Engineering Failure Rates-Redux

Here’s an update on a popular old post, with some new data and comments.

I’m never quite sure why people ask about failure rates, or what they are expecting.  Do they want to hear that the failure rate is high, so they are convinced it’s a tough (and therefore good) program?  Or maybe they don’t want the failure rate to be high, because they are concerned that they won’t be successful?  I’m not sure what the motivation for the question is, but anyways let’s examine failure rates.  Continue reading

11 Surprising Things to Keep On Your Resume – Glassdoor Blog

Some interesting ideas in this article.  Although written for permanent job seekers, it could also be very applicable to co-op students and high school students applying for university programs.  Some of those things are what can make you stand out from the crowd, in my experience on the hiring and admissions side.

Stand up comedian? Competitive athlete? Find out what surprising skills should stay on your resume.

Source: 11 Surprising Things to Keep On Your Resume – Glassdoor Blog

Applying to University Should be Like Applying for Jobs

As high school students return to class, here is some key advice for those planning to apply to university or college.  I strongly suggest that when applying to a post-secondary program, it should be treated like applying for a job or career.  There should be some significant self-reflection and “selling yourself” to the university.  The self-reflection part is derived from Prof. Larry Smith’s book, which I have briefly reviewed before.  It’s very important to know why you’re doing something before doing it.  The “selling yourself” part builds on this, and can be illustrated with an example that is a composite of stuff we see for Engineering applications.  For this example, let’s consider two hypothetical applicants to Mechanical Engineering, both with similar grades (say low 90’s) and similar other activities.  Each applicant writes something in their Admission Information Form, along the lines of the following… Continue reading

German Baking

Waterloo Region has a long history of German immigration and influence since its initial settlement, leading to place names like Berlin (now Kitchener), New Hamburg, Baden, and local events like Oktoberfest.  Around the area you can find various places with German-style cuisine and products including at the bakery featured in this local news video link:  https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1477166   From personal experience, their Christmas Stollen bread and chocolates are highly addictive.  But what does this have to do with chemical engineering? Continue reading

Transitions

‘I pass the test,’ she said. ‘I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.’ (The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VII)

I too have passed a test, managing engineering admissions for the past decade through a period of rapid growth and various changes.  And it is now time for me to diminish and remain a professor, finishing my term as Director of Admissions and returning to a focus on teaching and research in Chemical Engineering.  As of September 1 a new Director takes over, and he will likely continue our recent tradition of running an admissions blog with up to date information and insights.  Since my blog URL is rather eponymous, there will be a new site and I’ll provide an introduction and link to it when available in the near future.

I plan to continue this blog with things related to engineering teaching, careers, research, and other topics of interest to me.  I will also post things about admissions in a more generic sense, looking at trends across Canada, the U.S. and suggestions and insights for applicants considering an engineering program at any university.  However, I won’t be answering questions or posting details about current Waterloo admissions news, since I will no longer be directly connected to it.

Reflecting on what has happened during my time as Director of Admissions, Engineering has seen applications grow from about 6,300 to just under 13,000.  We’ve added two new programs (Biomedical and Architectural Engineering), expanded the Mechatronics program to two streams, implemented an optional video interview system, hired more staff to handle the increased volumes, and seen dramatic growth in applications from outside Canada, including the U.S. and India.  The time has flown by, and I’ve had fun and satisfaction working with lots of different people, including faculty and staff, applicants, current students, alumni, parents, guidance counselors, and secondary school teachers.  There have been plenty of behind the scenes challenges along the way, but our talented Associate Directors and hard-working admissions team has always helped me to hit the annual admissions targets with no major surprises or disasters, and for this I’m very thankful!

For faculty members, these administrative positions are usually something we do out of interest and a desire to help out with the operations of the university.  But as they say in business, my “core mission” is in teaching and research.  So, having done what I can to continuously improve engineering admissions practices it’s time to step back and let someone with a fresh outlook carry on.

So now I can focus on other things and make some progress on teaching and research projects.  These projects include some course updating and redevelopment, and new research studies with industrial partners on air pollution control, water testing, and antimicrobial materials.  Unlike Galadriel however, I have no plans to go into the West.

Life extending technology | TheRecord.com

A story at the link below about a company started by one of our nanotechnology engineering graduates (and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering, according to his LinkedIn page).  The technology is based on SPR, or Surface Plasmon Resonance, and interesting material property that appears at the nanoscale.  Some of my research work is based on this phenomenon, and this seems like a nice piece of equipment.

Kitchener startup’s ‘life extending’ technology helps researchers study disease and develop new medicines

KITCHENER — Ryan Denomme pursues cutting edge science from inside an old factory building where his grandmother used to work.

Denomme is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Nicoya Lifesciences, which recently launched the second version of its desktop device that measures interactions between some of the most important building blocks in the human body — proteins.

Source: Life extending technology | TheRecord.com