Two WIMTACH students win the Excellence in Applied Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship (EARIE) Scholarship
Of the three Centennial College students that were announced as the recipients the Excellence in Applied Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship (EARIE) Scholarship, two are long-time Student Researchers of Wearable, Interactive and Mobile Technology Access Centre in Health (WIMTACH) – Simerjit Kaur and Mehol Abanavay. The EARIE Scholarship recognizes students who have demonstrated applied research innovation through projects, solutions to industry challenges and/or answers to research and development questions. In large part because of their respective work and experience at WIMTACH, Abanavay and Kaur received the $1000 scholarship that will be officially presented to them in March 2020.
WIMTACH is a Technology Access Centre that provides specialized technology, equipment and expertise to the local health industry to enhance the innovation capacity and business practices of mostly small- to medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs via applied research projects. For students, WIMTACH is an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real industry projects in order to enhance their professional development. For both Kaur and Abanavay, WIMTACH presented the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience before graduation.
After her sister recommended WIMTACH to her, Kaur successfully applied to WIMTACH in March 2019 as a first-year Software Engineering and Technology student. “If I‘m in College and I can utilize my time in the college while learning, it’s obviously a plus point.” Her first project was CollegeCornerStone, an online platform that taps into the 80% hidden job market and makes employment opportunities available to students. Since then, she’s worked on five applied research projects. While she gained new skills, such as front-end development, her biggest takeaway was teamwork. “When we work in a team, how you resolve conflicts on the team and how we can problem solve without offending others.”
Abanavay, an Automation and Robotics student, started working at WIMTACH in January 2019, immediately working on mechanical engineering applied research projects such as McCray Optical, Alphacor and Acumade. Similar to Kaur, the most valuable lesson he has learned in his experience so far is the importance of team coordination and that makes WIMTACH a “100% learning experience all the time”. “There are some [class] subjects that are similar to what we’re working on in the [WIMTACH] project. There’s also a lot of similar programming done in WIMTACH that is similar in the classroom.”
Beyond the work experience, WIMTACH enhances individual and collective applied research networks that students can take advantage of. Both Kaur and Abanavay were able to use their respective WIMTACH Research Associates as references for their EARIE Scholarship application. Additionally, they have access to industry partners and entrepreneurs that are continuously looking for talent to add to their teams. Abanavay is still in contact with WIMTACH client iMerciv for which he helped develop a new novel technology.
The EARIE Scholarship is a prestigious addition to any student’s resume. For Kaur, it adds to the Canadian experience she has gained at WIMTACH. “I’m an international student and I don’t have experience in Canadian culture. [At WIMTACH] I’m receiving that. I can show my resume that I was working part-time in Canada.” This award allows Abanavay to demonstrate his diverse set of skills. “WIMTACH is open to a wide range of employees because [WIMTACH] needs diverse skillsets as they’re taking projects in various fields…Whatever you’ve been taught in the classroom, you still have to do your research and build your knowledge base. [WIMTACH] is a bridge between industry and direct classroom teaching.”
WIMTACH is committed to enhancing the student experience at Centennial College. By championing student learning and work experience, WIMTACH continues to strengthen the ecosystem of applied research and the local health industry in Canada and beyond. Congratulations to Simerjit Kaur and Mehol Abanavay on the well-deserved award.
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