Mathew Szymanowski

Angela Colibaba, student recruitment admissions liaison
Program and activities
  • St. Catherines, ON
  • Stotesbury Cup: Placed 1st in the Men's Junior Quad
  • Scholastic Rowing Association of America: Placed 1st in the Men's Coxed Four

Since coming to UVic in 2014, Mathew has been making waves with the varsity Mens’ Rowing team in national and international regattas. When not training and competing with the Vikes, Mathew is powering his passion for engineering – with a sustainability twist. Inspired by Victoria’s green spaces, he is developing a prototype microcontroller that can dispose of radioactive waste.

What is your advice to students considering coming to UVic?

It’s really important to be in a program that you’re passionate about and enjoy doing. It’s likely that you will one day be working in a field related to your degree, and you’ll want that passion to carry over into your career!

Although UVic will offer you the opportunity to do amazing extracurricular activities, the courses are tough and it’s important to keep up with the coursework. The biggest thing you learn in university is how to be independent. That being said, UVic has a great support system and professors are available to discuss your coursework during office hours.

Why did you choose UVic?

UVic had the engineering program that I was interested in pursuing and it met many other criteria I was looking for. For example, the university supports their athletes really well with per diems, gear and scholarships. As a varsity athlete, this support reduces stress and allows us to train more.

Also, UVic has helped me become aware of what I enjoy doing and which interests I want to pursue.

How has UVic’s environment influenced your university experience?

The location of UVic on Vancouver Island and its green community sparked my interest in environmental awareness. The Victoria municipality is the only one in Canada that has a Green Party riding, and now being green has become a part of my daily life. Victoria also has many great and unique places to explore such as mountains and areas of wilderness. Some of my best memories (so far) are hiking with my closest friends and discovering these places.

Explain the device you're developing to dispose of radioactive waste. 

The prototype is fully autonomous, meaning once it is switched on, it achieves its objectives without any extraneous assistance. It detects a target (radioactive waste), advances toward it then lifts the target and removes it from the area, effectively disposing of it.

The project is part of the UVic Engineering curriculum where everyone gets to develop their own prototype! Working on this project I developed essential teamwork skills that can be used in any environment.