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Meet the ENGAP Class of 2021

May 27, 2021 — 

Congratulations to this year’s Engineering Access Program graduates. While we aren’t able to gather in person to celebrate your achievements this year, we look forward to welcoming back both the ENGAP Classes of 2020 and 2021 for formal celebrations as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, the tradition of recognizing the ENGAP graduates on UM Today continues.

Meet the Graduates

Kayden Gauthier

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: My focus was in civil engineering. Specialization was not chosen specifically, but all of my co-op work experiences and research term was within the geotechnical field of civil engineering.

Plans/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: This coming year, professionally, I have been hired at KGS Group full time. In 5 years, my hope is to become a Professional Engineer in Geotechnical Engineering and potentially return to complete a MSc. in geotechnical engineering. My goal for 10 years would be continuing my career and hopefully helping future graduates with their career choices. I would love to be a representative of Geotechnical Engineering in Manitoba/Canada and make more people aware of this wonderful career path.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty:

My most memorable moment was being part of UMES and organizing various events for the engineering students, such as Halloween Dodgeball and Winter Spongee tournament. It was a great way to meet students and connect.

Favorite engineering Prof: Dr. James Blatz.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: Experience everything available to you within the faculty. The U of M engineering program has so many opportunities available to students. Never shy away from what is ahead.

Eric Kapilik

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: Computer Engineering – Embedded Systems + Co-op

Plans/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: My plans are to continue pursuing a career in developing innovative technology. I am currently working at a company which develops fully autonomous systems for agricultural machinery.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: Receiving the Price Scholarship in Engineering and being a part of giving a speech and gift on behalf of ENGAP to Dr. Price.

Favorite engineering Prof: Some of my favorite classes were with Dr. Ken Ferens. I also really enjoyed taking Parallel Processing with Dr. Ian Jeffrey.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: Go to more socials. 🙂

Michael MacCarthy

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: Computer Engineering

Plans/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: My goals are to keep learning wherever possible while spending as much time as I can with my family.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: The feeling of existential dread I felt when the whole class was told we did terrible on one of Trim’s term tests.

Favorite engineering Prof: Dr. Donald Trim.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: Don’t get complacent.

Matthew MacKay

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: Mechanical Engineering

Plans /goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: Working towards my professional engineering designation in the consulting industry.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: When I received my first A+ in the program.

Favorite engineering Prof: I can’t choose so here are a two, Paul Labossiere and Nishant Balakrishnan.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: Nobody is gifted with knowledge in engineering, education is directly correlated to how hard you work at it.

Tianna Philippot

Indigenous background: Red River Métis

Area of Study: Biosystems Engineering, Environmental Specialization

Plan/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: I plan to work in engineering consulting on sustainable development, water, and energy sovereignty in Indigenous communities. I am passionate about greenhouse gas mitigation strategies and carbon capture sequestration and utilization and would like to continue my academic career studying this field after gaining industry experience.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: I cannot recall one moment in particular, however, I recall many late-night study sessions in EITC with my friends (who I believe are lifelong friends), being so enjoyable because of all the laughs we had. Sometimes we barely got any actual studying done, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. The thing I will remember the most about my time in engineering was the immense amount of support we all gave each other, especially in ENGAP, everyone really looked out for each other.

Favorite engineering Prof: My favorite engineering prof is Dr. Qiang Zhang. He was always so easy to learn from because he was very patient, motivating, and kind.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: To be less serious and focus on having more of a work-life balance!

Sean Pigeau

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: Mechanical Engineering, Co-op Option

Plan/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: In the next year, I hope to move into my own home. Within the next five years, I am looking to start my MBA.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: My most memorable times were attending the Formula Student competitions in Michigan. Seeing my designs on the Formula car compete against universities from across the world. The sounds of engines at their rev limiter and the smell of race fuel. Getting to competition was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do while dealing with a full time class schedule and working part-time. I spent many late night hours working on our car, either manufacturing, testing or repairing and seeing the car compete was the most valuable experience from my time in university.

Favorite engineering Prof: I had two professors that made a significant impact on my experience in university. The first was Paul Labossiere. When I first met him, he was the faculty advisor to the Formula student team. He is extremely passionate about engineering and made a significant impact on my learning. The other is Nishant Balakrishnan. I was a student in his fist time teaching and his teaching ended up following my degree path. I ended up in the first version of every course he taught in the mechanical department. His focus on improving the education delivered to the mechanical engineering student made me feel like my feedback in courses was valuable. He was also always open to a conversation about a project in any class. He has a unique ability to ask questions that I would never have considered and guide me down the rabbit hole of a project. This really helped my learning and helped me gain a better understanding of every design I worked on.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: Enjoy your time in university. Participate in extra-curriculars, go to the beer gardens, have a blast. Time flies and you’ll be out of here in no time and by the end you’ll be asking: “where did all the time go?”.

Reid Piper

Indigenous background: Métis

Area of Study: Mechanical Engineering

Plan/goals for next year / 5 years / 10 years: Plans for the next year are to find an EIT position that I’m interested in, start working in industry and increase my knowledge and responsibility within the field. Within 5/10 years I hope to have completed my P.Eng. Designation and am working at a company where I am pursuing my interest in engineering.

Most memorable moment from your time in the Faculty: Most memorable moment within the faculty would be the shop time working on the UMSAE formula car.

Favorite engineering Prof: My favorite engineering prof would be Nishant Balakrishnan.

One piece of advice to your first-year self: If I could give one piece of advice to my past first year self it would be to never give up, even when it’s getting rough and utilize what ENGAP offers you early to assist throughout your degree.

Messages from former ENGAP Students

I work for Urban Systems now as a consultant. I’m in northern Alberta working on a water and wastewater infrastructure installation project for a small community south of Fort McMurray. Although this project is for a municipality, I have been involved with quite a bit of work on Indigenous communities as well. I will be forever grateful for the support from the ENGAP program. I hope things in Winnipeg and the University are going well. I will for sure drop by when I visit Winnipeg later this year.” – Matt Moore

“I felt compelled to share my success with you because this wouldn’t have been possible without all the time and care that the ENGAP crew showed me. I know that I’m not an ENGAP student anymore, but I feel like sharing my progress with you is the very least I can do to show my immense gratitude for all the work and care you invested in me during some pretty rough parts of my life. I’m a much better person for having met and learned from the both [Randy and Diana]. In my mind, these successes belong as much to [Randy] and Diana as they do to me, and I just want both of them to know how much that means and will always mean to me.” – Matt Prince 

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