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Mac Eng alumni prepare students to go from backpack to briefcaseJanuary 23, 2023

On January 18, Mac Eng alumni gathered to share career advice with students.

Students had the opportunity to expand their network and gain valuable knowledge from over 65 Mac Eng alumni at the recent Backpack to Briefcase event hosted by Engineering Alumni Relations. Alumni mentors shared their guidance and insights into life in engineering after McMaster.  


Alumni mentors represented a variety of fields  including technology, automation, construction, infrastructure, civil, manufacturing, energy and environment, government, education, incubators and consulting and professional services. 

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Dean Heather Sheardown: 

“Our students really haven’t changed since your day,” Dean Sheardown shared with the alumni, "They're still bright, they’re still creative, they still have lots of energy and they’re always willing to talk about their passions inside and outside the classroom. I’m always blown away by the new ideas and fresh perspectives that they bring to every conversation.” 



A few mentors shared what advice they would give to graduating Mac Eng students. Here’s what they said: 


“Fail Fast, try stuff. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Especially now that you’re young, you have a lot less responsibilities than you will when your 40 or 50. So it’s a lot easier to take greater risks, so go for it!” 

- Nick Romano, BENGM '94 (Mechanical Engineering) 
CEO & Cofounder, Deeplite 

“Don’t be afraid to try something new – There’s nothing wrong with going out and trying something and saying after a few years, this isn’t my path, let’s try something else, and succeed and flourish years later.” 

- Iris Gregoriou, BENGM '97 (Chemical Engineering) 
Sr. Director, Business Services Implementation , Loblaw Companies Limited

“When looking for what to do after graduating, shoot for the stars! If you don’t think you can do it, just apply anyway. If it’s a job at a big tech company that seems like you can never work there, go for it! The beginning of your career is the best time to take those risks, you have no attachments.” 

- Aya Aboughanem, BENGM ’22 (Electrical Engineering) 
Network Performance Specialist, Bell Canada 

“Your first mentor is your professor, your dean. Connect with them. Do not put a silo between you and your professor as a student. They are your first gate to the outside world.” 

- Bassem Masri, BENG’93 (Electrical Engineering)         
Director Technical Solutions, Canada Life

“Take everything in. It doesn’t matter what small piece of knowledge you know , you never know when it can come back to the table . I did civil [engineering], but it doesn’t mean I didn’t learn different things about different disciplines. Being able to sit in a meeting and  understand what are other people are talking about is definitely a big skill [in any interdiscplinary setting].” 

- Kerianne Hagan, BENGS '20 (Civil Engineering)
Transportation Planning EIT, C.F. Crozier & Associates