Humans of UWaterloo

Super quick post, but I just wanted to share a little project that my lovely friend Danielle has created. It’s called Humans of UWaterloo, inspired by Brandon’s Humans of New York page. Danielle’s page is available on Facebook so please do check it out and give it a like! It’s so lovely being able to take a moment to get to know someone briefly on campus! :)

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo


Females in Engineering

After blogging, doing Engineering tours, and attending Fall Open House, I have noticed that many people are curious to know the female enrollment stats in the Faculty of Engineering for many reasons. Whatever the reason may be, here are some of the stats I have found and some thoughts on being a female in Engineering.

The Faculty Statistics page on the uWaterloo Engineering webpage currently show some of the stats from 2012. Keep in mind that these statistics do not include Architecture. The stats show that 18.5% of all Engineering undergrad students were female and 22.3% of all Engineering graduate students were female. There were 36 professors who were female, which means 13.4% of all Engineering professors were femaleThat includes our lovely Dean of Engineering, Pearl Sullivan who also once served as chair of the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department. She is the first female Dean of Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

As a student who may be interested in entering the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo, you’re probably curious to know the stats specific to first-year students. Well in 2012, it looked like this:



You can see in the table that it really depends on what engineering program you’re in and of course, it varies each year. Perhaps this is a surprise, but I’ve heard that uWaterloo has the largest percentage of females in engineering in Canada. I think that’s great! Being in the work force now, I can tell you that there are very few female engineers but we definitely exist! I personally work with just male engineers, but I know some bigger teams have a couple of female engineers.

I don’t personally think too much about the female to male ratio in engineering. In my opinion, it’s all about doing what you love. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter as long as you are happy with what you are doing and you are getting along with your team.

What are your thoughts on women in engineering? Did you expect more or less of us? Do you think we need more female engineers?

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

My Experience With The Job Hunt

Marieta’s post, Apply, Interview, Rank, Repeat, is a great post on what the co-op job hunting process is like. Everyone has their own personal experience with the job hunting process though, so I thought I would share what my experience was like with this first co-op term.

Job hunting is stressful, to say the least. While you’re drowning in school work, you’re expected to carry the weight of having to find a co-op job on your back. It’s tough. Reality is, as a first-year student you’re going to run into more challenges with the job hunt than upper-year students. Experience is important and it’s something that comes with time. When I say experience, I’m talking about all sorts of experiences from work experience to experience in your career field. What kind of knowledge do you have in this specific area? How about that area? It is perfectly okay to not know many things and you have to accept yourself for this lack of experience and knowledge.

To keep things simple, you need to know that there are two rounds. There is the first round where you apply within a week and then afterwards, applications are closed and the interview process happens. Typically, this is where a good chunk of the upper-year students and a lucky bunch of first-years get hired. Afterwards, there is the continuous round which is where new jobs get posted daily and you can apply to as many jobs as you want.

I got two interviews in the first round, and was ranked for both. I had an interview with Curtiss-Wright for their Controls Defense Solutions sector, and Skywave Mobile Communications. I was ranked for both and didn’t end up with either jobs. I was disappointed.

In the continuous round, I ended up getting a few interviews in November and then I was scheduled for seven interviews during the two weeks of exams. I ended up with four interviews in one day hours before my ECE105 exam but when rankings came out, I received two offers and I accepted the one for General Dynamics. Between the start of the continuous round and my wave of interviews though, I had to apply to about 150 jobs both on Jobmine and outside of Jobmine. I started sending my resume to companies and received either no responses or a rejection from these companies. It was incredibly disappointing to see new emails popping up each day saying that the company is not interested in hiring you or they have already selected someone else. That’s hard when the end of the semester creeps up and you’re still unemployed.

So for me, it took hundreds of applications to receive thirteen interviews, eight of which I attended. What I guess I’m trying to say is, don’t ever give up even though it can be incredibly tough. Co-op may seem like a very positive thing but it’s not always easy to get and you should never feel bad about not having a job for the first couple terms.

If you’re looking for co-op right now, good luck! Let me know if I can give you any sort of tips or suggestions. :)

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

First Impression on My Co-op Term

Man, co-op terms can be amazing.

This is my first co-op term and I am working for General Dynamics Canada in Ottawa as a NATO AGS Software Engineering co-op. Yes, it is a wicked first job. For security reasons, I cannot speak much about what I do other than that I work with military and defense technology, I guess. So far, I haven’t done much work but I’ve learned about my team’s project and what goes on within my company. I’ve had the opportunity to look at the production plant and aircraft component construction so far, but next week I’ll be looking into tanks. How sick is that!? I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity with GD Canada. It’s an incredible start for me, as I do plan on working for the aerospace and national defense industry in the future.

I have to admit though, getting used to a new environment can be tough. It can be so overwhelming trying to get the required training done and your workstation set up, etc.. Plus there have been so many terms and acronyms for me to remember! It comes with time, I’m sure.

I’ll try to talk more about my co-op term later without breaking any rules. Feel free to ask more about co-op though because getting this job was a stressful and confusing process. More on that soon.

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

Introducing Biomedical Engineering at uWaterloo

Starting Fall 2014, Biomedical Engineering will be the 14th engineering program available at the University of Waterloo! Currently, the program will be accepting an initial class of 45 students.

