How COVID has upended engineering – and created new opportunities for public health progress – Dal News


Although some people may not realize it, engineering impacts every aspect of our lives. From the keyboard you type to the water you drink, every sector of our society requires the expertise of an engineer.

That’s why when the world was suddenly turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, engineering was also turned upside down.

“While the pandemic has been incredibly difficult for all of us, I think it has also created new opportunities,” says Amina Stoddart, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Resource Engineering at Dalhousie.

Dr. Stoddart joins fourth-year electrical engineering student Jade Farr and high school student Tyra Obaden from Sydney, Nova Scotia, for the “Engineering for Health in a Pandemic” virtual panel next Wednesday (31 March)

“Throughout the pandemic, many engineers have focused their efforts on pandemic response, which has accelerated progress at the intersection of engineering and public health,” adds Dr. Stoddart.

The panel, organized by Dal’s Women in Engineering Society (WiE), will explore how the pandemic has transformed fields such as engineering education, innovative technologies, and helped shine a light on sectors such as biomedical engineering and the environmental engineering.

“Through technical input, we have seen advances in materials science for personal protective equipment, improvements in indoor air quality, and the emergence of the field of wastewater monitoring, to say the least. to name a few,” says Dr. Stoddart. “All of these contributions will have a lasting effect beyond COVID-19.”

Supporting women in engineering

Next week’s event is part of WiE’s ‘Women of Today’ panel series, which aims to educate young women about the career opportunities available with an engineering degree and the impact of the profession. on the society.

Over the years, WiE has worked to close the gender gap in engineering by facilitating events, mentoring support, workshops, and career development opportunities for current and future female engineers on the Sexton Campus.

“I think it’s important to have this demonstration of what engineering looks like in different industries and how it varies by age and demographics,” says Katelin Flick, vice president of social media for WiE and organizer of next week’s round table. “People can learn more about these different topics, and we can expose more people to the industry.”

Flick says there are still many misconceptions associated with the field of engineering and a lack of understanding as to how it applies to the real world. She hopes next week’s panel will show women how the pandemic has opened new doors for the next generation of budding engineers.


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