Pam Lee-Shanok is an outreach program coordinator at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa. Pam has a B.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa and a B.Ed. in Mathematics and Physics. Pam is the Youth Programs Manager at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Engineering. Her job means she gets to inspire young students to pursue engineering all the time!
Why did you choose to study engineering?
I was always interested in medicine, but I hated memorization. After a year of studying pre-optometry I knew I wanted to change my degree. At the time, the University of Ottawa was offering an option in biodesign for its Mechanical Engineering program (now this has transformed into its own program of Biomedical Mechanical Engineering). I was very excited about the prospect of taking classes such as Artificial Organs and Prosthesis so I decided to study engineering.
How do you apply your degree to your career?
Although I don’t work as an engineer, I help develop programs to get kids and teens interested in engineering. I review engineering-related activities and problem solve a lot in my job. Knowing the basics of coding has helped me as well.
What advice do you have for someone hoping to pursue a career in engineering?
I would tell him/her to work hard in school and to take the time to take part in activities such as Go ENG Girl or robotics competitions. The more exposure you have the engineering, the better you will be able to envision yourself in this field, or the more you’ll learn that engineering isn’t for you. Follow your passions. Try shadowing a few different types of engineers to see what you like (contact companies or universities for mentors). If you enjoy working with people, problem solving, and bettering the world then you should consider engineering.