On the weekend of November 3rd, I had the privilege of attending the annual Professional Engineers Ontario Student Conference held by the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario (ESSCO).
ESSCO is an association that represents engineering societies from 16 universities across Ontario, and acts as a link between engineering students and professional associations, academia, and government. In collaboration with Professional Engineers Ontario, the conference was designed to educate students about the services offered by PEO, and the benefits of obtaining a P. Eng License. The theme for this year’s conference was “Motivate. Innovate. Integrate.”, and I am happy to report that it surpassed all of my expectations.
The conference began on Friday evening, where the delegates from ESSCO schools travelled to Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario to meet for the first time. We were all surprised and excited to learn that we would be attending the Friday Night Live event at the ROM. Decked out in coveralls and bearing school mascots, we became one of the many spectacles at the museum. After exploring the ROM and getting to know each other, all of the delegates gathered in the main lobby of the museum for an iconic and unforgettable dance-off. Accompanied by a live DJ, we welcomed all of the stares and confused faces. The event was the perfect compliment to the professional day awaiting us.
On Saturday morning we made our way over to the Rogers Communication Center on Ryerson Campus. We had the opportunity to hear from industry professionals, as well PEO and OSPE representatives, about the future of engineering and the role that we play in it. Three speakers that particularly made an impression on me were Rose Ghamari, Jonathan Hack, and Seyed Hashemi. Rose Ghamari, a Ryerson alumni who is currently employed at Bombardier Aerospace, was the first of the presenters. She set the tone of self-motivation with her talk about training yourself for success. One of the key points I took away from Rose’s presentation was the importance of outdoing yourself; she said, “Finite players outdo others, infinite players outdo themselves.” This theme of continuously pushing ourselves to be better carried on into Jonathan Hack’s session. Jonathan Hack is the President & Chair of OSPE, an association that acts as the voice of engineers across Ontario to ensure that their interests are supported, protected, and advanced. He spoke about The Modern Engineer – a metaphor that describes the engineers of today leading the public rather than serving the public. Hack reminded us all of our ability and our duty to make a positive impact on society.
Finally, Dr. Hashemi, a professor at Ryerson University, spoke about Ryerson’s International Hyperloop Team. The idea of Hyperloop alone was enough send our thoughts racing about the possibilities of the future. We were all enamored by his explanation of the innovative braking system Ryerson’s team had developed for a potential pod. Other memorable speakers included Tracy Caruna, Sami Lamrad, Kumar Erramilli, and PEO President Bob Dony. We headed back to the hotel feeling inspired and excited about our future careers.
The final two events of the conference were a banquet on Saturday evening and a brunch on Sunday afternoon. Both delicious meals were accompanied by the stimulating presentations of Jeanette Chau and Tarek Sadek and Nisreen Rawdah. They spoke to us about rising from failure and our aptitude for entrepreneurship as engineers. As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, I appreciated that the organizers of the conference made an effort to showcase the close relationship between engineering and entrepreneurship.
As an engineering student, I know first hand how difficult it is to stay motivated in such a demanding program. In the midst of assignments, lab reports, and midterms, it is much too easy to lose sight of the reason we chose engineering in the first place. My weekend at PEO-SC reminded me why I chose engineering. All engineers share the same passion for improving society and making a positive impact on the world. I left the conference feeling re-established in my mission to “Motivate. Innovate. Integrate.” Thank you to everyone at ESSCO and PEO for an educational and enriching weekend.
Sophia Di Muccio is a second year aerospace engineering student at Ryerson University. She is also the VP Communications in the Aerospace Course Union at Ryerson and the co-founder of a startup company. Sophia plans to specialize in the spacecraft stream next year and pursue her passion for space travel and exploration.