SYDE MASc student the first to graduate from the Collaborative Aeronautics Program

Thursday, November 2, 2023

At Waterloo’s Fall Convocation, Naomi Paul (SYDE BASc ’22) was the first student to earn a Master of Applied Science in the Collaborative Aeronautics Program (CAP), an interdisciplinary research program offered by the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics (WISA). As a CAP partner department, students in Systems Design Engineering graduate programs can add the ‘Aeronautics’ designation to their degrees by completing aeronautical training with their research work.

Under the supervision of Dr. Shi Cao, associate professor of systems design engineering, Naomi’s master’s research focused on human factors and ergonomics in aviation. Her work explored the effectiveness of Virtual Reality for pilot training, as compared with traditional high-fidelity aircraft simulators and desktop simulators.

Naomi Paul and Dr. Shi Cao

Naomi Paul (SYDE BASc '22, MASc '23) with Dr. Shi Cao, SYDE professor Photo credit: Naomi Paul

Naomi, who is part of the Métis Nation of Ontario crossed the convocation stage wearing traditional regalia made specially by her mother for the occasion. Her ribbon skirt features symbols important to this milestone, including stripes of gold, white, and red on a black background for Waterloo’s school colours and the master’s hood, and flowers in the Faculty of Engineering’s purple. Embroidered and beadwork flowers are a signature Métis artistry used to decorate clothing and personal items.

This fall, Naomi continued onto PhD studies where her research will address ways in which Indigenous and Western ways of knowing can be bridged within STEM education. She is completing her PhD in the Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Momentum Fellowship program, the first Indigenous Waterloo student to receive this award. IBET provides financial support and mentoring to Indigenous and Black scholars pursuing doctoral degrees in engineering.