Preparing for Tests

Around this time of year, some first year students (and others too) start to realize that they actually don’t know how to effectively study, learn material, and prepare for tests.  The memorization and rote learning strategies that may have been OK for high school usually don’t work well at the university level.  It’s not too late to change however, and there are various resources available to help, including at our Student Success Office.  There are some that are more engineering-specific, such as the following one I found a few years ago. Continue reading

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

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

Engineering 101 Welcome

Engineering 101 is a type of orientation event held in July for new admitted students.  It’s an opportunity to come to campus and look around, meet some fellow students, get some tips for success, and get some errands done before the rush starts in September.  There is an online guide summarizing everything, which is good for those who can’t make the trip or who want to review some of the advice.

I was asked to make some opening remarks, so following is a version of what I said. Continue reading

Ideas Clinic-Scanning Tunneling Microscope

I was visiting my colleagues in the Engineering Ideas Clinic the other day, to discuss a design-fabricate-test project for a heat exchanger that we’re working on for Chemical Engineering students.  The basic concept for the Ideas Clinic is that students can do hands-on activities requiring engineering design, some fabrication and assembly, and some performance testing, part of our experiential learning philosophy.  A bunch of activities have been developed over the past few years, and many more are in development to take advantage of new space available in our Engineering 7 building,  opening soon.

One activity they previewed for me was the building of a desktop Scanning Tunneling Microscope for imaging surfaces at the atomic scale.  The video below shows the basic principle of an STM.  Once it’s finalized, this will be an activity for our Nanotechnology Engineering students, and it’s amazing that something like this can be built by students for a couple of hundred dollars.  I look forward to seeing it in action.

 

Co-op students build first-of-its-kind machine in Canada | Engineering | University of Waterloo

An interesting article about some co-op student efforts in one of our research labs.  I learned about Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition, which is an interesting application of nanoscience and materials engineering.

With the help of seven University of Waterloo co-op students, Canada’s first Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition (SALD) system is up and running. At the celebratory ribbon cutting on May 10, 2018, project leader Professor Kevin Musselman said he couldn’t have done it without the co-op students who helped design and build the machine. “I was sitting at my desk the whole time. I don’t think I ever lifted a finger so it was entirely built by the students,” laughs Musselman.

Source: Co-op students build first-of-its-kind machine in Canada | Engineering | University of Waterloo