Just like any other Engineering program at uWaterloo, Biomedical Engineering will be a co-op only program but unlike the others, it will be an 8-stream co-op program with a unique 8-month co-op term between the 3rd and 4th year. Admission requirements are the same as the other Engineering programs and it is anticipated that individual selection will be from the high 80s. Biology is not an admission requirement, although it is probably recommended.

Personally, I think it’s an incredibly interesting program and there is definitely a demand for Biomedical Engineers these days. My best friend is currently studying Engineering Sciences at U of T, focusing on Biomedical Engineering. She says it’s a tough program but there is so much to learn and it’s all very interesting to her. I’m sure if you’re interested in Biomedical Engineering, you will love the challenge the program will be here at uWaterloo.

If you’re looking for a bit more information on Biomedical Engineering, check out Prof. Anderson’s post here and keep up with his blog for details coming up soon. Of course, the link to the main page on Biomedical Engineering is here and here is some additional information on entrance requirements.

Good luck on your applications and don’t forget to keep the questions coming!

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

Last Week of Class Thoughts

I’m feeling overwhelmed so I’m sharing some thoughts to get it all out. After all, this blog is to show everyone what life as a uWaterloo Engineering student is like.

So yes, it is already the last week of class. How did the semester fly by so fast? I remember travelling with my parents near the end of August, feeling excited and nervous about life and uWaterloo soon and then it all happened and I don’t even know what to think now.

My days are long; 8:30AM to 5:20PM on an average day, sometimes an hour shorter or sometimes two hours longer, but I managed. The days actually feel short to me now. When you’re busying working in a tutorial or lab, or learning in a lecture, it’s nothing. I just go through the classes, go home to work, eat dinner, then work some more. Basically, I work about 60% of the day. I don’t ever really stop.

So now we’re about to start finals. I’m terrified of the thought of having to write finals, especially when I’m behind in a couple of classes. Fortunately I’ve managed to catch up for the most part but there will be so much studying to do.

I’m still trying to find a co-op job for January 2014. That’s just additional stress right now. Never would have thought that I would still be unemployed after all the stats they gave us on how high employment rates are. We’re still only 30% employed at the moment. What a terrifying fact.

I’m stressed to say the least right now. It all happens so fast. Unexpected but it’s fine. I’ll pull through.

FOH 2013 in Review + FAQs

Fall Open House was worth the 6:30AM wake-up. I walked over to RCH by 7AM and got through the day that ended at around 4:30PM. Worth it.

You know what made it great and completely worth it? The people. There were students, parents, professors, and staff going through RCH the whole day and everyone had a different story to share. Everyone had questions to ask, and questions to answer. There was a lot of purple and uWaterloo Engineering pride going around. It was great.

My favourite part of the day was hanging out by the ECE booth on the third floor of RCH talking to prospective students and their parents. I love to help people and I loved sharing my knowledge and stories that day. It was such a fast-paced environment with so much interest in uWaterloo Engineering in the air

Throughout the day, I noticed some questions that were repeatedly asked so I thought I would share my answers to those questions.

1. What is the difference between Software and Computer Engineering?
Software is more strictly software-based while Computer is a mix of software and hardware, to quickly put it. Software is actually partly run by the Engineering faculty’s ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) program and Math faculty so you’ll get a good mix of courses from both faculities. Marieta has written an excellent post on the difference between Software Eng, Comp Eng, and Comp Sci so check it out!

2. How about the differences between Computer and Electrical Engineering?
Computer has more software mixed into the hardware and Electrical is more hardware-based. I’m all over the hardware which is why I chose Electrical Engineering. A good thing to note, for the first three terms (1A, 1B, and 2A), the Comp Eng and Electrical Eng students take all the same courses together so you can switch between the two programs quite easily before your 2B term.

3. What average do I need to get into a uWaterloo Engineering program?
Ahh, admission averages. This question is when I tell people that good grades don’t guarantee you a spot in the engineering program you apply for. Do the AIF and do it well. While grades do matter, the AIF is incredibly important because it tells the university what you will bring to the program to succeed. A chart of the admission averages and likelihood of being accepted with that average is posted hereIt can also vary slightly from year to year based on how competitive that year is but usually a 90%+ average will give you a pretty good chance of getting into the program.

4. What is co-op, do I have to do it, and what if I don’t get a job?
The co-op program allows students to alternate between study and work terms to get paid, practical and relevant, hands-on experience in the engineering world. Yes, it is mandatory for all engineering programs and it will get you up to two full years of relevant experience; this increases your chances of getting employed after you graduate which is great! You need to complete 5 out of 6 co-op terms and the employment rate is up in the high 90s so you will very likely get a job each term. The first work term is usually the hardest to get but from then on, it usually isn’t a problem. Don’t worry about it!

5. I don’t have programming experience. Is that bad?
I don’t want to say that it’s bad but I would definitely highly recommend getting it before you arrive. Plus, it’ll definitely help if you have it and talk about it in your AIF! If your school offers a programming course, take it. There are actually programming experience requirements for Software Engineering applicants which can be found here so make sure you look into that if you’re interested in Software Eng. All engineering students will take at least one programming course so you might as well get a basic understanding of it before heading off to university. I personally recommend Java, C#, or C++ which are taught in various programs and often found as requirements for co-op jobs.

I will be writing a post or two soon with more information on admission requirements, AIF tips, and ways to prepare for Engineering at uWaterloo. Those will hopefully go up within the next couple of weeks as I quickly fall into finals which are coming up way too soon. Anyway, that’s it for now but please keep the questions and comments coming!

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo