Terri-Jane Yuzda

U of C Open House Attracts 200 Grade 12s

Food Fun
Right, particpants redefine "7Up" by supporting cans of pop on pasta strutures; above, burger flipping enigneering students stand back from the grill for a photo.

Public Relations Coordinator
APEGGA Calgary Office

"You feel like you are part of a cohesive family when you are in engineering. We wanted students to experience that before they arrive next fall. When you transition from your relatively small and familiar high school to a large and competitive program like engineering, it's important to know that people care about you and to make connections with current students." Adrian Day, Student Co-ordinator of the Engineering Open House

The University of Calgary celebrated National Engineering Week by holding its annual Engineering Open House on March 9. More than 200 high school students from across Canada participated in the event, which gave them a chance to see what engineering is about at the university. It introduced future engineers to some of the applications of engineering and, perhaps most important, demonstrated that there's more to school than just books.

The open house was a fantastic opportunity for high school students to learn more about the exciting field of engineering and to tour the impressive robotics lab and award winning ICT building. Grade 12 students interested in pursuing engineering at the U of C were invited.

A GPS scavenger hunt, the concrete crush, the chemical rendition of the Weakest Link and the engineering tribute to the 2002 Olympics Human Curling were among the attractions. A major design competition tested the wits of high school students as they built a structure out of pasta and then stacked cans of pop on top to determine which structure was the strongest.

Organizers and participating high school students shared enthusiasm for the day. "Being admitted early to the U of C, I was later notified of the existence of an open house by the university. I decided to see what it was all about. It was great that the open house crew knew that there needed to be a fun factor in this orientation. The grease curling was definitely my favourite
part of the day," said Queen Elizabeth Grade 12 student Terence Wah.

Man Without Broom

Hats off to human curling rock, Christoph Thom, a.k.a. Small Fry, who brought positive energy and spirit to the day. Mr. Thom, a first-year geomatics student, demonstrated that unity, spirit and comradeship are key components to success as an engineering student at the U of C.

The open house illustrated the fascinating work being done in engineering today through alumni success stories such as Laura Lucier, graduate of mechanical engineering 1999 and now a Mission Control controller for the Canadian Space Agency.

Communicating Excitement

Special mention also goes to Dr. Michael Kallos, E.I.T., an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. Dr. Kallos obtained his undergraduate and doctorate in engineering at the U of C. He was recently appointed associate director of the Pharmaceutical Production Research Facility, where he works with Dr. Leo Behie, P.Eng., on a project to grow human neural stem cells to treat Parkinson's.

"If I can communicate some of my excitement about engineering to them (open house participants), then maybe they will seriously consider choosing engineering as their career," Dr. Kallos said.

The event was a success and was entirely run by students who are passionate about engineering. "Today was a tremendous success," said Dr. Kallos. "The high school students enjoyed themselves and learned a little about engineering, and I know our students had a great time putting this event on. As this day was mostly planned and executed by the engineering students, I learned that they are capable of almost anything they put their minds to. They did an excellent job and should be commended."

Indeed they should be. Students demonstrated genuine passion and enthusiasm about the role engineering plays in everyday life. The future looks bright for engineering at the University of Calgary.

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