The following student member profile on Tiffany Joseph was written by Huijie Xu, OSPE Intern and student at McMaster’s Master of Engineering and Public Policy program.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I am an international student from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I came to Canada to pursue a degree in space engineering, and I am about to graduate from York University’s Space Engineering program. I have a passion for leadership and advocacy, and have been involved in the Lassonde Engineering Society, various clubs and committees at my school, and served as Vice-President, Services on the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario (ESSCO). I’m very passionate about supporting and running strong teams that make an impact on the student experience, and I’ve cultivated a love for project management in my academic environment, as well.
(York University combines non-engineering to engineering to develop a unique engineering program in Ontario. It supports students engaging in leadership academically and out of the classroom. Its engineering society also runs one of the larger engineering competitions for students in the country.)
WHAT WORK HAVE YOU DONE IN TERMS OF ENGINEERING?
I spent two summers doing engineering research in attitude control for satellites at the Lassonde undergraduate research program. Attitude control is the pointing and orientation of spacecraft, and I focused on a class of satellites called CubeSats – small, cubic, modular satellites that have impacted our field in the last decade. I won the Best Poster Presentation for my work last summer, and this year I am working on the orientation for this year’s researchers.
My design projects have focused mostly on space applications, including payload instrument design, space mission design, and my fi nal year capstone project, where my team designed an autonomous underwater vehicle.
WHAT WORK HAVE YOU DONE IN TERMS OF ADVOCACY?
I’ve been involved with my student engineering society since 2015 and served as the President of the Lassonde Engineering Society from 2016-2017. My team and I ran events and provided support and representation for our student community, working with our administration and other teams at Lassonde to create new events, make our traditional events bigger and better, and find new ways to engage the community.
The following year, I joined ESSCO where I was responsible for provincial events like our first ever blood drive across Ontario’s ESSCO schools and our Math and Physics Day volunteering at Canada’s Wonderland. I also supported our planning committees as they prepared our four yearly conferences. In my role, I have also provided equity training for students, and ran the first equity training for delegates at the First-Year Integration Conference in Thunder Bay last year.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE AS AN ENGINEERING STUDENT?
For now, I am heading into industry to work but I do want to go back to university for my Master’s degree and maybe eventually a PhD. I really want to contribute to space missions, such as the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway Mission, a project being run by an international collaboration of space agencies. I would like to head into the space industry long term, while working on improving diversity and equity education for STEM fields and helping to improve access to the space field. For now, I am focusing on developing as many skills as possible and taking advantage of opportunities to develop my leadership.
I hope to see students engaging in more leadership opportunities as I believe leadership shapes our future engineers into socially-conscious members of society. Work from organizations like the engineering Change Lab is pointing towards a future in which engineers are no longer just technical experts, but interdisciplinary experts who craft technical solutions rooted in an understanding of the society in which they serve.
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN YOU AND OSPE?
I’ve been an OSPE student member for some time now. Having been an executive on the ESSCO team, I worked closely with OSPE to see several initiatives through and received support from OSPE’s team for our organization. Now, I am a member of the OSPE Women in Engineering Advocacy Champions Task Force (WE ACT), which advocates for and explores the role of women in engineering.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT OSPE?
I think OSPE does a great job of supporting ESSCO and engineering students, and the role it plays in advocacy for equity and diversity is particularly important to me. I think there is a lot of room for OSPE to engage more with engineering students, and I am excited to see OSPE deepen its relationship with engineering students in the future for further engagement.