I was born/grew up in: London, Ontario
I now live in: Thorndale, Ontario
I completed my training/education at: Western University, Mechatronic Systems Engineering Program
What I do at work
I design and build many different types of electrical systems. These include high or low power, mobile robotic or stationary circuit systems. For each, I first decide which components I need. This includes such things as motor drivers, computer chips, power converters, and sensors. Then, I decide how to connect these parts together, so that the overall system does what I want. I make these decisions using my STEM knowledge. Some of this knowledge I’ve gathered from past projects. Other parts come from my degree. However, there is always a new part or technology I haven’t seen before. As a result, I get to keep learning and building my knowledge.
The first time I test a new design, it might not work the way I expected. That’s normal for complicated systems. What’s more, problem solving is one of the most fun and satisfying parts of my job! Solving electrical problems feels a bit like being a wizard troubleshooting a complicated spell. This is because you can’t just look and see what is causing the problem. There isn’t a moving part you can point at and say: “Oh, that part is cracked in half and is clearly broken”. To solve electrical problems, you have to know the system (the spell) well enough to say: “Well, it would make sense if this part was causing the issue. If I try this and poke here, the system should behave one way. If it behaves another way, then I know this part might be where the issue is.” It’s a puzzle, usually with flashing lights. It is just the best feeling once you’ve solved it!
I don’t work alone. Electrical engineering is just one discipline among many that are needed to build space systems. I work with other engineers, designers, technicians, and project managers. We bounce ideas off each other, and work in synch to make the project successful.
My career path is
I didn’t know what I wanted to do in high school. I just knew that I liked math and science and that I had a creative streak. My mother suggested engineering to me. I looked at my godmother, who worked for the European Space Agency. I felt so intimidated by the idea of working in this area. I had no experience with electrical design or robotics. I thought, if other people were doing it, why couldn’t I?
I decided to go to Western University for engineering. My decision to go there was because of their common first year. This let me test the appeal of all of their disciplines. I chose mechatronic systems engineering because I thought it was cool. Aslo, it was the area that intimidated me the most (that’s always a good sign, in my opinion). Then I did a 15-month long internship with a robotics company. Here I learned how to solve problems properly, and I loved it!
I am motivated by
I love solving problems! Electrical systems provide complicated problems to solve. You can’t see what isn’t working properly. You have to consider what you want it to do and what it is actually doing. Then you figure out what is not working and why. Since no two problems are the same, I keep doing what I love to do.
How I affect peoples’ lives
The work I do will help further humanity’s understanding of the universe. In the future, we could establish human colonies on these moons or planets. Before we can do that, we must know what’s there. We must explore. Contributing to that effort is very meaningful.
Outside of work I
My chief hobbies involve Brazilian jiu jitsu, ultimate Frisbee, reading, and camping. I tutor high school math for free. I volunteer at an animal sanctuary whenever I have time.
My advice to others
If you imagine yourself in a career, whatever that career may be, and think to yourself: “Wow, it would be so cool to know how to do that, but I don't think I ever could!" That’s a sign that you should pursue it. You can do it. You just have to work hard.