Skip to main content
Latest News:

Top 10 McMaster Engineering stories to remember from 2020December 22, 2020

It was a year of uniting in the face of unprecedented challenges. As we take time to reflect, here are some particularly memorable stories from this challenging and unpredictable year.

“This year was amazingly challenging and tiring, yet rewarding. I am immensely proud of my creative team and of all the great work that happened at McMaster Engineering during an incredibly trying time,” says Monique Beech, Manager, Strategic Communications.  

“There were so many compelling stories to tell of COVID research, student triumphs and innovative teaching, and we managed to tell them while working at home in different cities. The year brought us closer. We made space to allow each other to be human while getting the job done, and finding innovative ways to do it. And I am very grateful for that.” 

The top McMaster Engineering stories to remember from 2020, selected by the Strategic Communications team: 

10. The road to making one million face shields: MMRI partners with Whitebird 


This story shows the importance of local manufacturing, academic-industry collaboration and goodwill. In March, the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (MMRI) team branched out to see where they could help amid the shortage of personal protective equipment and other medical equipment – first ventilators, then face shields. They eventually connected with Whitebird, a Hamilton-based packaging company, which kickstarted a collaboration that would result in the production of over one million (yes, one million!) face shields in just six months. 

Read the full story

9. McMaster Engineering’s Virtual Girl Guide Workshops empowering thousands of girls across Canada

Our AlumniYouth Outreach and Venture Academy teams are busy year-round hosting networking, outreach and professional development events, among other initiatives. This year, Venture Academy moved their annual Girl Guide workshops online and reached more than 13,000 girls from across Canada as of November 2020. In previous in-person Girl Guide workshops, they welcomed around 150 girls, mostly from Ontario. Talk about a successful expansion! 

Read the full story

8. "Every day we remember them:" McMaster Engineering community says goodbye to former classmates 

On Jan. 8, 2020, the McMaster community lost two beloved PhD students – Iman Aghabali and Mehdi Eshaghian – who were among the 176 victims who perished in a tragic plane crash in Tehran. Friends, faculty and community members gathered to honour their lives in different ways – attending a vigil on campus and rose ceremony at the Hamilton waterfront, sending condolences to the families, sharing fond memories, grieving together and in solitude. We will never forget the impact they made at McMaster Engineering and the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre. 

Read the full story

7. McMaster startup partners with Hamilton grocery store to pilot temperature screening technology for COVID-19 
 

There are so many great Mac Eng startup stories to mention, but this one makes the Top 10 list because of Longan Vision’s impressive ability to pivot their technology to fight COVID. They created a temperature screening technology that was implemented in local grocery stores almost immediately after they created it. Seeing how they used their expertise for the good of community is truly inspiring. 

Read the full story

6. McMaster and Quanser partner to lead virtual lab innovation in Canadian engineering education 

McMaster Engineering is leading the way when it comes to virtual labs and learning, thanks to the cutting-edge technology made possible by Quanser. Students have mentioned that the virtual labs have been some of the best parts of the reimagined first year Engineering program with true-to-life simulations helping them to connect theory to practice right from home. 

Read the full story

5. McMaster researchers bringing to market invention to transport fragile vaccines without refrigeration  

What’s more timely and significant right now than transporting vaccines safely around the world? And a potential solution stems right here from McMaster Engineering. The senior researcher on the project, McMaster Chemical Engineering Department Chair Carlos Filipe, has co-founded a start-up company to move the technology into the marketplace, where it is already drawing interest from major pharmaceutical manufacturers. 

Hear the story behind the novel technology on Big Ideas for a Changing World, McMaster Engineering's podcast on innovation.

Read the full story

4. EMBER program helps first year students gain confidence to succeed   

This was a huge milestone for the Faculty that involved upper-years, staff, faculty members, administration – all to help incoming first-year students feel prepared and connected. This past August, more than 600 McMaster Engineering students participated in EMBER, a two-week online program that prepared students for their first year of university.  

Read the full story

3. McMaster Engineering disciplines ranked among Canada’s best 

Our national and global reputation continued to make great strides this year. In the summer, ShanghaiRanking listed 14 academic disciplines at McMaster Engineering among the top programs in Canada and in the world. Bonus rankings story: the Faculty was named 5th in Canada for program reputation by Maclean’s, up one spot from last year! 

