Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in electrical engineering

Kate ZhaoWhy did you decide to pursue an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering?

I am pursuing a BASc in electrical engineering because it’s an incredibly diverse field that spans a wide variety of industries. I initially started out in the environmental engineering program with the intention of focusing on renewable energy and power. I transferred programs after realizing electrical engineering aligned more closely with my goals. This degree gives me the flexibility to go abroad, do research, get hands on experience, and meet like-minded people along the way.

Why did you decide to study at the University of Waterloo?

The University of Waterloo appealed to me with its strong industry connections and multitude of extracurriculars. Graduating with two years of work experience will give me an advantage in the job market while allowing me to try my hand at different positions at various companies. For instance, I spent a co-op term doing research in the Netherlands, then went and tried radio systems engineering, and switched it up again with data science at a startup in the United States. Moreover, Waterloo has such a wide array of design teams, clubs, and societies, that everyone can find something they’re interested in. This provides students with opportunities to take on leadership roles, develop technical prowess, and become part of a community.

What was the best surprise about the University of Waterloo or life in Waterloo?

The best surprise about living in Waterloo is the strong sense of community. Campus definitely feels like its own bubble and engineering is really tight knit as a whole. That being said, once I got off campus I found that the city of Waterloo is lovely too! Uptown has tons of awesome restaurants and local businesses, with community events happening all year round. There’s also lots of green space and hiking trails available, which is fantastic during the summer months. All in all, it’s really easy to feel at home in this place. 

What advice do you have for new undergraduate students?

Take care of your physical and mental health! This program can be overwhelming at first, but no classes or co-ops are worth sacrificing your wellbeing. Adding onto that, there are tons of resources and support available, but you have to take the initiative to ask for help and there’s no shame in doing so. After four years here, I’ve learned that your undergraduate experience won’t be defined by the marks or the co-ops you get, but rather by the people you meet and the impact you have on others.