National Engineering Month welcomes exciting possibilities for students


Engineers Canada is hosting over 500 events in March to show how rewarding a career in engineering can be, and what exactly you need to excel in the profession.

Thanks to the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) Algoma Chapter, and the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technologists and Technicians (OACETT), our local students had the opportunity to get involved in some of the stimulating activities that make up this national event for the 14th consecutive year.

On March 17th, displays and interactive, hands-on activities, as well as a math competition, were set up in the Station Mall by PEO, OACETT, and their partners.

The math competition, comprising of 40 students from our local school boards ranging from grades 5 to 12 competing for prizes, with questions meant to stimulate their minds and encourage problem-solving with geared-to-age questions, is considered the main attraction of the day.

But there was a little something offered for all ages.

This event also gave local postsecondary institutions, Algoma University and Sault College, the chance to promote their programs and events as they relate to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

Paul Quesnele, Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator at Algoma University, told SaultOnline, “Just in the winter of 2017, we were approved to offer Laurentian’s first year Bachelor of Engineering program at Algoma, it’s very new, that’s why we are here today to promote it.”

This will allow for students to choose from chemical, mining, or mechanical engineering. They will get to do their first year at Algoma, stay local, save money, and get the exact same quality of education and program that they would get at Laurentian.

They continue their degree at Laurentian after the first year, with the hopes of bringing them back for permanent work in the Sault.

Quesnele explained, “In the summer of their second year, they will start doing co-op placements in their program, and we have actually carved out spots in Sault Ste. Marie for the local students to come back and do their placements. Bringing students back home to work helps to keep talent here and keep local students so they can contribute to their home community. Hopefully that will translate into jobs in the future for them.”

Sault College promoted their annual bridge building contest at both the elementary and high school levels, which will take place on May 5th.


In addition to engaging with local youth, this event also seeks to recognize and increase awareness of the contributions made by local engineers to STEM.

Michael Paciocco, Chair for the National Engineers Month for the Local Chapter of PEO and OACETT Chair, explained, “We want people to see engineering not just in the obvious way of bridges, buildings, and infrastructure, but also in things like video game design, computer networking, the internet, the knowledge of STEM and how it applies to everyday life – how it makes everyday life possible.”

He continued, “We have displays that we put out a week before the event that highlights projects that different firms have done, and we are grateful to them and their contributions to the field of engineering.”

According to Paciocco, who has been involved in running the local event for the past 6 years, there has been a real increase in involvement and engagement with various elements of the event.

“There has been a real increase in the math competition this year thanks to partners at ADSB and HSDCSB, as well as an increase in volunteers and in VEX Robotics,” he said.

Engineers Canada has worked closely with VEX, who have seen local competitors, such as Lone Wolf Robotics, go on to compete on a national and world championship level.

I myself have had the pleasure in seeing first hand the dedication, innovation, and intelligence that these young student robotics teams have, having acted as the Master of Ceremonies for the VEX Robotics competitions last year.

Paciocco told SaultOnline that they usually have a few hundred people that come by the displays and interact, show interest, or participate in some way.

For more information on National Engineers Month and the different events, including the bridge building contest, please click here.

For more information on PEO and how to get involved with them, please click here.



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