Read the full story

2. Brothers band together to create do it yourself PPE respirator from parts around the house   

We’re always in awe of the resilience, motivation and talent of our students and this story — which ranked as one of the most viewed stories for 2020 — encapsulates what it means to be part of the Fireball Family. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Milkovich brothers saw the opportunity to be agile, to use their engineering expertise to help frontline care workers by creating a DIY PPE Respirator with items they found around their houseI love that their idea was initially sparked by concern for their parents who are healthcare workers. 

Read the full story

1. McMaster opens Centre of Excellence to advance personal protective equipment in Canada 

This is it – our story of the year. The Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials (CEPEM) was a developing story since the start of the pandemic in March, blossoming into an incredible story of initiative and goodwill, multi-disciplinary and cross-country collaborationand showing the world McMaster Engineering’s innovative spirit.  

CEPEM researchers have gone above and beyond to help advance PPE in Canada for generations to come, and this is just beginning.  

Read the full story

Check out more CEPEM stories: 

The McMaster Engineering Strategic Communications team reflect on what they’re most proud of this year: 

Ciara McCann, Digital Marketing and Communications Strategist  
Started at McMaster Engineering in May 2017 

This past summer, I took the lead on organizing our first ever Virtual Grad Party for the Class of 2020. We wanted to create a new way the Faculty could recognize our graduates during an uncertain and stressful time for our students. This was the first time our team planned and executed a virtual event of this scale and I was so proud of the way it all came together, a testament to our team’s collaborative efforts.   

The event was one of many initiatives I’m proud to be part of in my role at McMaster Engineering. Every day is different and that’s what makes it exciting. When the pandemic hit our fearless leader, Monique Beech, recognized the need to pivot, to be more creative and to show the value of our skills in our virtual world and it made our team stronger. We welcomed change and we continue to strive to be leaders in our craft so we can strengthen our reputation as one of the best engineering schools in the world. 

Jessie Park, Communications Officer 
Started at McMaster Engineering in December 2019 

When I joined the team last year, everyone I met told me how incredible the community is at McMaster EngineeringNow looking back on this rollercoaster of a year, I've really come to understand firsthand just how genuine, supportive and exciting our team and Faculty are – not just when things are great, but especially when things are tough. Month after month and issue after issue, our team has come together to tell important stories and create content to inspire our community. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to weather 2020 with. 

Of the stories I’ve crafted this year, I’ll especially cherish the opportunity to chronicle CEPEM’s great work through the pandemic. It was so rewarding working with researchers and leaders I’ve come to greatly admire who are always so gracious with their time and expertise. Thank you for reminding me why storytelling matters, why research wins need to be shared, and how much can be accomplished when people from different professional backgrounds share a common goal.”  

Jin Lee, Visual Content Coordinator 
Started at McMaster Engineering in January 2016 

The last time I said 'Happy New Year!' I don't think anyone was anticipating what came in 2020.  I am honoured and humbled to have been part of a team that went to incredible lengths to support the ongoing work of the faculty and each other during these uncertain times, despite dealing with our own hardships. While we live in a vastly different reality from what once was, this year brought us closer together than ever before, and with that came a new level of creativity and innovation. I'm excited to see where 2021 takes us, global pandemic and all. 

Krista Kim, Digital Marketing Officer, Communications and Recruitment 
Started at McMaster Engineering in December 2019 

 “2020 was a tough year for all of us. Shortly after my employment started in December 2019, COVID-19 came and suddenly I was working remotely full-time. Like many others, this was my first time working remotely at home. It was challenging in the beginning but thanks to my team, I was able to manage my work-life balance and learn how to socialize in this virtual world! I used to commute all the way from downtown Toronto and usually spent a good four hours on a GO train, but this remote working environment allowed me to have the extra four hours to develop my professional skills and hobbies. I picked up a few certificates from Google, learned to code websites and more!  

This year led me to learn more technical skills and explore new areas that I thought I would never be interested in. I am also grateful to have two wonderful managers who always encourage me to explore new skills and appreciate my passion for design and marketing. They have shown me nothing but continuous support and guidance. I am also truly fortunate to have beautiful, talented co-workers around me to support me. It has been a productive and rewarding year so far!” 

Dan Kim, Visual Content Coordinator 
Started at McMaster Engineering in January 2019 

"One of the biggest things I’m proud of this year was repairing my relationship with learning. Working with such talented staff and students really encouraged me to fix it and to keep pushing myself forward. #MacEngProud"