The Write Stuff

2015-2016 Issue 1

MaximeLauze

Meet Maxime Lauzé. Born and raised in Montreal, and now in his fourth year studying mechanical engineering at McGill, he is the inaugural winner of the Excellence in Written Communications prize awarded jointly by the McGill Writing Centre and the Faculty of Engineering for the best research paper written in the Writing Centre’s Communication in Engineering course, which is required for nearly all engineering students.

There were 337 students enrolled in the Fall 2014 semester, and Lauzé’s paper, entitled Recycling Carbon Fibre Reinforced Composites: A Market Environment Assessment, was selected as the best paper overall based on depth of research, integration of academic sources, and the coherence, consistency, and overall quality of writing.

When he was notified of the honor, “I was very surprised,” says Lauzé. “I spent a lot of time on it, and I enjoyed writing it, but I didn’t expect to win.”

The course includes instruction on writing professional emails, cover letters, résumés,

a research paper, and a business proposal. “We learn how to present technical ideas and innovation in a vocabulary that general audiences would understand. That’s one of the main difficulties for engineering students, and engineers as well.”

Although many students find it challenging, Lauzé’s take on the course would no doubt make his professor, Marianne Filion, proud. “A lot of my colleagues thought she was strict, but it was for good reasons. When you write a professional letter or a research paper, and there are a few things off, that’s all you need for someone to stop paying attention to what you’re saying. If you don’t present your ideas well, people won’t know how good your work is.”

Lauzé learned how to build an outline, enjoyed working with Endnote, an online citation guide available through the McGill Library, and felt the business proposal assignment was very relevant to his field. “My friends have start-ups. They’re smart, but you can’t do that if you don’t know how to talk to investors. Business students give so many presentations per semester; in engineering, you may present once in your whole undergrad. But if you want to develop an idea or start a company, communication skills are always relevant.”

Something that makes Lauzé’s win even more impressive is that English is his second language. “I went to an English high school, and I think that helped my writing skills. I’d like to stay in Montreal and work here. Engineering is tied to business, and English is the language of business, so this class is a good move.”

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