Opportunities Beyond Waterloo

Steven Jia - VP Communications
Posted on: July 2, 2017

Wow, can you believe it’s almost July? The summer solstice has passed, midterms are (mostly) over, and finals will be upon us in a month. I knew spring terms flew by, but this one feels like it’s going by particularly fast.

For this issue, I want to do a spotlight on the external opportunities that are available to Waterloo Engineering students. Some of them are really, really cool, so make sure to check them out! The list includes: engineering competitions, engineering courses in Europe, student leadership roles in ESSCO, student leadership in the CFES, and conferences!

As you may know, EngSoc runs the Waterloo Engineering Competition (WEC) twice a year—once in the Spring term and once in the Fall term. There are four competitions within WEC that EngSoc is responsible for: Junior Design, Senior Design, Consulting, and Programming. The Sanford Fleming Foundation also runs the Parliamentary Debate, Technical Communication, and Innovation competitions. Now, how is any of this relevant to external opportunities? Well, what you might not know is that WEC is a qualifier competition for the Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC), which is in turn a qualifier competition for the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC)! If your team competes and wins at these competitions, you get to advance to the next competition and participate free of charge! Competitions are a great way to practice your technical skills, meet other engineers, travel to a different city in the province and/or country, and potentially win some prizes.

So what’s this about studying in Europe? Yup, you heard right: there are courses offered by technical universities in Europe that are open to Canadian engineering students—that means you! The Board of European Students of Technology (BEST) is a continent-wide association in Europe that provides communication, cooperation and exchange possibilities for students all over Europe. One of the perks that they offer is the chance to study technical topics like green technology, artificial intelligence, water treatment, energy systems, the Internet of Things, and many, many more at host schools located in Europe. Courses are typically 1-2 weeks long, operate in English, and are offered for the summer and fall. Locations range from France to Portugal to the Czech Republic to Greece to Iceland! And the best part? They’re basically free!!! The most expensive course only charges around 40€ ($60 CAD) and all courses include lodging, 3 meals per day, and in-country transportation. If this is something that interests you, please check out the BEST website (https://www.best.eu.org/courses/welcome.jsp) or contact the CFES International Relations Commissioner at irc@cfes.ca! Fall 2017 courses can be found here.

 Next: ESSCO and CFES. I’ve mentioned what these cryptic acronyms stand for in my past articles and at Council meetings, but just in case you didn’t know, ESSCO is the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario and CFES is the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students. They represent engineering students to other professional bodies on a provincial and national level, respectively. So how can you get involved? ESSCO offers several director positions that any Ontario engineering student can apply for. If you want, you can also run for an ESSCO executive position at the Annual General Meeting that is held once per year. For the CFES, you are similarly eligible to apply for commissioner positions with portfolios ranging from media, to admin, to corporate relations, to international relations. You can also run for a CFES executive position at Congress, which is also held once per year. If these roles sound like too much of a commitment for you, both organizations often also have working groups on current hot topic issues that you can be a part of to provide your input. Please email at vpcomm.a@engsoc.uwaterloo.ca to see what opportunities are available now or in the near future.

 Finally, conferences! At this point, you might be a bit sick of hearing me talk about how cool conferences are, so have a read on our conference http://www.uwengconferences.ca/blog or hear about it from our delegates yourself by watching this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLuXK2g3kAo&feature=youtu.be! Beyond the fact that conferences always provide many useful sessions that aid in your personal, professional, and leadership growth, they are also perfect opportunities for meeting fellow students from across the province and country, and for learning about engineering culture at other countries. The conferences that you can attend are: PEO Student Conference, Conference on Diversity in Engineering, First Year Integration Conference (only if you’re a first-year), CFES Congress, and ESSCO Annual General Meeting. For more info on each of these conferences, check out their descriptions http://www.uwengconferences.ca/conferences.html.

 This was an extremely long article, but I hope you found (at least some of) the info useful and will take advantage of these opportunities. Like always, visit me in the Orifice or shoot me an email if you have any questions. Till next time!