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Richard Allen

Industry Professionals Help B Tech Students Embrace the FutureDecember 1, 2018

For most students, it’s hard to see tomorrow through the haze of a heavy academic workload. That’s why face-to-face interactions with industry professionals play an important role in career readiness.

“All it takes is interest from people ‘out there’ for students to see themselves as part of the future,” said Karen Lawrence, Lecturer in Statistics, Quality and Operations Management at SEPT’s Bachelor of Technology Program (B Tech).

Last month, Lawrence hosted the annual B Tech Student Showcase of Quality Assurance Projects. It was held at SEPT in partnership with the Hamilton Section of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), a global community of practice dedicated to the advancement of organizational quality. The event provided a platform for student teams enrolled in the Quality Control and Assurance Methods course to present highlights of their Design of Experiments projects.

More than twenty industry representatives were in attendance to adjudicate poster presentations by five student teams. The presentations explored topics that ranged from comparing basketball free throws to measuring the velocity of a ball as it rolls down different surfaces. A common feature was the application of statistical tools, tests and techniques that form the foundation of quality assurance across a variety of sectors.

The top prize of $500 — provided by the Hamilton Section of ASQ — was awarded to a team that investigated the optimization of candle making by documenting the interaction of several contributing factors, including type of wax and wick, and the pouring temperature. A key takeaway: A soy wax candle will burn significantly longer than its paraffin counterpart. This unlocked a stream of real-world questions, including whether it makes financial sense for a business to manufacture long-burning candles? Congratulations to team members Amy Chow, Catrina Huyer, Bob Yang and Bo Yuan.

The event reaffirmed Lawrence’s belief in the value of connecting students with seasoned professionals. Reflecting on the interactive nature of the event, she said, “I saw and heard my students be the contributors I know they can be.”

Student Bob Yang summed up the response of his classmates, saying: “When we found out that we could keep up with the industry professionals in a technical conversation, it gave us confidence in our understanding of the methods we learned.”

A special thanks to the volunteer leadership team at the Hamilton Section of the ASQ, including B.V. Alexander, Chair and Kris Krishnamoorthy, Membership Chair.

Photo: Olga Delvecchio, Nominating Chair for the Hamilton Section of ASQ, interacts with biotechnology student Dimpy Modi at the B Tech Student Showcase of Quality Assurance Projects, McMaster University, Faculty of Engineering, November 2018.