Who was your favourite Professor at UofT?
Prof. Dmitrevsky – Electromagnetics. All in hindsight of course. We often only retrospectively recognize the individuals that had the most significant impact on our education.
What do you currently do for a living?
Chief Medical Information Officer and Critical Care Physician at Mackenzie Health. Currently engaged in designing and building one of the world’s first intelligent hospitals based on the internet of things. Practicing both medicine and engineering is a fulfilling, albeit highly challenging career.
Did you go to Frosh in your first year? If yes, what was your favourite part?
F!rosh week was a great experience that I remember quite fondly mostly for the great friendships that ensued. My favourite part was not from my own F!rosh experience but from one that I helped lead. We built a full-sized Roman torsion catapult and used it to fire water balloons OVER university college from front to back campus. Nobody ever saw them coming.
Do you have any advice to first years on how to get the best out of SkuleTM? What are some things you would tell your first-year self if given the chance?
Carpe carp, as they say (seize the fish). My advice to you is to figure out early on how to balance academics and fun. There’s an old joke that A students make the best professors, B students make the best engineers, and C students make the most money. The most successful engineers that I know are the ones that studied hard AND came out to events, joined clubs, had great fun, and still had their problems sets completed by morning.
Looking back, I think my first-year self would be quite relieved to know that marks are not everything. I am proud to say that I got a 69 in first year semi-conductor physics, then ended up as the course teaching assistant 4 years later during grad school. And I was failing electromagnetics two months in until I sat down with the professor and he explained it to me one-on-one, and I ended up with a 90 by the end of the year. So yes, hard work does pay off, there is life outside of SkuleTM, and even the most ill-reputed professor really and truly does want to help you learn.
And I’ll repeat my mantra: It’s ok to have fun as long as your problem set is in on time.
Are there any clubs you would recommend to first years?
I recommend SkuleTM Nite to everyone whether you are in first year or last year. Great experience, great friendships with students from different years and programs, great opportunity to acquire new life skills (afraid of public speaking?), and a lifetime of memories. I also recommend the newspapers, although as a former Toike editor I’m a bit biased.
What is your favourite memory from UofT?
I was in the SkuleTM Nite prop room at 2 AM the night of run-throughs one year, rummaging around for props, when I was startled by the campus police: “What are you doing in here???” As I turn around, holding two prop M16s in one hand, and a prop BFG in the other (picture a giant 6 barreled hand-held gatling gun that looks like it came off of a warship), one of the cops yells “gun” and they both drop to the floor, while the whole time I am yelling “They’re props, they’re props!”. Still makes me laugh every time I think of it. Other favourite memories: Eng Sci winning the chariot race for the first time ever, The Second Cup adjusting your order to match the amount of caffeine they thought you needed by just looking at you, bonding by the shared misery of Ivey Physics, multi-faith euchre every morning before class, and the two hour computer engineering class we had from 2-4 PM on Fridays, where people would go down to Suds during the break and sneak a beverage back into class.
Are there any life mottos or quotes to live by?
I have always been a fan of Montrose’s toast: “He either fears his fate too much,
Or his desserts are small, Who dares not put it to the touch, To win or lose it all!”
But I’m also a Yoda disciple: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”