Adam chose the pre-professional transfer program in engineering at uLethbridge because of the size and the proximity to his hometown. What he found at uLethbridge was a group of friends and mentors and an opportunity to better integrate into the intensity of engineering in a more comfortable space with less risk of feeling overwhelmed. Currently in his fifth and final year of mechanical engineering co-op at the University of Alberta, Adam has recently been accepted into the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands for a Master's of Science in Aerospace Engineering, with a specialization in spaceflight and spacecraft design.
Engineering is a complex and challenging profession, but the atmosphere at the U of L allowed me to grow confident in my abilities and in the belief that I could succeed in my studies.
What inspired you to study engineering?
Going into engineering was always something I knew I wanted to do. My love of building with LEGOs and space really left only one choice in my mind. As I got older, my focus turned more towards working to benefit society, further solidifying my decision to study engineering, which perfectly aligned this goal with the skill and talents I already had.
Why did you choose to begin your engineering studies at the U of L?
The main factors in this decision for me were the size of the university and its proximity to my hometown. I was very aware of the significant culture shift in moving from a high school with a graduating class of twenty to a university whose population was almost ten times that of my entire hometown of Pincher Creek. U of L offered an easier transition for me while also being closer to home and my already-built support circles. U of L offered the chance to better integrate into the world of university and the intensity of engineering in a more comfortable space and with much less risk of being overwhelmed.
What engineering program are you currently in? How did engineering at the U of L help prepare you for these studies?
I am currently in my fifth and final year of mechanical engineering co-op at the University of Alberta. In addition to my degree, I have also been an active member in numerous student design groups on campus. I have held various positions and roles for an equally varied set of clubs. I currently am an active member in AlbertaSat, where my duties now involve aiding and leading the testing of various satellite subsystems to ensure proper functionality. In addition to this, I am also the president of the University of Alberta's rocketry club and am leading the design, construction, and testing of the U of A's first student-built high-powered rocket.
U of L engineering has played a prominent role in setting the foundation and preparing me for my studies and extra-curricular activities. The biggest skill I learned at the U of L was proper time management. Managing the variety of labs, quizzes and assignments effectively have proven invaluable for me as the years have gone by. Engineering is a complex and challenging profession, but the atmosphere at the U of L allowed me to grow confident in my abilities and in the belief that I could succeed in my studies.
What were some of your most memorable experiences during your time at the U of L?
My most memorable experiences come from the close group of friends I made during my time at U of L. Being part of a relatively small group of students, and being subject to a fairly intense workload, meant that a lot of our time was spent together, working on assignments, studying for exams, and procrastinating on our work. The memory that first comes to mind is the first all-nighter we had to pull together to finish an assignment. It may not have been all that fun at the moment, but with the group of us sitting in a room writing code at three in the morning with food and music on in the background, I look back on it now with fondness and something that really help to solidify our friendship.
Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your U of L experience? This can be a friend, mentor, staff or faculty.
The person who had the most significant impact and influence on my experience at U of L was Dr. Locke Spencer. As one of my profs in my first semester and later my supervisor and mentor throughout multiple stints in research for him, he truly impacted the direction of my life. Throughout my first semester at the U of L, Dr. Spencer drew my attention to the material he taught and confirmed that this was truly the path I wanted to be on in life. Later, when I was given the opportunity to work as a research assistant for him, he helped develop my technical and soft skills greatly and gave me the confidence to trust my abilities, as well as helped to develop my interest in research. This experience and mentorship have played a crucial role in my personal and professional development, and I certainly would not be where I am today without Dr. Spencer.
What advice would you give to students about to begin their post-secondary journeys?
In my opinion, the most valuable piece of advice, and something that I wish I knew in my first year, is that proper time management is just as important as keeping priorities of everything straight. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day slog of assignments and studying and get overwhelmed with all of the deadlines, especially around the midterm season. Keeping in mind the importance of each task can help focus attention to where it is most useful. Studying for a midterm worth 30% is objectively a better use of time than finishing an assignment worth 1%, even if it means doing worse on the assignment. This can similarly be applied to mental health as well. It can be very easy to get too overwhelmed and experience burnout, and sacrificing one assignment for a few hours of rest and sleep can lead to a much more enjoyable time in university, and overall higher grades, if done correctly.
Getting a 100% on one assignment is not necessarily worth sacrificing a night's sleep and a shower for.
Why should students begin their engineering journey at the University of Lethbridge?
I can only speak from my point of view, but I know for me, U of L helped me integrate into the intense and demanding world of being an engineering student. Through its engineering program, I believe that I am better able to succeed than if I had not taken it, and I value my time at U of L engineering very much.