Catherine Denis

Undergraduate student, Systems Design Engineering

They say a scholarship can take you places. For Catherine Denis, a scholarship took her to another continent.

Winning the inaugural Engineers Without Borders scholarship sponsored by the Professional Engineers of Ontario allowed Catherine to spend the summer of 2006 in Mali on an EWB internship.

Catherine worked with the Micronutrient Initiative, testing different ways of fortifying flour with a vitamin and mineral powder to identify which one would work best in Mali.

She lent a hand with the data collection on the ground and took her role a step further, analyzing the entire system at a higher level. Catherine’s observations led her to recommend to her partner organization that a uniform protocol might not fit the whole of a large, diverse country.

“It’s a very ‘systems’ approach,” she says. “We’re trained to step back, think critically and raise questions.”

After returning to Waterloo, Catherine became a leader in the campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders and started raising money to give future students opportunities like the one she had in Mali. 

“You come back so passionate, it’s contagious!”