School of Sustainable Design Engineering ensuring strong community partnerships
An Industry Engagement Day was held at the UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering (SSDE) program recently. Industry, government, and other community partners were invited to provide feedback as the school determines the next area to focus on.
Nicholas Krouglicof, Associate Dean, and Allan Dale, Director of Industry Partnership, welcomed a full lecture theatre of invited guests. “We will incorporate all of the feedback from this day and from further outreaches into our long-term vision,” says Nicholas.
“This day brings together students and people in the industry,” says Allan. “Our main focus is to be connected to the industry on a day-to-day basis.”
The SSDE recognizes that engineering affects many aspects of society, and therefore students are exposed to a wide-scope and balance of knowledge and skills in engineering science, natural science, mathematics, and complementary studies. They are actively engaged in the profession of engineering by being connected to industry from day one.
UPEI’s School of Sustainable Design Engineering offers an innovative four-year Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Design Engineering degree. The program is unique, providing students with real-life work experience on community and industry-based projects in every semester of the program. Students in the third and fourth years of the program can enhance their technical knowledge by choosing one of three engineering focus areas: mechatronics, sustainable energy, or bioresources.
4th Year student gives her account of her school experience
Haley Butler says when she was in high school she really didn’t know what was involved in Engineering as a career choice. “A big part of my volunteer efforts at the school is working with junior high and with high school girls to make them aware of this career at a younger age.
“When I was in high school, someone visited to tell us about Engineering. I was always interested in math and sciences, but I didn’t have any interest in doing a traditional science degree. Engineering gave me more options that suited my interest.”
After her first year, she knew she was hooked. “I was very surprised how much creativity and practical application there is in engineering. It is all about problem solving.
“After my second year at UPEI, I planned to go to Dalhousie to take the Environmental Engineering stream, but then it was announced a degree program was starting here.
“I am very happy I was able to continue my studies here, and that I got to stay on PEI. I was able to work part-time to finance my studies. I am not taking a full course load so that I can manage financially, and now I have no debt and less stress.
“This past summer, I did research with Dr. Ali Ahmad in the Atlantic Bio Fabrication Lab. He offered me the job after taking his Bio Materials course. I produced all-natural biodegradable plastics made from potato starch. Recently, I made 3-D printing filaments out of the same material, and soon I will move into the actual 3-D printing of products. I am continuing to do the research with him until the end of the school year.”
The school’s 3-D printer is the only one of its caliber in the Maritimes. Students have access to the latest state-of-the-art equipment, professors with up-to-date knowledge, and the National Research Council centre, which is next door.
Haley’s design project this year took her to Pakistan to work with the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad for a week in October.
“We are working with a village with no access to waste water treatment, so the community is dealing with a lot of illness. I will meet with members of the community to understand the nature of their situation and take lots of pictures. The problem is a lack of education around water sanitation. We will be working on a plan that will integrate well into their culture.
“After I graduate, I am thinking about doing my Masters with Dr. Ali Ahmad and continuing with the research. He has many connections around the world, so I am thinking about going to places such as Germany to get further training in labs. I know there would be funding sources I could look into if I pursue my Masters.”
Some projects showcased during the SSDE Industry Engagement Day
The world is their oyster. A team of students has engineered a solution for oyster growers and producers. Jordan Sampson, Brett McDermott, and Dylan MacIsaac designed equipment that flips oyster cages, a task that is now done manually.
The students plan to incorporate their company and refine their design to develop a production version. The students will graduate with a degree, an invention to their name, and a business.
Learn more about their product here.
For more information about UPEI School of Sustainable Design Engineering, visit www.upei.ca/engineering/welcome.