UVic students shine at high-profile engineering competition

UVic student competitors pose for a group photo in a hotel lobby.

31 students from UVic Engineering and Computer Science competed at the event in Saskatchewan

2020 January — UVic students were big winners at the recent Western Engineering Competition in Saskatoon.

Undergraduate students from 11 universities attended the annual event, using their problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills and in eight competitive categories. This year, two UVic teams won first place, one team placed second, and another team was third.

“Last year, none of the UVic teams placed, but this year we had fantastic results,” said Tim Berntsen, president of the UVic Engineering Students’ Society.

Teams that placed first or second in their categories will travel to Winnipeg in March to compete against students from across the country at the Canadian Engineering Competition.

In total, UVic was represented by 31 students at the five-day competition, which is judged by industry professionals. Although the competition takes students away from regular class time and studying, it offers a very worthwhile and fun experience, says Berntsen.

“I think students are motivated by getting the experience of being in a competition and meeting with students and members of industry from across the country,” he said.

A team made up of four students from UVic’s Electrical Engineering program took first place in the Senior Design category. Teams in this category had to build a robot that would act as a rover on Mars, collecting Martian artifacts and resources.

“The UVic team won by a landslide,” said Berntsen, adding that this category and the one in Programming are particularly prestigious among the eight competitions.

The Programming category – in which UVic took first and second place – involved creating a financial application for a hypothetical mom and her son. Tasks involved enabling the mom to be able to access various accounts, implementing an encrypted authentication page, putting a spending limit on the son’s account, and creating a bot to buy and sell stocks automatically.

UVic teams that won in this category were made up mostly of students from UVic’s Software Engineering program, along with representation from Computer Science and first-year Engineering.

Berntsen was on the UVic team that participated in the Consulting Engineering category. All its members are from the Department of Civil Engineering. The team had to research, develop and present an effective solution to address challenges around clean drinking water for Saskatchewan’s indigenous communities.

The annual competition is organized by the Western Engineering Student Societies’ Team (WESST), an alliance of engineering student societies from across western Canada.

The top placed teams from UVic were:

Senior Design – First place

  • Robert Lee (ELEC)
  • Luke Evans (ELEC)
  • Declan McIntosh (ELEC)
  • Daniel Burleson (ELEC)

Programming – First place

  • Cobey Hollier (SENG)
  • Ahnaf Ahmed (SENG)
  • Kahvi Patel (SENG)
  • Jayden Chan (SENG)

Programming – Second place

  • Derek Lowlind (SENG)
  • Malcolm Seyd (first-year Engineering)
  • Ryley Woodland (Computer Science)
  • Pranay Rai (SENG)

Consulting Engineering – Third place

  • Timothy Berntsen (CIVE)
  • Tyler Pettepiece (CIVE)
  • Emma Horgan (CIVE)
  • Jonnie Van Es (CIVE)

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