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A new tradition

Iron pin ceremony welcomes first-year engineering students into program

Student Life

By Jackey Locke

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science held its first iron pin ceremony recently.

The ceremony formally welcomes first-year students into the engineering community and encourages them to think about the values that are fundamental to the profession: responsibility to the common good; public safety and the environment; honour and trustworthiness; and inclusivity and respectfulness.

Each student receives an iron pin to wear on their lapel at their discretion.

Welcome to the community

“We want the students to feel part of the engineering community, to feel welcome at the beginning of their program,” said Dr. Dennis Peters, associate dean, undergraduate studies, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “The faculty is committed to providing its students with the best teaching and learning experience and the iron pin ceremony formally recognizes that commitment.”

Traditionally, students could enter into the engineering program by completing courses as a Faculty of Science student and once all first-year engineering courses were completed they could transition into the engineering program. In 2017 the admission process changed.

Currently, the only way into the engineering program is through Engineering One, the first year of the program. The new admission process provides the faculty with an opportunity to engage all engineering students at the start of the program.

“We have been considering some sort of welcome event for some time,” said Dr. Peters. “We’ve seen it in other professions and it’s gaining popularity across Canada. I’m happy we are doing it, especially since the senior students have driven it, primarily.”

‘Sets the tone’

Senior engineering students took the lead, with faculty support, on designing the ceremony and creating the pledge the first-year students cited during the ceremony, which combines language from the Professional Engineers and Geoscientist Newfoundland and Labrador’s code of ethics and the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, which is read during the iron ring ceremony.

Third-year engineering students Erin Maher and Cait Chapman were instrumental in developing the inaugural ceremony.

“The ceremonial welcome sets the tone for the rest of the engineering degree,” said Ms. Chapman. “It takes a similar approach to the iron ring ceremony that engineering students attend upon graduation by establishing a professional mindset. It demonstrates the significance of being ethical and taking responsibility for your actions during your degree and how it will translate to your career.”

The formal setting is also an occasion for first-year students to meet their classmates, faculty members and local engineers, making it a more complete welcome than the initial orientation tour.

“It really helped put things into perspective.” — Hanya Eid

“When I was a first-year engineering student, I struggled to feel like a part of the faculty,” said Ms. Maher, vice-president (academic) for the engineering student society.

“Engineering One students have a wide variety of schedules and course loads, so it’s hard to get to know other engineering students and feel like you belong in the faculty during those first semesters. I believe if we had been given the opportunity to participate in a ceremony, such as the iron pin ceremony, at the start of the program, I would have felt like I was a bigger part of the program right from the beginning.”

First-year engineering student Hanya Eid agrees with Ms. Maher.

“The iron pin ceremony was inspirational to say the very least,” said Ms. Eid. “It really helped put things into perspective, career-direction wise, and made me look forward to becoming a part of a bigger, indispensable community of engineers in society.”

Dr. Greg Naterer, dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, presented the pins at the ceremony on Sept. 28.

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