Hi there! I'm Rachel Zhang, and I'm a Nanotechnology Engineering student here at the University of Waterloo, class of 2024! I'm from Vancouver but Waterloo has felt like a home away from home to me. My time spent here has been exhilarating thus far, from either studying at the QNC (home to nanos), being involved with student design teams, to planning the annual Waterloo Nanotechnology Conference. Everyday here is a new learning experience, I've had the chance to meet aspiring peers and grow as an individual. If you have any questions about nanotech, or anything else in general, feel free to shoot me an email or stop me and say hi on campus!
Waterloo Engineering in one word:
I choose Waterloo Engineering because:
Waterloo Engineering is known for its co-op and the amazing opportunities there are. It definitely holds true to the reputation it receives. However, the reason that really convinced my decision to join Waterloo Engineering was the unique program that I am now in. I loved how Nanotechnology Engineering offered a broad and also specific discipline in combining science and engineering. The fact that it is nanotechnology makes it very specific, yet there is a wide range of fields to specialize in such as materials, nano-electronics, and nano-medicine (which is what I’m particularly interested in). Not to mention, the variety of career opportunities nanos can go into.
The best thing about my program is:
The support and community we have. Like any other engineering program, the course load is challenging...but with the help of your peers, TA’s and professors, you’ll get through it! I am lucky to be surrounded by such an amazing group of aspiring individuals who are friendly, inclusive, and overall have become some of my greatest friends. I also love how I am able to explore a diverse range of subjects which give me a wide skill set that I can use across multiple career sectors.
About my Co-op experience:
I have only had the chance to experience my first co-op so far, but it has been great! Given the COVID-19 circumstances, I am working remotely as a lab research assistant focusing on microfluidic devices. It’s been quite unusual working at home but it has its fair share of benefits. I am able to work on a flexible schedule and be with my family. As for the position, I have had the chance to dive into concepts such as fluid dynamics that haven’t been covered in class yet. Every day has been an incredible learning experience and I’m super excited to see what my co-op journey unfolds to.
I wish I had known before I came:
1) How important balancing your time is. With co-op search, classwork, and extracurriculars, finding time to take care of your mental and physical wellness is essential (this will help prevent burnout).
2) Your university experience is what you make of it!
3) Take everything one step at a time. One of my favourite sayings is “there is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time”. This applies to the university experience since it can be overwhelming, but anything can be accomplished one “bite at a time”.
Outside the classroom, I’m involved with:
• Waterloo Nanotechnology Conference (WNC)
• Design Teams (BioMechatronics and ProtoMD)
• And of course, Engineering Ambassadors!
One more thing about me:
Outside of the school walls, I love to travel whether it’d be road-trips across the country or flying across the Atlantic, it’s always an adventure!