Meet this afternoon’s Engineering valedictorian

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"If anything McMaster’s taught me that I’ll always be learning and growing as a person, but it’s important to reevaluate now and then in order to have a conscious conscience."


Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What would you say to your first year you? Meet Ryan Rogers, valedictorian at the June 16 Convocation for the Faculty of Engineering. 

1. Name: 

Ryan Rogers

2. Hometown:

Toronto, Ontario

3. Degree/Major:

Mechanical Engineering and Management

4. What made you choose McMaster for you higher education career? 

I actually ended up at McMaster Engineering as a happy accident. I knew I wanted to go into STEM, however I was set on a science degree and had applied to McMaster, U of T, Waterloo and Queens. However, after not hearing back from the other schools for some time because of my low grades I decided to go with McMaster. Having never been to campus before welcome week, I’m not the model student for “doing you research” for post-secondary institutions. However, when I got here and was greeted by the engineering community, I knew I made the right choice and never looked back.

5. What will you be doing after graduation or see yourself doing? 

I see myself working in energy sector, specifically in sustainable energy harvesting systems. Whether that be a more public or technical facing one I have yet to determine. However, with this in mind I’m happy to have a graduate student placement in a lab that conducts sustainable energy harvesting research.

6. What would you say or advice to your first year self? 

I would tell them what one of my Welcome Week Reps told me when I was in first year which is “don’t be afraid to try everything.” I realize it seems straight forward, and is the most most generic advice a first year university student could get, but it’s also the most real advice I can give anyone. I’ve found a lot of university is about finding yourself and defining the person you want to be beyond the confines of your degree. This process is only possible by meeting new people, trying new things, and making the most of the experience outside of the classroom.

7. How has McMaster shaped the person you are today? 

McMaster really provided a framework for my personal growth. It brought me together with friends who have since given me life long memories as well as professors who helped mentor my professional ambitions. The University is the reason for why I now have direction in life and more importantly is responsible for helping me find my passions.

8. What events did you enjoy the most at McMaster/Hamilton city?

I would say the McMaster Engineering Society events. Honestly they’re really well put together, EOHSS approved and hosted by a great team of individuals. Also they’re super affordable. 10/10 would recommend. As for non-McMaster related events I’d have to recommend the hiking in and around the Bruce Trail as well as hanging around James Street North. Hamilton has so much to offer and I’m so happy that I got to experience so much of it throughout my fourth and fifth years.

9. If you could change anything in the past or in your time at McMaster, what would it be? 

Honestly, nothing really. I had very fulfilling undergrad and am honored to have had the opportunity to work with so many different people throughout the last five years. If anything I’d gone to more sports games instead of nerding out in JHE.

10. Who was your support for succeeding in higher education? 

My family and my housemates. At this point they’re basically the same thing. To be honest my Mom is more in tune with my housemates lives then I am. She has them all on Facebook and knows about their drama before they even get a chance to tell me.

11. How have you changed over the course of your University life? 

Well in first year I gained the freshmen 15, but fortunately that’s been slowly shedding off as I get into DBAC more and more. I’ve gone through a series of haircuts, but it’s always reflected an undercut with varying degrees of length on top. I grew a little, like half an inch in first year, but I think the studying has taken its toll on my back and I’ve since lost that. To be honest, the most drastic one is that by fifth year the faculty’s marketing worked so well that tricked me into buying iron ring glasses. Besides that, I just look like me in first year but more tired.

12. How have you grown as a person throughout your time at McMaster?

My time at McMaster has really allowed me an incredible amount of personal growth. Exiting fifth year I feel more attuned to my core values and this is because throughout my university career a lot of personal and professional situations really shook the foundations of my personality and I had to reevaluate what I valued. Not only did I had to decide what I wanted to hold dear, but I also had to evaluate how those values impacted those around me. If anything McMaster’s taught me that I’ll always be learning and growing as a person, but it’s important to reevaluate now and then in order to have a conscious conscience.

13. What do you envision yourself doing five years from now? 

Either finishing off a PHD or alternatively working on sustainable energy solutions for the GTA. After my masters, I’m really hoping I can take the research I do now and work in the energy industry. The last three years of working as a Research Assistant have really caused me to develop a passion for my work and I hope to carry this forward into industry.

14. What is your definition of success? 

Finding happiness.

15. How would your life be different if you didn’t go to McMaster? 

I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I also wouldn’t have been in engineering, and although that would have made my life a lot less weird, I wouldn’t have learned as much about myself without the Engineering Community.

Learn more about Spring 2017 convocations here: http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/grad/convo-dates/

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