Jeriann Hsiao

Nanotechnology Engineering 2023

Jeriann Hsiao
Introduce yourself briefly:

My name is Jeriann and I’m in nanotechnology engineering, class of 2023! Nano is a great fit for my personality, skills, and interests because of how broad it is: the wide range of classes in the fundamental sciences keep me constantly engaged and interested in my studies, and the exposure to software, hardware, and design has enabled me to get involved on campus in extra-curriculars that focus on these areas. Nano is a unique program because the field is unfolding as we study it, but I think that’s what excites me most about nano: it’s a technological revolution that you can participate in, not a revolution that has already passed you by.

Waterloo Engineering in one word:


I choose Waterloo Engineering because:

1) Waterloo is the only Canadian university that offers an undergraduate nanotechnology engineering program.

2) It has a well-established and very large co-op program. (It lives up to its reputation.)

3) It has an innovative, entrepreneurial environment that matches the rapidly-growing tech ecosystem surrounding it. I knew the people here would push me to reach my full potential and achieve my goals.

The best thing about my program is:

It allows me to explore so many intriguing, cutting-edge topics and discover what I am passionate about. I originally thought I would be specializing in nanobiosystems in third and fourth year, but because of my courses and co-op experience I might pursue nanoelectronics instead! I love that I have the freedom to switch (or even do both). There’s truly something for everyone in nano!

About my Co-op experience:

All my co-ops have been in nano-related industries, which just goes to show that research is definitely not the only career option for nanos! My first co-op was at Voltera, a company co-founded by a nano grad that has invented a desktop PCB printer. As a Materials Science Research Assistant, I tested and characterized conductive inks, analyzed data, wrote standard operating procedures, and did some product design. My second co-op was at OTI Lumionics, an OLED materials discovery company. As a member of their Process Engineering team, I helped maintain and operate their pilot production line and gained a ton of insight into how OLEDs work and how they are made. My most recent co-op was doing hardware R&D engineering at SannTek Labs, another nano startup!

I wish I had known before I came:

1) Being able to balance your grades, co-op search, extra-curriculars, and physical and mental well-being is more important than excelling in one of those areas alone.

2) As nanos like to say, “learn how to learn.” Memorizing problem types and doing literally every single question in the textbook will not work in university. (I tried. It didn’t end well.)

3) Don’t let your learning be restricted by what you are studying!

4) Don’t underestimate how much time and effort it takes to get a good co-op.

5) You don’t have to figure everything out yourself. Ask for help from professors and TA’s and ask for advice from upper-year students.

Outside the classroom, I’m involved with:

Waterloo’s synthetic biology student design team iGEM, Women in Engineering, hackathons, Kingdom Come, and of course Engineering Ambassadors!

A fun project I’ve completed:

I loved nano’s design day in first year because we got to build a small scanning tunneling microscope! We designed and constructed the vibration isolation system and electrochemically etched the tip. The project was so much fun because I got to apply what I learned in class to a tangible product and meet more of my awesome classmates!

One more thing about me:

I love art, food, museums, and architecture!

Contact me: