Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, WIMTACH has continued its efforts to support its Student Researchers to gain experiential learning, job opportunities, employable skills and industry knowledge of digital health sectors. This series will highlight how students and faculty who work with WIMTACH are managing the ongoing changes to their daily lives.
Mehol Abanavy is no stranger to WIMTACH. He’s a Centennial student in the Electromechanical Engineering – Automation and Robotics program, and began working as a Student Researcher on mechanical engineering projects in January 2019. He’s worked on applied research projects with companies such as McCray Optical, Alphacor and Acumade, which is still ongoing.
“I have worked on three aspects of the project. First was primary research on electro – acupuncture. Second was electrical embedded system design for isolated voltage systems. Third was Mechanical design for the main electrode. Apart from this I have also worked in the manufacturing aspect of the project in our College machine shop [before the pandemic].”
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students everywhere, driving them to make adjustments to their schedules, routines and interactions with people. While it hasn’t been easy, Mehol has taken it in stride, thanks to a routine that includes studying and working at WIMTACH. He doesn’t focus on the challenges of working at home. Rather, he focuses on the best parts, such as “weekly scheduled meetings”, “properly assigned tasks and action items”, and “an enthusiastic Principal Investigator and tea”, all of which are similar to the routine he had before the pandemic.
For many students, achieving such a routine is challenging because working from home is a new experience for many students. The responsibilities, distractions and the general environment that were only part of the day have become the entire day. As a result, many students are finding it hard to discern between work and leisure and end up working for too long or for not enough time. To achieve balance, Mehol suggests a schedule that is structured enough to encourage focus and easy enough to follow.
“The key to building a routine is to be disciplined with work and follow times…allot separate days for scheduled tasks in the week…break down work in small parts and set deadlines for each part. Keep enough buffer time for critical tasks so that you have some time to catch up if you make a mistake.”
Mehol has had the opportunity to gain experiences that have increased his employability and won him recognition from the College, such as the Excellence in Applied Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship (EARIE) Scholarship that he won earlier this year. He describes his experience with WIMTACH as “good Canadian work experience” that will enable him to pursue a career as a mechatronics engineer and product designer. “The interdisciplinary nature of WIMTACH projects augment my skills, which will eventually help in my goals.”
HIs biggest piece of advice has to do with social interaction, which all students are lacking in an effort to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus. Since students are indoors much more, it’s important to interact with people virtually in order to reduce the feeling of isolation. “Maintain good discipline and engage in daily interaction with friends and family.”
For more information on WIMTACH projects and services, please visit https://wimtach.centennialcollege.ca/
For updates on WIMTACH’s operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit https://mailchi.mp/d9a20aac07f0/covid-19-update