I haven’t had an opportunity to post to my blog lately. This is the busiest time of the year for anyone working in admissions. However, it is also a very busy time of the year for all faculty, staff, and students. Here are a few of the highlights from my last two weeks.
Every year at the end of March, the Faculty of Engineering showcases the capstone design projects of our 4th year engineering students at a series of symposiums. For many years, I served as the coordinator of the ECE Capstone Design Symposium. It is a challenging task to solicit sponsorship, attract a team of volunteers, and plan logistics for a graduating class of ECE students. My involvement is now limited to serving as a judge for various competitions and assessing ECE student work for the purpose of grading. Shown below are the members of a medal-winning ECE capstone project team that I advised this year. They developed a game to encourage students to learn American Sign Language.
For an idea of what one of the symposiums looks like, shown below is an image of a symposium taken this year in our Engineering 7 (E7) atrium. This image shows roughly one third of the projects on display at this symposium. There were events like this one held every couple of days for a period spanning approximately two weeks. Graduating students, including those from our first class of Biomedical Engineering, displayed their projects at one of these many symposiums.
For my fourth consecutive year, I was a member of the judging panel for the prestigious Palihapitiya Venture Creation Fund which provides $50,000 for up to two capstone project teams to pursue commercialization of their projects. This year, two teams were selected to receive funding. The Stacktronic team from Mechatronics Engineering developed an innovative Li-ion battery module to build modular battery packs of different capacities for mining, farming, and industrial use. In addition to the $50,000 cash prize, the team also receives space in the Velocity incubator and mentorship from some of the best venture capitalists in the business. The Project Beacon team from Systems Design Engineering developed a software platform for universities to better inform and assist students struggling with mental health issues. Their software enables universities to provide students with timely and accurate information about mental health and the many counselling options available to students. This team also wins $50,000, space in the Velocity incubator, and mentorship. On behalf of the judging panel, I wish the teams all the best on the creation of their new ventures.
I also served as one of two judges for the Autodesk Canada Capstone Award which is given to a capstone project team for demonstrating an innovative and practical design solution to a problem. The project must include a significant software component but the team can be from any engineering discipline. Thirteen teams from engineering competed for the award this year. The winning team was Inspeksi from Mechatronics Engineering. They developed a robotic system to automatically identify surface defects in fabricated materials. The system used software to control the positioning of the cameras and software to perform extensive image processing. The team received $5,000 cash to be split among the team members for their efforts.
Most recently, I attended the Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Awards for Capstone Design where six project teams received cash awards of $10,000 and one team received the Adel Sedra People’s Choice Award. This year’s recipient of the Adel Sedra People’s Choice Award was the Compr team from Management Engineering. They were also the recipient of one of the $10,000 awards. Other award winning teams included Atlas Medical, Stacktronic, Stellar Care, Augeo Medical, and Reka. Although I did not participate in judging this competition this year, I did attend the pitch competition and I was thoroughly impressed by all of the teams competing.
Most recently, I attended the Toast of the Graduating Class of 2019. This is an event that we hold annually to celebrate the achievements of our graduating class. This year’s event was the largest ever held with over 600 people attending the event. Shown below is an image of balloons dropping on the graduating class after the toast. It was a great event that gave faculty members, like myself, a chance to personally congratulate students on their many achievements.
Over the past two weeks, the Engineering Admissions Team has also been assessing interviews and AIFs in preparation for our next round of admissions. Applicants who have requested early consideration will learn whether they will receive an offer of admission to Waterloo Engineering on April 17th. We received 310 requests for early consideration from applicants who have offers at other universities or colleges requiring acceptance by May 1st.
All other applicants will learn whether they will receive an offer of admission by the middle of May. Scholarships will also be decided during the final round of admission. For those who are interested, our prediction models suggest we have filled 493.2 domestic spaces out of a total of 1470 domestic spaces and we have filled 61.5 visa spaces out of a total of 203 visa spaces. In other words, 66.4% of all domestic spaces are still unfilled and 69.3% of all visa spaces are still unfilled. The majority of our spaces will be filled in the final round of admissions.