Erin Maher collected a bachelor’s degree in ocean and naval architectural engineering at spring 2022 convocation.
Ms. Maher says she chose the program at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science for the unique way it blends architecture and engineering design.
She was also attracted to the mandatory co-operative education component of the degree, which enables students to obtain up to two years of industry experience prior to graduation.
As an undergraduate, Ms. Maher fully immersed herself in the academic experience.
In her first year, she ran for the engineering student society and says it was the most impactful decision she made.
“My grandmother once told me that anything worth doing is worth doing well.”
She was elected junior vice-president academic and later vice-president academic, and represented students at faculty council meetings.
Ms. Maher also assisted with the Iron Pin Ceremony — a ceremonial welcome event for first-year engineering students.
More recently, in 2021, she co-chaired the Canadian Engineering Leadership Conference, a professional development conference that connects more than 200 engineering students representing more than 46 engineering schools across Canada.
Giving 100 per cent
With her degree now in hand, she is reflecting on the wise advice she received before starting her degree.
“My grandmother once told me that anything worth doing is worth doing well,” she said. “It’s been a reminder to me to always give 100 per cent in every task, no matter how small. You never know what opportunities might come from the things you do, so it is always worth taking the extra time to ensure you produce high quality work.”
Ms. Maher has taken this advice to heart.
She was recently named winner of the Fry Family Foundation’s inaugural Dean’s Leadership Award in Engineering – a $5,000 scholarship awarded to a student who has excelled and shown tremendous leadership throughout their program.
In addition, she was part of a group of students who received the RINA BMT Marine Student Naval Architect Award. It’s given to ocean and naval architectural students with the best senior design project.
Her advice to new engineering students?
“Participating in activities outside of classes makes school much more engaging and enjoyable and is a great way to get real-life engineering experience as a student,” she said. “The engineering faculty is home to many wonderful clubs and societies, and can help you discover your interests, make lifelong connections and learn new things.”
When the pandemic occurred about halfway through her program, Ms. Maher says she struggled with the transition to online learning.
“Working remotely was really challenging for me to navigate and many of my courses contained labs and group work. It was very difficult to learn course material while figuring out a new way of learning and dealing with the added stress of a pandemic.”
She says she found that being physically separated from her peers was particularly challenging.
“Thankfully, my class had a very supportive department head, who regularly checked in with us and provided us the supports we needed to succeed both online and in person.”
Excitement for the future
Ms. Maher will continue her education this fall at the University of Ottawa where she’ll dedicate herself to the study of law.
She is excited to see how her engineering skills can be applied to a new profession.
“I am excited to see what the future holds.”