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Transforming the radical into possible

Interior design student Eleanor Ching-yee Kuan has learned how to take a computer rendering to a physical design in the Design Fabrication Zone.

Mechanical engineering student Farbod Mansorian has tapped into resources at multiple zones to launch his startup, PawCharge.

Media production student Orest Kus has leveraged his connections in the zone community to gain technical skills and develop his own mobile app, Knockdem.

Discover what it takes to create social change, contribute to a big idea or launch a startup – with zone learning, a new model of experiential learning at Ryerson. Zone learning is built to prepare students for the workplace of the 21st century by working on real projects, causes, companies or startups. The 10-zone network offers Ryerson students the chance to experience real-world problem solving, learn new skills, and gain tangible experience.

Each zone focuses on a specific industry and offers students access to resources and mentors to help develop an idea or collaborate on some else’s. Three students share their unique experience in zone learning.


The portfolio builder

Interior design student Eleanor Ching-yee Kuan created real-world projects for her portfolio before graduation. Since her first year, Kuan has worked on projects in the Digital Fabrication Zone and developed the skills to lead a team on the design and build of an installation at the Ryerson Communication & Design Society gala.

Zone learning supports Kuan’s goals through project-focused mentorship and teamwork where she has gained soft and technical skills that will be critical to her career.

When do you think students should start participating in zone learning?
First year is a great time to get involved because you are open to everything – meeting new people and learning new things.

What is your biggest takeaway from your zone learning experience?
Overall I have learned to think big and not to limit myself.

Zones: Design Fabrication Zone

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The entrepreneur
Mechanical engineering student Farbod Mansorian turned a big idea into a business with zone learning. Mansorian developed PawCharge, a battery-sharing service kiosk that dispenses mobile device power packs for on-the-go charging.

Mansorian has worked across several zones, seeking out skills and resources from a variety of areas outside of his degree program including design, energy management, environmental sustainability and business management. Thanks to specialized faculty and zone mentors helping him at various stages of the project, Mansorian has been able to complement his degree with real-world business development experience.

How has zone learning strengthened your education?
In my first year, I was unsure of what I wanted to do as a career until I attended a presentation at Ryerson on entrepreneurship that was inspirational. The passion I discovered for entrepreneurship fed back into my core program because I was motivated by my company and my mentors.

What do you want first year students to know about zone learning?
We have a community at Ryerson that believes in helping students and bringing their ideas to life. I always knew I wanted to find a way to make a difference, and now I have learned how I can follow my dreams while making money.  I’ve accumulated skills beyond what I would get at any other university.

Zones: iCUE, iBoost, SocialVentures Zone, Design Fabrication Zone

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The app developer

Media production student Orest Kus discovered a passion for entrepreneurship and app development at the Transmedia Zone by helping out others with their projects. The environment and the community inspired him to develop his own product, Noctem, an intelligent lifestyle app for the Toronto nightlife scene.  Kus is inspired by the energy in the zones and has a long list of accomplishments, hard and soft skills to take with him to the workforce.

Why should Ryerson students should get involved in zone learning?
While your degree is imperative and important, the work you accomplish outside of the classroom is a key differentiator and sets you apart in the competitive job market. It’s a way to put yourself ahead of everyone else.

Have zones helped you fulfill or exceed your career goals?
Absolutely – 100 per cent. I would not be where I was today if I didn’t join the Transmedia Zone years ago, which was the first zone I ever worked at. I haven’t even graduated yet, but I already have a job in my field. Even though I’m one of the youngest people on my team, I have no problems keeping up and am always bringing new ideas to the table. Without a doubt, my zone experiences were a compelling reason why I got the job.

Zones: Transmedia Zone, iBoost


Discover what it takes to create social change, contribute to a big idea or launch a startup
with zone learning. To get involved email zonelearning@ryerson.ca or join us at the Zone Learning Street Party on Gould Street (between Victoria and Bond), Thursday, September 29.