BY TARA MADDEN
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
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.