WIMTACH Student Profile: Pavendhan Santharam

Pavendhan Santharam joined WIMTACH to gain a diversified learning experience after learning about the assorted scope of projects undertaken by the WIMTACH research team. Joining WIMTACH in January 2024, Ram was involved in several projects including collaborations with Quince Flowers, Fibra, Conveyor Built and Soch Mental Health. He also assisted the team with the preparations for a project with Workforce Wellness.

Under the leadership of faculty members and Senior Project Managers at WIMTACH, Ram acted as a Student Project Manager. A major feature of Ram’s decision to work at WIMTACH was the opportunity to manage multiple projects simultaneously, and especially within the technology domain. Already assured in his education and background in construction project coordination, he hoped to use his internship at WIMTACH to expand his purview and employability and he felt assured about meeting this goal at the end of his internship. “I wanted tech experience, that’s why I chose WIMTACH,” he said.

His role enabled him to assign tasks to other Student Researchers to ensure they were meeting project milestones and completing assignments in line with project scopes. He also documented meeting minutes, acted as the first point of contact for stakeholders and clients and took ownership over the development processes for collaborations.

With the chance to facilitate the development of several ongoing projects at the same time, he improved his understanding of the agile framework, enhanced his communication and leadership skills, and generally garnered a better sense of how to overcome challenges during project development. “Now I’m more confident in my skills and myself,” he said.

For Ram, a major highlight of his internship was his encouragement to implement Jira and Click Up for projects along with the best practices for managing stakeholders. He was even enabled to plan events on his own and practice graphic design skills by preparing certifications for students. His favorite projects were Workforce Wellness and Fibra, two health care-based projects, that enabled him to gain an understanding of the different approaches to project management for different industries.

Another memorable moment was when he assisted the WIMTACH team with organizing a hackathon with TTC, an event which drew over 60 Centennial College student participants all focused on developing innovative ideas to revamp and secure the TTC buses. It marked a cornerstone moment for him because he was able to learn how to coordinate and manage events for the first time. “I felt ownership to [manage] the event,” he said. “Because I was on the field doing stuff and I’ve never done an event before.”

Now a graduate of Centennial College’s Project Management program, he is sure that he has a natural affinity towards project management and leadership. Since his experience at WIMTACH was so positive, he recommends WIMTACH to other students who are hoping to gain intensive training experiences. He has already promoted the internship program to two students and he continues to endorse the program. “[At WIMTACH] your projects are so diversified … [so] I’m equipped to work on any project.”

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