By Shafaq Nami
While many engineering students are aware of services such as the McGill Engineering Student Centre (MESC) and the Engineering Career Centre (ECC), the Engine remains somewhat of a mystery to most. Its name gives no clue except that it is a vital gear in the Faculty of Engineering machine at McGill. Some of you may have admired the glass doors, study tables, and nice rooms of the Engine in FDA from afar and wondered about what exactly you are missing out on. But fear not!
The Ledger “virtually” sat down with Katya Marc, the Associate Director of the McGill Engine, to bring you all the inside scoop.
What is the McGill Engine?
You can think of the McGill Engine as a multidisciplinary ‘hub’ that connects engineering with different fields such as economics, medicine, arts, and computer science. It might be easier to think of the Engine as an incubator where people bring early stage projects for help with development, networking, and funding. The Engine not only works with students, but also caters to Professors and has connections outside of McGill including several companies in Montreal. The Engine’s mission is to help inspire the next generation of McGill designers, innovators, change agents, and entrepreneurs as well as increasing the commercialization of inventions in the Faculty of Engineering. They do this by providing resources such as advising, coaching, project mentorship, programming, and increasing R&D collaborations between the faculty and innovation-driven companies. This means that for undergraduate students, the Engine provides an opportunity to get meaningful exposure to research and opportunities that go beyond the classroom and the gates of the university itself.
What services does the Engine have to offer for undergraduate students?
- Has rooms available that students can book for seminars, conferences, and meetings
- Helps students get funding and coaching for projects, research, and startups
- Connects students to different resources, companies, industry experts, and even McGill Students in other fields who might be able to help them in their project
- Programming and entrepreneur workshops, seminars, lectures, and events available
- McGill Design Consultancy: A new service run by experienced student volunteers who take on projects related to designing (websites, graphics, etc). They provide assistance or consultations to different communities such as clubs, startups, and sports teams within McGill
- Business mentorship as well as one-on-one advising and coaching
- Access to real-world applications, problems and challenges, and industrial equipment
Funding and Startups:
One of the main services that the Engine provides students and professors is funding for research and startups. For student startups, they also provide access to HubSpot and Google forms as well as a variety of scholarships and awards, such as the Dobson Cup. Some of the startups by students, professors, and researchers within the McGill Faculty of Engineering that the Engine has helped with funding, resources, and coaching over the years are:
- TemperPack – a startup by former Material engineering students that solves thermal packaging problems through sustainable design
- MeaCor – A team of mechanical engineering researchers and professors developed novel transcatheter devices for the Treatment of Heart Disease.
- Sensequake – A novel 3-D Seismic Assessment Method for structures based on sensing tests. The CEO was a former PHD Civil engineering student and the CTO completed a post-doc in electrical and computer engineering.
- Carbicrete – Allows manufacturers to produce cement-free, carbon-negative concrete using cost-effective construction materials. The CTO completed a PhD in civil engineering and the CEO was a former undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Student.
- Blue City Inc – makes sensors for monitoring key traffic metrics in real-time.
- Orbityl – Founded by mechanical engineering graduates, it includes the development of brain-computer interfaces to control computers using our thoughts
What are the Engine Boosters?
The Engine boosters are McGill students from different departments that aid the executive team at the Engine. Their responsibilities include developing entrepreneurial mindsets and skills amongst themselves and their peers through technologically-based projects and collaboration. Aside from that, they also organize events and are at the forefront of helping develop creative ideas and projects. If this is something that interests you, you can sign up to be a member!*
Katya’s words for students:
Please do take advantage of all the services and resources that are offered to you while you are a student. Have fun too; the friends you make here are for life!
**For more information: https://www.mcgill.ca/engine/