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Success Stories - Engineering student lands $5,000 grant for new UBC research lab

Student Emily Landry helps secure funding to create an electronics learning lab at UBC's Okanagan campus.



Engineering students at UBC's Okanagan campus have received $5,000 to establish a work space for electronic prototyping, which will help advance research at the university.

"The IEEE McNaughton Learning Resource Centre will provide electrical engineering students with the capability to tinker with and actually prototype electronics that they create themselves," says third-year engineering student Emily Landry, who was instrumental in obtaining funding for the project. "It will also facilitate peer-to-peer learning and provide students with resources that help them achieve greater levels of success in curriculum-related design projects and engineering competitions."

The funding, which goes to the IEEE Student Branch on campus, consists of $3,750 from the IEEE Canadian Foundation's McNaughton Learning Resource Centre Grant program, and $1,250 from the School of Engineering's Engineering Professional Academic Fund.

Jonathan Holzman, Engineering Professor at UBC's Okanagan campus, says the Centre is one of many programs Landry has spearheaded, and her efforts in advancing the engineering undergraduate program at UBC have been simply incredible.

"When Emily witnesses a challenge it is typically only a matter of time before she has developed a plan of action and is proceeding with a solution," he says. "Her incredible drive in overcoming challenges is an inspiration for us all. And we can expect to see some incredibly interesting ideas unfold in this new facility as young minds go to work."

Originally from Toronto, Landry came to the Okanagan from Edmonton, and says she chose UBC's Okanagan campus as a place to shape her education.

"I've loved the university from the first moment I came here," says Landry. "There is such an exciting atmosphere and it really feels like, as students, we can contribute and make it into anything we want it to be.

"Learning should be driven by curiosity and a desire to explore the unknown," she says. "If students are given an outlet to exercise curiosity and apply what is learned in the classroom, it helps develop the ingenuity required as we head out into the world as graduates."

Currently, Landry is the Applied Science Student Representative on UBC's Okanagan Senate, representing the engineering student body on matters and policy determined by the Senate. She was recently elected Vice Chair of a new Student IEEE Okanagan chapter.

"The IEEE is the official professional organization for electrical engineers," says Landry, noting that the chapter is intended to provide a community for electrical engineering students "and give them access to people who are already in the industry. Mentorship is a big part of it."

As well, Landry is the founding member and former president of the Okanagan campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a global organization that helps impoverished communities overseas gain access to sustainable engineering solutions that will raise them out of poverty.

That's plenty to keep a full-time student busy, however, two years ago Landry also started a peer tutoring program on campus.

After graduation, Landry says, she will put her electrical engineering degree to use to bring positive change.

"I always thought very highly of engineers and how they are able to influence the world," says Landry. "They create the technology that the world uses, so if you want to change the way the world operates, or our culture, being an engineer gives you a way to do that."

Reprinted with permission from UBC Media Release 5 Jan, 2011

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