Academics, Athletics and Accolades

2016-2017 Issue 1

Christian Barker is a varsity lacrosse player, a civil engineering student, and now an award-winning writer. He is the winner of the Communication in Engineering Excellence in Written Communication Award for the 2016 winter and summer semesters.

Barker received the award in recognition of his essay, The Feasibility of Fibre Reinforced Polymers as an Alternative to Steel in Reinforced Concrete. He was notified of the win in the middle of the winter exam period, and “it was awesome. I knew that my professor had nominated my paper for the award, but it was so long ago that I had almost forgotten! It was a nice surprise; I’m still happy about it.”

The award is 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. It comes with a $500 prize from the Faculty of Engineering

“The small class size is intimidating, as are the class presentations,” says Barker. “But you really see the value in it. Communication is one of the most important parts of engineering, and one of the most employable traits. I put a lot of effort into it, as did the instructor, Bassel Atallah. The students who get to be taught by him are lucky.”

Barker discovered that “there’s a good reason why it’s a required course; it gives you a lot of practice for your final paper. All of the engineering students have to write a senior technical paper, and it would’ve been a lot more difficult if I hadn’t taken this course.”

So for those who haven’t yet taken CCOM 206 Communication in Engineering, Barker recommends approaching it “with an open mind. Participate in class. In terms of the paper, be sure to choose an essay topic that really interests you, because you spend a lot of time on it. The course gives you a very good basis on research and writing, and it definitely helped me.”

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