) starting at 2:00pm and will go on laaaaate into the night. Everybody is welcome to come by and spread the Christmas cheer!