Windsor Engineering Student Society president,  Julia CostaWindsor Engineering Student Society president, Julia Costa

Outreach project earns notice for engineering students

There’s more to engineering than designing bridges and cars.

“We want to show people that engineers don’t just design things, they solve the problems of the world,” says Larysa Hyzka, a fourth-year civil engineering student at the University of Windsor.

Hyzka teamed with classmate Eleane Paguaga Amador to share this message with the public by creating and hosting “I Look Like an Engineer,” a community outreach event that ended up landing the pair provincial recognition.

Paguaga Amador and Hyzka invited Windsor-Essex community leaders and students to the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation to discuss why they chose to pursue engineering and what the professions means to them.

“Story after story, we heard from speakers who believed their highest potential could be reached through engineering because it allowed them to make the lives of others easier,” says Paguaga Amador, a third-year industrial engineering student.

The event won second place in the National Engineering Month Ontario Steering Committee’s first University Student Outreach Challenge. The competition challenges students to host a public outreach event in their local community during National Engineering Month in March to “ignite passion for engineering in others and potentially improve the diversity of future engineering students.”

Hyzka and Paguaga Amador attended the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers Annual General Meeting on May 8 in Oakville to receive recognition and a cash prize of $1,500.

“I Look Like an Engineer” speakers included Peter Bziuk (BASc 1988, MASc 2003), manager of design and construction services for the County of Essex; Abby Diemer, 2017-18 Ontario Ambassador for the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students and former Windsor Women in Engineering executive; Sabrina Angco, president of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers; Julia Costa, 2017-18 president of the Windsor Engineering Student Society; and Destiny Soney, vice-president of the University of Windsor Native Student Alliance.

Paguaga Amador said Soney, an indigenous student in her third-year of environmental engineering, delivered a “poignant and powerful speech.”

“Destiny explained that the creator gave her people the job of protecting Turtle Island and her degree will help her play her part,” says Paguaga Amador. “If everyone saw engineering as a way to fulfill society’s greatest needs, then maybe more students would consider this a career path.”

To view event photos, visit Snapd Windsor.

Kristie Pearce