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Meet Lacey Wice, Faculty of Engineering valedictorianJune 12, 2020

"University truly is the most opportunity-rich environment and helped shape me into an adventurous individual with many varied interests!" Get to know our Class of 2020 valedictorian, Lacey Wice

Name: Lacey Wice

Hometown: Ancaster

What is the degree and subject you pursued?
Mechanical Engineering & Society – minored in Biology

What made you choose McMaster?
Growing up so close to McMaster meant I spent a great deal of time on campus for events and fell in love with the university at a young age. When I was looking for programs to pursue in STEM, Mac consistently came up as having incredible hands-on courses and top-tier graduates. It was less a question of ‘Which school should I attend?’ and more of ‘When I go to McMaster, which degree should I pursue?’

What will you be doing after graduation?
After taking some much-needed hiking and backcountry trips, I am very excited to attend grad school and medical school. My dream is to design biomechanical implants and prosthetics one day.

What would you say to your first-year self?
As most graduates can agree, I would advise my first-year self that you should not be afraid to ask for help! Whether reaching out to an academic advisor, going to drop-in help sessions or even asking upper-year students for help, you can save yourself hours of frustration and maintain your well-being.

Do not think of asking for help as failure, but rather a valuable resource that almost all students use at one point or another.

Do you have any advice for current and future students?
As times have become increasingly confusing and unfamiliar, I feel that future students will have to work harder to maintain their work ethics and rely on the incredible technological supports in place at McMaster.

As for current students, I would advise that you take advantage of the countless resources the professors and staff at McMaster have worked so hard during these times to put in place for you; continue to check in with your advisors!

How has McMaster shaped the person you are today?
Coming into McMaster Engineering, I struggled to understand what type of person I should be. Should I focus on academics or extracurriculars? Do I enjoy social environments or independence? McMaster was the place where I discovered that I could really do it all: take on challenges but still rely on my comfort zone sometimes.

University truly is the most opportunity-rich environment and helped shape me into an adventurous individual with many varied interests!

What events did you enjoy the most at McMaster/Hamilton?
During my time at McMaster, I was fortunate enough to be involved with some incredible clubs, teams and councils which afforded me some of the best experiences during my undergrad (Welcome Weeks, Baja competitions, conferences, musicals). However, on campus, I absolutely loved Light Up the Night, where we could go on rides, eat large amounts of cotton candy, and see some pretty cool bands.

What is your definition of success?
If I cannot teach someone else what I have learned, then I haven’t succeeded. True success is if you can find things to learn which also make you happy.

How has McMaster helped you create a brighter world?
Being a part of the Engineering & Society program, I have gained an incredible perspective on my impact on the world around me not only in my personal life, but also as a prospective engineer. By continuously challenging my understanding of the sustainability and long-term effects of my actions, I am much more critical of the information I consume, and more thoughtful when implementing ideas.

Who is your favourite professor?
Dr. Philip Koshy from the Department of Mechanical Engineering made my introduction to Mech Eng incredibly fun and entertaining in his Statics and Mechanics of Materials class. He was so passionate about teaching; it really solidified my confidence in my choice of program.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Ideally, I’d like to have the ability to create portals. Not only would it be fun to manipulate physics, but I’d also love to step easily between locations and skip the traffic.

If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be?
The Yukon. I’d love to have continuous access to nature with stunning views, numerous hiking trails and all kinds of weather.

What have you been doing to self-care during the COVID-19 lockdown?

I’ve set up my tent and have been camping in the backyard. It keeps my sleep schedule on track and puts me in such a positive mood. It’s awesome to see the stars!

What’s the hardest part about working virtually for you? The easiest?
I’ve found that the best part so far about working virtually has been the ability to pause recorded lectures. I enjoy being able to pause mid-sentence to write down an entire train of thought before moving forward – re-watching helps too!

The hardest part would have to be working alone. I work best when I can check in with others and face-to-face collaboration is truly the best method.

What would you advise others as we transition to a new normal?
I would advise that we should try to stay positive by enjoying the little things, and to listen to science. We consume information from so many sources, but I think at the end of the day we should prioritize those practices set out by trusted sources backed by science.

While at Mac, did you receive donor-funded financial assistance (e.g., a scholarship, award, bursary)? Any thoughts on the importance of giving back to your alma mater to support future generations?
Upon my acceptance to McMaster, I received the president’s entrance scholarship, and will be graduating as one of the first recipients of the Grand Challenges Scholar Program.

I strongly believe in turning around to help the next person and giving back financially to my academic institution to help other students is one of many ways in which I could do that. If I am able, I would love to create a bursary or scholarship for young females pursuing Automotive/Manufacturing/Mechanical degrees.