Western Canada 2021 AquaHacking Challenge Allows Engineering Students to Foster their Creativity

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By Professor Ray Tehari, Professor of Teaching (Manufacturing, Mechanical), School of Engineering, University of British Columbia (UBCO) 

It is my great pleasure to write a few paragraphs to express my heartfelt attitude of gratitude to the AquaHacking Program in general and Mélissa Dick and Carolina Restrepo in particular.  I am a Professor of Teaching at UBC teaching design courses. It is always challenging to come up with a realistic, impactful, and community-driven design project for my first-year classes.  This year the COVID-19 pandemic added an extra layer of complexity to the challenge.  Luckily, in early December 2020, I was approached by Carolina regarding the 2021 AquaHacking Western Canada program.  As I got more familiar with the AquaHacking Challenge, I started to value the outstanding opportunities it provided to engineering students across the country.  I also came to realize what a tremendous effort had been put into the annual AquaHacking competitions year after year.

I firmly believe the 2021 AquaHacking Western Canada challenge has provided a golden opportunity to my first-year Sustainable Engineering Design students to foster their creativity and crystallize their competency.  Melissa and Carolina continuously supported my course, my students, and me in various ways including, attending my lectures, arranging group meetings, providing educational videos etc.  It is paramount for students enrolling in a project-base-course comprehend the scope and constraints in their project.  The AquaHacking team did an excellent job in fully defining every aspect of the available project themes.  Consequently, my students got engaged in their projects from the first week of class, allowing them plenty of time to succeed in their projects.  We had over seventy teams in my class, of which 11 teams were qualified to participate in the 2021 AquaHacking Western Canada challenge.  I am utterly pleased that of four selected finalists, three of the teams were from my APSC 169 class.  Moreover, all three finalist teams from my class were the recipients of the 2021 IEI Fund (Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Impact, $25,000).  This speaks volumes of the high quality of  AquaHacking Challenge program.

I would like to end this post by saluting the AquaHacking team for their impeccable support, solid organizational skills, and fantastic mission—job well done!

To learn more about the projects created by ASPC 169 students, check out this article published by the UBCO School of Engineering on July 28, 2021: IEI recipients making great strides this summer.