Source: Carleton University
Promoted by Carleton University

Carleton University: Changing the world, one engineering student at a time

Diverse research. Professional development. Faculty expertise. Supportive environment. These are just a handful of factors that draw students from across the globe to Carleton University. Specifically, to its graduate school that’s known for creating bright futures, tailored to one’s specific study and research interests.

Born and raised in Brazil, Rafaela Aguiar, 32, saw Carleton University as a place for her to pursue research in engineering. She’s always wanted to do this, driven by the field’s potential in solving real-world problems. “I heard about Carleton University from my former research supervisor in Brazil,” she says. “One of his former PhD students was working at Carleton as a postdoctoral researcher and has been enjoying working there. I chose to study at Carleton University for the opportunity to work under the guidance of prestigious professors and because it is in Ottawa, a great city to live.”

Its Faculty of Engineering and Design is a leader within Canada and beyond. Consisting of four departments and three schools, the faculty offers one of the most extensive ranges of engineering and design programmes.

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, for example, holds the distinction of offering Canada’s pioneering Aerospace Programme. Currently, it offers PhD programmes in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering through the Ottawa-Carleton Institutes.

The department is well-connected. By running a joint research institute with the University of Ottawa, it gets to provide more course offerings and chances for collaboration as well. The PhD in Aerospace Engineering also includes research collaborations and funding arrangements with Natural Resources Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, the Ottawa Hospital, the Canadian Space Agency, and many more. Here, major industry partners include Pratt & Whitney Canada Inc., United Technologies, and Siemens Corp.

A research-led education

At the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the atmosphere buzzes with the diverse and active research by 45 research professors and over 250 graduate students. They’re focused on applications in aerospace, mechanical, materials, sustainable and renewable energy, as well as biomedicine.

What they learn from breakthroughs in labs informs the teaching that occurs within the classroom. There are research projects that get graduate students working in non-traditional academic settings too. “For example, one project involved several weeks of fieldwork in a northern remote community in Ontario,” says Associate Professor Jean Duquette. “The research was interdisciplinary and required that engineering students work with policy students. In doing so, both parties were able to learn new skills outside of their core disciplines within an experiential learning setting.”

Duquette has over 15 years of research experience in Canada and abroad. His research expertise includes the design of autonomous solar energy systems, thermal storage, numerical analysis of thermofluid systems, and building performance simulation.

For Aguiar, the chance to work under the guidance of experienced professors was a major factor that influenced her decision to study at Carleton. “Being supervised by Professor Ronald E. Miller and Professor Oren Petel during my PhD was a valuable experience for me,” she shares. “They exposed me to various fields such as the dynamic behaviour of materials, polymer physics and chemistry, and molecular dynamics simulations of polymer composite materials.”

Through this experience, she learned how to apply multidisciplinary approaches, appreciate diverse perspectives, and explore new areas of interest in materials science — thereby boosting her creativity as a researcher.

As the university is nestled in the heart of Canada’s capital city, Carleton is also uniquely positioned to foster collaborative ventures with government research laboratories such as NRC and NRCan. One example of a graduate student project for NRC includes detecting COVID-19 through cough sounds.

Faculty members like Duquette ensure students make the most of such opportunities made available to them by the university and department. His efforts have led to great outcomes. “I have trained several master’s and PhD students, many of whom have gone on to work in industry, government and academia,” he says. “These students have grown professionally as they were given opportunities to present and publish their work in conferences and international journals and network with their peers.”

The faculty at Carleton, who are experts in their respective fields, provide valuable guidance and mentorship. Source: Carleton University

The faculty at Carleton, who are experts in their respective fields, provide valuable guidance and mentorship. Source: Carleton University

A welcoming community that inspires learning

Lecturers at Carleton are not only patient, but go the extra mile to ensure that students have a positive experience. They serve as effective role models to graduate students. When Aguiar worked with Professor Xiao Huang as a teaching assistant, she saw first-hand what effective communication and teaching looked like.

“She was a great mentor and role model for me, as she demonstrated how to engage and inspire the students with her passion and knowledge,” says Aguiar. “I learned a lot from her feedback and guidance and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with her.”

From day one, Carleton has been supportive of her academic goals and personal needs. From the flexibility in terms of course selection to the ample resources available for students to succeed, the PhD in Mechanical Engineering graduate believes that the university has empowered her to carve an edge in the industry while leading a healthy and fulfilling life.

“During my PhD, I had the opportunity to bridge the gap between small laboratory-scale concepts and real-world applications, correlating them with computer simulations. I have also gained valuable insights from the faculty, who are experts in their fields and have connections to various industries and organisations,” she says.

The department welcomes all aspiring engineers to achieve the same. Those with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from an institution outside the Canadian Accreditation System can join its MEng in Engineering Practice to accelerate their employability and integration into Canada’s workforce.

It’s the first and only programme of its kind within Canada — standing out for its unique focus on employment-oriented skills within an engineering framework, blending courses in project management, entrepreneurship, engineering economics, and engineering communications with advanced applied topics related to your engineering background.

Click here to learn more about the engineering programmes at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Follow Carleton University on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.