Terri-Jane Yuzda

Mike Anderson, P.Eng., says skills and compassion are a great combination for helping improve living conditions in the developing world - and at home.


Fort McMurray Volunteer Makes 'Eyes Light Up' Over Science

Public Relations Coordinator

An APEGGA member since 1993, Mike Anderson, P.Eng., joined the Association upon graduation from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in metallurgical engineering. Mike completed a master's degree in 1996 and became a P.Eng. in 1997. After moving to Fort McMurray in late 2001, he joined the branch's executive and became Outreach coordinator in 2002. Mike continues to act as a proponent for APEGGA with all engineers he encounters.

What made you decide to become an engineer?
I made the final decision to go into engineering as a profession while I was still in high school. My dad was a civil engineer and I really looked up to him, both from a technical expertise point of view as well as because he was the type of person I wanted to become as an adult. I decided to become an engineer to see if I could make a difference in the world around me.

Why do you volunteer with APEGGA?
I get a great deal of enjoyment out of seeing people's eyes light up when even a small engineering or science principle is explained and it comes alive for them, perhaps for the first time. I love encouraging youngsters to consider engineering or science, not necessarily as a career but as a way to understand the world around them. Of course, if I can encourage someone to consider engineering as a career, then I feel I have succeeded. It seems that girls in Grade 7 and 8 are very interested in science, but as they go through high school and into university, the numbers of women in sciences seem to diminish. I'd like to be able to encourage girls to continue with their interests and pursue the engineering disciplines.

What value do you get from being an APEGGA volunteer?
I think the best feeling is seeing students become enthused about science because of a demonstration or explanation I can give. I become more enthusiastic about my own work whenever I realize again how engineers and scientists have such an intimate relationship with the basic principles of science and the world around them.

Can you recall a particularly memorable volunteer experience?
The 2003 Science Olympics in Fort McMurray will always stand out in my mind. This was the most enthusiastic crowd of Grade 7 and 8 students I have witnessed in a long time. They were eager to learn new concepts, try new ideas and have a lot of fun in the process. I learned from them as much as they learned from me. Spending a few hours with 12-14 year-olds that day made me appreciate once again why I chose engineering as a profession.

Have you received an award or special recognition that is important to you?
I received an award for teaching while I was in university, having been nominated by the students in the class. This was especially meaningful since I must have been able to convey some of my own enthusiasm for the engineering course to the students, who in turn learned more. I also received an award from the Edmonton Space and Science Centre (now the Odyssium) for volunteer work in their facility.

What would you consider a dream project?
I would like to be involved in a "build project" in an underdeveloped country. There are so many places in the world that could benefit from those like me who have skills and compassion. I have volunteered many hours this year on the Wood Buffalo Habitat for Humanity project and really feel that this can make a difference in a community. I have realized that we don't need to travel thousands of miles to a far-off exotic country to have the same effect.

What do you think the next hot engineering trend will be?
I am a little biased as a materials engineer, but I believe that the next trend in engineering will be advanced materials. I see ceramics, polymers and composite materials being used in every aspect of our lives, both at work and at play. As we strive to expand our world by exploring space, we will see that it is the use of advanced materials that makes this possible. This is also true much closer to home in the vehicles we drive, the sporting equipment we use, the medical advancements we make - all will rely on advanced materials for their success.



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