Tips from a top student

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Published: 12Aug2015

Mechanical Engineering student, Da-Eun Kim, is one of five CEMF Engineering Ambassador Scholarship recipients this year. The scholarships, awarded by the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation, recognize the achievements and community engagement of top female engineering students in Canada. Ms Kim represents the Québec region. In the following Q&A, she shares more about her volunteer activities, Mecheng experience and plans for the future.

How has volunteering shaped you?

Some of my community work was outreach to younger students about engineering. I went to elementary schools with Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering (POWE) to show kids what engineering was. I volunteered with the POWE Conference for Future Women Engineers and gave a tour of the Engineering facilities at McGill. My favourite thing was talking about my program and the cool things I learn about and seeing students’ faces light up with interest. It’s when you have to convince a group of teens that what you’re studying is cool that you’re reminded of just how much you enjoy mecheng, especially the design teams. Much of my volunteering wasn't related to engineering, but it still helped shape how I want to apply the things I learned in engineering. For example, I did a lot of volunteering with the ambulance, and that was a big driving factor in wanting to learn more about biomedical engineering.

What was your favourite Mecheng course?

One of my all time favourite courses was MECH430 Fluids 2. It covers supersonic flow, shockwaves, rocket nozzle design, hyperloop, etc., all very exciting and very popular science like. The class was extremely interesting and also extrememly challenging, and I think that's why I liked it all the more.

What advice would you offer to incoming Mecheng students?

JOIN ALL THE DESIGN TEAMS! Okay, maybe not all of them -- there are so many! But join at least one. I loved everything I did at McGill and I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe joining a design team earlier. They offer so much real-life engineering that you just don’t get to experience in class! Also, GET INVOLVED, on both sides of campus! I found that being involved in both the more "artsy" Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) side and the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) side of the Y-intersection really broadened my undergrad experience.

What motivated you to pursue a mechanical engineering degree?

I got involved by chance in a mechanical/drama creativity competition when I was in Grade 7. That’s when I first realized I loved making and fixing mechanical things. Moving arms, pneumatic wings, wind-up butterflies, even mechanical pencils… But I also liked a wide variety of applications, and I couldn’t choose between biomed, spaceships, and agriculture. So I went into the one that gave me open doors for all these options: mechanical engineering. Now that I look back, I realize I did all three of the interests that I had when I first started mecheng. I did my tech comps in biomed, I did a minor in environmental engineering, and I joined the Mars Rover Robotics Team.

What are your plans for after graduation?

My graduating project and most of my tech comps are related to biomed. I have a minor in environmental engineering and a great interest in mechatronics. I’m not sure what I’ll do after graduation. I’m not graduating until next semester, so I have a bit of time left! Ideally, I want to be working in robotics in the health sector, but I’m always open to new challenges and new experiences, so if something comes my way and I like it, I won’t pass it by just because it’s not on my pre-made plan.