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Speaker Series Session 1: ENGINEERING

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Author: Fariha Khan, Co-founder

Speaker Series Session: 1

STEM Topic: Engineering (Mechatronics)

Speaker(s): Farhan Monower

One of Monower's projects (navigation in an autonomous car).

On Saturday, April 25th we kicked off our main programming with our first session facilitated by Farhan Monower. Our participants, staff, and volunteers logged on to our Zoom session to learn more about this emerging field.

Monower is a fourth-year student at the University of Waterloo in the Mechatronics Engineering Program. Over his years at the program, he has studied a variety of engineering courses, covering mechanical, electrical, and software content. He has also worked at a variety of organizations through the University’s co-op program, including Ritual, Philip Beeseley’s Living Architecture, and will be going to Ford Motor Company for his next co-op. His interests are in software, electronics, and firmware.

So what is mechatronics? Mechatronics engineering is interdisciplinary field. It has a strong focus on systems design, as well as on sensors and feedback. It connects mechanical knowledge to electrical and software. It's a growing field and is a great area of work to consider if you're passionate about learning how things are made and how they work.

There was a lot of advice offered for anyone interested in learning more about mechatronics. The following were Monower's responses to some of our participant questions:

Q: What was one thing you wish someone told you before you got into mechatronics?

A: Take related courses in high school (such as robotics) if you have them and side projects on your own time. Personal side projects are the best way to learn more. It helps you get your hands dirty and learn through trial and error.

Q: Is Waterloo the only school with co-op?

A: You can find co-ops at other universities. Waterloo’s advantage, from his personal experience, is that their co-ops are shorter, which allows them to work at multiple organizations. For example, he can do three four-month co-ops at three different places versus doing a one twelve-month co-op at one company.

Q: What coding language did you find really valuable for the work you were doing?

A: C++

Q: What advice do you have for resumes?

A: Since he’s going into mechatronics, his resume had to cater to the projects he did in relation to that specific field. Even though he achieved awards and did well in more mechanical competitions, ultimately it did not add much value for recruiters. It is better to highlight the skillset recruiters may look for within mechatronics instead.

Q: What’s the best way to get started if you’ve already completed your education in other fields?

A: Do it yourself! Try things on your own time with MCU (microcontroller) kits. There are many resources and blogs out there too.

Education options in Canada


· University of Waterloo

· Ontario Tech University

· University of Toronto

· University of the Fraser Valley

· Simon Fraser University

· The University of British Columbia

· Western University

· McMaster University


· Cambrian University

· Fleming College

Check out our engineering resources page for more information on how you can get started!

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