Rudra Teja, a graduate of the (Industrial) Mechanical Engineering Technology program, came to Centennial College in 2015. After only a month of enrollment, Rudra applied to and successfully acquired a Student Researcher position with WIMTACH in a surprising way.
“One of my professors suggested that there was an opening. Within a week I got an interview call. Pouria (Research Associate) interviewed me and he was quite happy [with my interview]. When the interview was done, Pouria gave me a test to do. It was supposed to take four hours but I did it in half an hour. Once they got my test back, I got a call that I would be hired and starting on Monday.”
He recalls the humble beginnings of the WIMTACH space.
“When I began with WIMTACH, there were no cubicles; it was just tables and chairs. I’ve seen the whole transformation of WIMTACH.”
WIMTACH began in a College classroom in April 2015 and, it is one of 30 Technology Access Centres funded by Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Since then, WIMTACH’s record of success has continued to climb. To date, WIMTACH has supported the experiential learning of over 400 students. This learning has increased the number of people in students’ networks and provided the stepping stones for new careers.
In this classroom is where Rudra did his first project with WIMTACH industry partner NextGen Lab.
“Pouria recognized my design background and he gave me very good experiences and multiple opportunities at WIMTACH. I started working on a single project to build a food allergen detector for about a year.”
NextGen Laboratories provides premium testing solutions to give patients personalized health profiles and services. WIMTACH and NextGen Laboratories designed and developed a novel food allergen detector that receives and grinds a food sample and introduces an extraction solution to the grinded sample. The high level of technical expertise of the project made for a challenging shift for Rudra because his design background mostly includes automobiles.
Nonetheless, this was the start of several project engagements he had over the next two years, such as the medical pill dispenser with exactMed Ltd, which he designed, and other software and electrical-based projects. This experience allowed him to deepen his design knowledge and increase his employability.
“WIMTACH gave me an extensive opportunity to wok on various design projects. I was working on multiple additive and subtractive manufacturing processes. That helped me get a job with a mechanical companies/automation company.”
In addition, his working experience at WIMTACH allowed him to develop his soft skills, especially team work.
“It’s not just the technical part that I learned at WIMTACH – project management, collaboration and a blend of problem-solving and creative thinking skills…[For instance] I was working with multidisciplinary team – so software and electronics – and I was coordinating with them to integrate the designs. It was quite a new experience for me but eventually I had a better hand on it over time. That helped me work in the real industry setting and gave me exposure to other related fields. [For example] I was creating videos for one of the clients and at the same time I was helping out a programmer to design a website in terms of mechanical part. I was helping another student on the project program how to assemble all the mechanical components in the website that was requested from the clients. The client was Ideasfil. Initially, I felt quite challenged. It was new but I kind of enjoyed it because I was responsible for something major. I was taking care of things and I took pride in getting things done.”
Since he graduated from Centennial College in 2017, Rudra continued working with WIMTACH for a mechanical-based project; he also continued his learning to acquire a new skill set. Shortly afterwards, he landed his dream job in the nuclear industry as a Quality Surveyor at BWHC Nuclear Energy Canada. “I make sure all the new components are going in and out of the facility, and I’m there to make sure they get the right component and a timeline.”
His advice to students is simple: invest in learning beyond the classroom:
“I think WIMTACH offers students with a good opportunity to
explore their skills and see where they fit in. Although I started in design, I
worked with different teams and developed different skills. I had and gained
knowledge in some of the electronics work I did and learned the PCD design. WIMTACH
gives you that sort of experience, but you are now in charge of yourself and your
learning. Working at WIMTACH is a path to something meaningful at the end.”