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Professional Ambassador Details

Personal Information

Name:
Jennifer Howcroft
Program Studied
University(s) / College(s) Attended:
University of Waterloo
Education / Degree(s):
PhD
Other Credentials:
EIT
Current Job Title:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Current Employer:
Carleton University
Email:

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Fun Facts About Me

If your best friend had to describe you in 10 words or less, what would they say?

My best friend would probably describe me as "friendly and fun, someone you can trust with your secrets, and hard working".

Share one fun fact about yourself.

I have lived on three different continents.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 10 years?

In the next ten years, I would like to become a professor, and set up a research lab focused on rehabilitation engineering and applying engineering techniques to preventative health care, and clinical and continuing care.

The most inspiring engineer I know is ....... Because ........ ?

The most inspiring engineer I know of is Dr. Tom Chau because his research is focused on improving the lives of 'locked in' children with custom access and communication technologies. His work and the positive impact he has on these children is truly inspirational.

Profile Questions

Why did you choose to study engineering?

Growing up, I had a strong interest in science and math. I also liked understanding why things worked. I seriously considered a career in medicine, but I wasn't excited about all the blood and memorizing disease symptoms. Biological engineering allows me to combine my interest in medicine, science, and math, along with my desire to help people and understand how and why things work.

What are your best memories of your engineering education?

I think my favourite part of the engineering program itself was the design projects. I had so much fun working with my classmates to come up with creative solutions to design problems. However, my best memories are from outside the classroom: participating in engineering society activities and forming friendships that last to this day. 

How do you apply your engineering degree to your current career?

As a postdoctoral researcher, I use my engineering degree on a daily basis applying engineering concepts and techniques to investigate and solve healthcare problems. 

What do you love most about your career?

My favourite part about my career as a researcher is that I am always learning something new. Each new project requires me to learn a new skill or concept or to build upon my existing knowledge to reach a deeper level of understanding and apply this knowledge to solve a complex problem. 

What was the most enjoyable project you've been involved with?

My favourite project was my Masters research project. For this project, I evaluated the potential of active video games for children with cerebral palsy in terms of physical activity promotion and therapeutic potential. It was so much fun working with these children and working on a project that could have a positive impact for a childhood disability population. 

What's next in your career?

I am hoping to become a professor in my field and establish my own research lab focused on rehabilitation engineering and applying engineering techniques to preventative health care, and clinical and continuing care.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to pursue a career in engineering?

My advice would be to study what you love, not just what will lead to a 'good' career. All of the most successful people I know are those that have chosen to study and do what they love. If that is engineering, great...go for it!

Also, if you are entering an engineering program with a co-op component, use these co-op opportunities to try a variety of positions. This will help you learn what you like (and don't like) and what you may want to do after you graduate.