Hello everyone, my name is Chenyinxia Zuo, I graduated from the University of Toronto with an honors degree in Mechanical Engineering last year. I had to say I made the right decision to study at UofT directly after graduating from Hefei No.1 High School, as the journey through my undergraduate studies was full of laughter, friendship, love, and unforgettable memories.
During the 3rd and 4th year, I took an internship at an Engineering Consultancy company, Hatch, for 14 months. It was a paid internship opportunity through a special program called PEY for Engineering students. Hatch is a multinational enterprise. Our company's business scope involves mining, energy, infrastructure construction, oil and gas, nuclear industry, and so on. Although it is still relatively young - 65 years since its establishment - it has branches on six continents and employs more than 10000 people. It also has been selected as the top 20 best engineering design companies in the world.
Pic 1: My company, Hatch Pic 2: My cubicle in the office
As a Mechanical Engineering intern in the piping team of the Autoclave Technology Group (ATG), My role included initiating and revising data sheets of various kinds of valves such as knife gate valves and ball valves, special piping items (SPI), and Piping Material Index or Specifications, etc. I was also responsible for designing Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) and later troubleshooting problems based on the comments received from my supervisor or clients. In addition, my contribution included creating interrelated calculation templates of terminal velocity, deposition velocity, and hydraulic gradient for slurry, etc. The work was not busy and quite intriguing, because I had a chance to touch upon different large-scale projects, and there was always a sense of accomplishment when an unplanned problem was tackled and I received compliments from my supervisor. Working hours were very flexible, my colleagues and supervisors were also very friendly. The Mississauga office I worked in was the headquarter of the company, with a cozy and spacious environment and excellent facilities. I really enjoyed the breathtaking view of Lake Ontario and the CN Tower from my office. Outside of work, I went to shopping malls and supermarkets, cooked/baked my favorite dishes, and dined out with my friends. It was such a valuable, well-rounded, and professional journey.
Indeed, many of my friends envied my balanced and stress-free work life, but that was earned from my previous struggles. The Engineering department at UofT is renowned for its heavy workload and competitive students. It was common to stay up until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning after taking lectures from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It was said you could only take up to 2 sides of the triangle of social, study, and sleep, which I found to be absolutely true. Immersed in lectures, frequent exams, group projects, weekly assignments and homework, I felt so fatigued that I craved quality sleep all the time. Luckily, the effort paid off. In the Department of Mechanical Engineering where more than 200 students are enrolled, I have been placed among the top 10 many times. My name was on the Dean's list every semester.
During the third year, I conducted research in the Microcellular Plastics Manufacturing Laboratory (MPML) in my school. Professor Chul Park, who was the head of the lab, was also the founder and leader in plastics foaming technologies in the field. He is the academician of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Canada, China, and South Korea; and also the owner of numerous patents. After in-depth research for half a year, I was able to publish a conference paper as the first author and delivered a 30-minute presentation at the top-level International technical conference within the plastics field in Orlando, USA. After this, Prof. Park even asked me to consider doing a Ph.D. degree with him after graduation!
Pic 3, 4, 5: presentation at the top-level International technical conference in Orlando, USA
In my spare time, I liked travelling and trying delicious food! Living in a city full of immigrants, I not only enjoyed high-end Italian and French cuisine like the fancy restaurant on the 54th floor by the Lake Ontario, but also savored the tastiness of Beijing roasted ducks, Chinese hot pots, Korean/ Japanese barbecues, and various milk tea, to name a few. I also recorded my food journey on my Instagram, you could follow my page (_monicazz427_) if you are looking for some ideas for food. Also, I am a vlogger, randomly recording my daily life and some memorable travel experience or jogging down some take-away lessons from my studies and work. Then you could also find me on Youtube: MonicaZZ 随性的喵, or 随性的喵 on Bilibili / 小红书 / 头条.
Pic 6: my food journal in Toronto
These were only some the highlights in my undergraduate life. I hope you could be enlightened by my experience and enjoy your time at school.