Engineering competition comes to the U of C

By Emily Macphail

Showcasing innovative research from around the world, the Institution of 
Engineering and Technology will be holding its regional final for the Present Around the World competition at the University of Calgary — the first time a regional final has been held in Western Canada. Organized by the IET, the PATW is a presentation competition involving engineers 18–26 years old from various fields of research. The event will be held on September 15. 

The IET is an interdisciplinary research group that focuses on engineering innovation. The group provides opportunities and resources for anyone interested in engineering and technology in the international community, regardless of their field.

The PATW competition aims to bring young engineers from around the world together to share their knowledge.

Each competitor is given 10 minutes to present on an engineering-related topic, after which they answer questions for five minutes. Initial competitions are held locally within IET networks comprised of schools and local engineering groups that are members of IET. Winners progress to national, regional and then global levels. The regional locations for 2012 are the United Kingdom, Americas, Asia Pacific, South Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The global finals for 2012 will be held in London, UK in November. 

The Americas regional competition in Calgary will showcase 15 local winners. 

Students from as far away as Trinidad and Tobago will present on topics like energy and environment, aerospace engineering and biomedical engineering. Well- known professionals from various fields of engineering will be in attendance. 

While the judges are kept secret until the event, they will include a long-term IET member, a young professional and a U of C professor.

U of C third-year mechanical engineering student Mia Jović is the competition’s master of ceremonies, and U of C biomedical engineering master’s student 
Alyssa Randall is the head organizer of the event. 

Jović won second place nationally in 2011, allowing her to compete in the Americas regional competition. Randall is a previous competitor and winner of the 2009 Americas final. She has since been organizing competitions, including the first local Calgary competition in 2011. 

Jović’s involvement with the PATW competition began in 2011 when she presented on dielectric capacitor design — a complex field of research dealing with polarization — that she had undertaken as part of an international team. Jović said the experience was incredible, as well as a milestone in her career as a student. 

“With the help of the competition, I learned more about presenting than I had in the last three years of university. Feedback from the judges and from my mentor was invaluable,” said Jović.

Although Jović presented on her own research, she said students don’t have to be researchers to participate in the competition. Students can create presentations based on any science or engineering topic they are interested in, regardless of whether they have worked in the area. 

“The first step is to enter the competition,” said Jovic, adding that it is a great way to showcase your work and get involved on an international scale.

Randall said that there are many ways to get involved with IET, whether through competing or planning events and talks. Randall is optimistic about the competitors this year. 

“Based on the presentations I saw at the local levels, I think this year may be the year we win the world finals,” said Randall. 

This year’s competition is fully booked, and the planning for an event in 2013 is underway. However, another feature this year is the IET’s Americas Community Volunteer Conference, which will be held alongside the PATW competition for the first time. Volunteers will be invited to explore the IET’s resources and opportunities, and competitors will get the chance to meet professionals from other areas of the world.