“What can I expect once I graduate?”, “Will I be able to find a job?”, and even “How does one ‘adult’?” are asked by many students enrolled in college or university programs, especially during their final year of classes. For Emily Thomas, a mechanical engineer at Smith + Andersen, this feeling of uncertainty is familiar! She studied mechanical engineering at the University of Ottawa and, during her time there, took a course where guest speakers from the engineering industry would come and discuss their own experiences as working professionals. Finding these presentations extremely helpful herself, Emily became inspired to share her own story after graduation.
Returning to UOttawa this week to present for her fourth year in a row, Emily’s goal is to introduce civil and mechanical engineering students to the numerous options that are available to them once they graduate. She explains,
"Students think that mechanical engineering is only about mechatronics and robotics, when in reality that isn’t the case. They don’t even know that building consulting is an option."
“Students think that mechanical engineering is only about mechatronics and robotics, when in reality that isn’t the case. They don’t even know that building consulting is an option.”
“Universities often oversell machine design and undersell consulting and project management. Students don’t really consider it, but it’s a huge opportunity, especially in Ottawa – a growing city filled with government buildings and facilities.”
Emily’s presentations at UOttawa provide students with a rare opportunity to hear her perspective. As someone who was in their shoes not too long ago, Emily answers questions and eases the anxiety some students may have in regard to graduating and becoming working professionals.
You could say it’s a bit of a family tradition. Emily presents alongside her father – an industry executive who offers perspective from the construction management side. Himself a UOttawa alumni, her father has been working in the industry for more than 30 years, and was the first person to introduce Emily to the world of construction.
UOttawa Banner Photography Credit: JHVEPhoto - stock.adobe.com