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Kareem Bassirri

6 ways McMaster Engineering took over DetroitApril 29, 2019

McMaster Engineering attended the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit to connect with top students from around the globe. This is how we made it happen.

1. We were the only post-secondary institution from Canada

Areeba with Canadian flags.

As one of the top three universities in Canada (and one of the top 100 in the world), we're always proud to show off our Canadian and McMaster Engineering pride. By making students and parents aware of our programs, undergraduate researchco-op, clubs and teams, scholarships, top students and more, we did more than just tell them how great our community is — we introduced them to part of it. Two FIRST Robotics graduates, Areeba Aziz, a third-year Computer Engineering student and Prakhar Garg, a Mechatronics Engineering graduate and now masters student, made the trip from Hamilton to Detroit to talk about their experiences with FIRST Robotics, McMaster Engineering and why they love calling Hamilton home.

2. Connecting with students from around the world

McMaster Engineering talking with parents and students.

More than 40,000 people from 37 countries attended FIRST Robotics World Championship. Last year, 15 per cent of approximately 4,800 undergraduate students in the Faculty of Engineering were international, coming from nearly 60 countries, making us the most diverse faculty at McMaster University. We do our best to make the journey to McMaster Engineering as seamless as possible, whether students are travelling from a couple hours away or from the other side of the world. Just like the country where we're located, we embrace diversity and welcome international students with open arms and minds.

3. Sharing our love of skill-testing questions

FIRST Robotics team from St. Catharines

In Canada, we're used to answering skill-testing questions not just because we have a love of learning, but because doing so is required by Canadian sweepstakes law. We gave out candy and other fun prizes to Canadian students who answered trivia questions about McMaster University and Hamilton. A couple favourites were: What is the name of the female physicist and McMaster alumna who recently won a Nobel Peace prize? McMaster University is located in Hamilton, ON, which is the _____ capital of the world? We also asked American students questions about Canada, including: Approximately what percentage of the world’s lakes are in Canada? Where does Canada rank in the list of the world’s most educated countries? Think you know the answers? Scroll down to the bottom of this article to find out if you were right!

4. The beginning of the Mac Eng Moose and American Bald Eagle saga

Moose and Eagle.

There are few relationships as valuable as those between the very rare Mac Eng Moose and the American Bald Eagle (known as Abe by his closest friends). Despite living on different sides of the Canada-United States border, these two have proved that true friendship knows no borders. While the Abe may suspiciously resemble a McMaster marauder, an employee at the McMaster University Campus Store, as well as a tag located near its leg confirmed that they are, in fact, an American Bald Eagle. It doesn't matter that one flies gracefully through the sky and one lumbers through forests, lakes and wetlands. Embark on their journey by searching #MacEngMoose on Twitter.

5. Meeting the face behind Iron Ring Girls

Mina and Areeba.

When Mina Dezz noticed there was a nonexistent community on social media for women and girls in STEM, she did what any engineer would do — she built one. Dezz, a Toronto-based civil engineer and social influencer, has more than 21,000 Instagram followers on her @ironringgirls account. Her page is chock-full of advice, inspiration and relatable anecdotes that make her worth following, no matter what your gender or profession. When she saw that McMaster University was the only Canadian university at the event, she stopped by for a conversation about the value of attending post-secondary school in Canada and the importance of increasing the amount of women and girls in STEM.

6. Building an Iron Ring on the Detroit Riverfront

Prakhar by giant Iron Ring.

Okay, so we didn't actually build it, but we did get a picture with it. The Michigan Labor Legacy Monument, called Transcending, was created as a tribute to the labour movement in Detroit and across the United States. David Barr designed the arc-like stainless steel sculpture, which symbolizes the never-ending cycle of work, and Sergio De Giusti designed the bronze reliefs that surround it. We couldn't help but notice its resemblance to an Iron Ring. In Canada, many engineers wear an Iron Ring as a symbol of the responsibility and ethics associated with being an engineer, which is presented to graduates in an exclusive ceremony known as The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer. McMaster Engineering embraces this tradition, which has resulted in both pranks and iconic parts of the university's campus.

McMaster University/Hamilton trivia questions and answers:

Q: What is the name of the female physicist and McMaster alumni who recently won a Nobel Peace prize?

A: Donna Strickland

Q: McMaster University is located in Hamilton, ON. Hamilton is the ____ capital of the world?

A: The waterfall capital of the world. Bonus: How many? (Scroll to very bottom for answer)

Canada trivia questions and answers:

Q: Approximately what percentage of the world’s lakes are in Canada?

A: More than 50 per cent

Q: Where does Canada rank in the list of the world’s most educated countries?

A: Number One. Bonus: What percentage of Canadian adults have earned some form of higher education after high school? (56 per cent)

Bonus answer:

There are more than 100 waterfalls in Hamilton, ON.