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Meet our ENGAP Class of 2020

May 7, 2020 — 

The past few weeks have not been easy for students.  The annual Engineering Access Program (ENGAP) graduation dinner and celebration was among the many events canceled or postponed in response to COVID-19. While we look forward to a time and place when we can join and celebrate with them and their families, the tradition of recognizing our ENGAP grads on UM Today continues.

Program director, Randy Herrmann, offered these words to our graduates:

“The Engineering Access Program congratulates you on your great accomplishment in completing your degree at the University of Manitoba. You are role models to siblings, cousins, friends, past classmates and you have done your communities and the Indigenous community proud. You are now equipped with the building blocks of success and it is now your turn to go into the world and make a difference for those that will follow in your footsteps.”

Meet the Graduates

Robin Armstrong

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: Mechanical Engineering

Plans/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: My plan for the next year is to make it through the isolation period with a new skill or two, then find a job in Winnipeg. 5 year plan is to travel, and within 10 years I would like to complete my P.Eng designation and be working in Winnipeg.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: Being a part of the winning 2019 SAE Aero Design international competition team, as well as being an Executive on the very successful 2020 Canadian Engineering Competition Organizing Committee.

Favorite engineering Prof: A tie between Dr. Sean O’Brien and Dr. Paul Labossiere.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: Don’t be afraid to join extra curricular teams in your first year, you will start making friends and learning almost immediately!

Reed Forrest

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: Biosystems Engineering.

Plans/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: My plan for the next year is to put more time and effort into my creative pursuits, namely practicing music, writing music with my band, and writing a feature-length screenplay with a friend of mine. Hopefully I’ll find a job. Beyond that, I have no plans. Finding happiness and doing the things I enjoy are all I can aim for. I should be so lucky.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: Not a ‘moment’, per se, but forming a lasting friendship with another student is something I cherish.

Favorite engineering Prof: My favourite instructor I encountered in university was not actually an engineering professor, but a film professor, George Toles. I found his enthusiasm to be quite motivating. Even in a first-year course, his commitment to students and the seriousness with which he took our work was admirable, his feedback was valuable, and his thoughts were always compelling.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: I would inform myself that figuring out how to thrive in university would take time and hard work, but that this process would present so much opportunity for personal growth.

Samuel Rohatynsky

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: Computer Engineering

Plans/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: My immediate plan is to obtain gainful employment. In the longer term, I would like to use my newfound free time to pursue hobbies new and old, such as sport and music.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: My most memorable moment from my time in the Faculty has to be one I shared with ENGAP. There were so many good moments, like the Christmas parties, the game nights, the graduation ceremonies. It is difficult to choose just one, but a recent one was a minigolf evening in February that I personally organized as the Secretary of the EASA Council.  It was fun to see a plan work out successfully and to entertain myself and my peers within ENGAP.

Favorite engineering Prof: Dr. Bob McLeod was my favourite professor. He is easy-going and cares for his students. He also served as my advisor for my Capstone project and was very helpful throughout the process.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: Be aware of your available resources (like ENGAP, MMF, Student Advocacy and countless others) and incorporate them to further your success.

Connor Tompkins

Indigenous background: Métis
Area of Study: Mechanical Engineering.

Plans /goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: Currently I am enrolled to come back for a Masters in mechanical engineering at the University of Manitoba where I will be focused on robotics and automation. From there I will seek industry experience in the robotics field. My career goal is to return for a Ph. D and become a professor at the U of M.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: Competing at CEC and placing 2nd overall in senior design would probably be my top experience, however meeting many of my current friends is what I appreciate most coming out of university.

Favorite engineering Prof: This is a tough question because the department of mechanical engineering has so many great professors. If I were to pick one, I would say Dr. Paul Labossiere due to his genuine interest in students and the vast amount of career advice he has given me along the way.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy your time here at the U of M because time flies by.

Lynden Travers

Indigenous background: First Nations from Fisher River Cree Nation, Manitoba

Area of Study: Civil Engineering

Plan/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: I wish to have a career in engineering consulting that specializes in working with Indigenous communities across Canada.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: I do not have a favorite moment, but overall I found overcoming adversity to be especially rewarding and thus most memorable during the entirety of my time in the faculty.

Favorite engineering Prof: Dr. Tricia Stadnyk was an exceptional professor and I enjoyed her courses. She was very fair for exams and was nonetheless a great teacher.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: take it one day at a time, and see that any sort of failure in courses will not define your tenure in the program, and that it is only a part of the journey.

Since joining the Faculty as an Elder-in-Residence last year, Elder Norman Meade has been a source of sound advice, wisdom, and guidance for our ENGAP students and our Faculty as a whole. He offers this message to our ENGAP Class of 2020:

“Education is a life long process that we sometimes want to cram into a few short years. And although it feels good when we achieve those short term goals, like now at grad time, we still have a lifetime of learning to go, to practice what we have learned. As an Elder, I see a graduate of engineering as a brilliant person. One, who has dedicated a few years of his or her life to study science, maths, and equations to come up with a design, an invention if you will to find a solution that may be useful to society’s needs. You are that person now. It is now time for you to go out and put to practical use what you have learned in these past few years. Congratulations, stay safe, and persevere. In Chief Barker’s (my father in law) words “perseverance leads to success”.”


One comment on “Meet our ENGAP Class of 2020

  1. Tricia Stadnyk

    Congratulations to all our ENGAP students. Perseverance and hard work underpin the engineering profession, which is lucky to have you all! I am beyond honoured to have been mentioned by Lyden – thank you for making my day.

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