Two alumnae reflect on how FEAS extracurriculars set them up for success
While alumnae Jennifer Eshoua and Rachel Au earned their undergraduate degrees in different FEAS programs, they both immersed themselves in extracurricular activities that taught them valuable skills and broadened their perspectives and professional opportunities.
Eshoua earned her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering while being involved in numerous activities outside of the classroom. For starters, she acted as the president and design lead of Tetra Ryerson, vice president of Engineering Entrepreneurship, the design director for the International Conference of Upcoming Engineers and a member of the Biomedical Course Union.
Additionally, Eshoua participated in iBest, external link (The Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology), a collaborative program with St. Michael’s hospital. Through this program, she discovered her passion for working in hospital environments and was inspired to apply for her current position as a technical field engineer.
“Ryerson’s wide variety of extracurriculars and programs enhance learning and genuinely create an ideal student experience,” said Eshoua. ”Not only do these groups allow you to network, make friends and learn, they enable you to truly focus and streamline your interests as a student exploring different fields.”
According to Eshoua, her opportunities outside of the classroom helped build her character and enhance applicable skills. “Without the confidence that I built during my time at Ryerson with regards to effective communication, presentation and public speaking, I would definitely be experiencing challenges in my career,” said Eshoua.
In addition, Eshoua developed time management and task prioritization skills to help her juggle academics and her many extra activities. These skills still serve her today. “Without having learned to manage time and tasks effectively, it would be impossible for me to manage my professional responsibilities.”
While Rachel Au earned her undergraduate degree in architectural science, she was also very active in various activities outside of academics. For example, Au was part of the Ryerson Architecture Society, acted as the architecture team lead with the Ryerson Thrill Club and regularly participated in the annual Ryerson's Invitational Thrill Design Competition (RITDC). At the RITDC, a multidisciplinary collaboration with engineers, architects and digital media students, Au's team won multiple awards, including overall competition winner in 2017.
Au credits her involvement in extracurriculars for helping her build invaluable skills and giving her a broader perspective of the various fields she could specialize in. According to Au, “If it wasn't for the extracurricular activities, my knowledge of my future career path would be limited.” Her multidisciplinary collaborations helped her realize she could tie her architecture expertise with her passion for user experience, immersive design and storytelling.
“The soft skills and software knowledge from architecture school, in conjunction with my thesis on game engines, prepared me and ultimately led to my career in the gaming industry.”
If Au could give her university self some advice now, she would remind herself not to stay hyper-focused on present-day challenges. Instead, she would say yes to opportunities that build character and foster growth. “If you can emerge with new knowledge and as a better version of yourself – you’ve succeeded.”