I haven’t had much time to add to my blog over the past month. As you can imagine, our Engineering Admissions team has been busy selecting students for the early round of admissions, participating in the March Break Open House, and answering student questions about offers of admission. However, I wanted to make a quick post about the Canadian Engineering Competition that was held at the University of Waterloo on the first weekend in March.
The Canadian Engineering Competition brings together engineering students from across Canada to compete in eight competitions focusing on aspects of engineering. There are four regional competitions (Atlantic Engineering Competition, Quebec Engineering Competition, Ontario Engineering Competition, Western Engineering Competition) that select the competitors for the Canadian Engineering Competition. The students who participate in the Canadian Engineering Competition are among the best engineering students in Canada.
The eight competitions held at the Canadian Engineering Competition are the following:
- Consulting Engineering
- Engineering Communications
- Innovative Design
- Junior Team Design
- Senior Team Design
- Extemporaneous Debate
The official rules for the competitions are conveniently posted online for anyone interested. The rules change from one year to the next. The host university has the option of revising the rules (within reason). Often, changes are necessary to deal with scheduling issues and funding constraints.
As a member of the Sandford Fleming Foundation, I was able to participate as a judge in the Extemporaneous Debate Competition. I have judged debate competitions at both the university level and the provincial level but this was my first time serving as a debate judge at the national level. Debates are an interesting challenge when competitors may use either English or French to make their arguments. Since not all judges or competitors are bilingual, the organizers arranged for real-time translation using live translators and headsets. Despite concerns that translation might place certain competitors at a disadvantage, in practice, the translations worked well and the judging was straightforward. The only issue was a minor delay related to getting the headsets to work without interference.
A few Waterloo teams participated in the Canadian Engineering Competition, having placed in the top two positions at the Ontario Engineering Competition. One of the Senior Design Competition teams consisted of students I taught in Fall 2018. This team is pictured below with their medals and their award for finishing second in the competition.
It should be noted that two of the students had to be flown in from co-op jobs in California to compete at the Canadian Engineering Competition. Our Dean is very supportive of our students. The Dean’s Office helps fund the cost of the flights in such situations to ensure that our students can compete. As you can probably tell, our students had a great time at the competition and they were very proud of their success.
On behalf of both the University of Waterloo and the Sandford Fleming Foundation, I would like to congratulate all of the organizers, volunteers, participants, judges, and sponsors on a tremendous competition. The students who competed at the Canadian Engineering Competition did an exceptional job. They truly represent some of the best future engineers in Canada.