Morgan Grobin combines academics and extracurricular

Impact of Annual Giving – 2013

The Alma Mater Fund at the Faculty of Engineering helps support many student initiatives and clubs. The following profile of one of our Faculty’s 2,986 undergraduate students shows how her life has been enriched through her involvement in student-run activities. Thank you.

grobin on mac

At work in the always hectic Engineering Undergraduate Society offices, Morgan Grobin was the point person in the society’s dealings with Engineering Faculty clubs. (Photo: Owen Egan)

Lectures and class assignments provide the information students need to obtain their degree, but transforming that knowledge after graduation into valuable products and services involves expertise and know-how that goes well beyond book learning.

Alumni giving is crucial in funding this second, sometimes hidden dimension of teaching and learning at McGill, and one young woman who understands that is second-year Electrical Engineering student Morgan Grobin.

Her work as a Vice-President of both the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) and the Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering (POWE) group has taught Morgan multi-layered skills that help her to meet objectives and make things happen.

Skills that last a lifetime

In fact, her extracurricular activities have probably given Morgan more insight and hands-on experience than are enjoyed by many people twice her age.

“It’s not a question of favoring extracurricular over course work or vice-versa,” she says, “it’s about taking advantage of the best opportunities that both worlds offer.

“Time management and networking are two obvious examples. Older students that we get to know well in our after-class work give us advice about how to handle complicated courses or how to approach certain professors. They even pass down textbooks. It’s all very informal in terms of mentoring, but it works, and it really gives younger students a heads-up with their academics.”

As for life skills, she says that “after you’ve spent months problem-solving and organizing student projects from an open-space area surrounded by desks, phones, constant chatter and endless interruptions, you can do anything. Believe me, experiences like that teach you how to stay focused on projects, no matter what’s happening around you.”

The Chapel Hill North Carolina native says her stints on various student executives have taught her how to interact better with people “particularly if they’re a little stressed or not entirely sure what they need help with. I’m way more confident now in offering people practical tips about things like structuring proposals, writing reports, time management and communicating more effectively.

“All of this helps me in my course work, too, of course, but I know it will serve me throughout my career and my life.”


grobin on skidoo

Morgan was a member of McGill Engineering’s Electric Snowmobile project, a student design team initiative that received support from the Alma Mater Fund. Photo: Owen Egan)

Role models for women in engineering

A 2013 Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering (POWE) Leadership Award winner, Morgan Grobin was also involved with McGill Engineering’s Electric Snowmobile project, one of many student design team initiatives that receive support from Alma Mater Fund gifts.

As POWE Vice-President, she worked to encourage girls and young women to enroll in technical programs like engineering.

POWE annually takes more than 100 high school and junior college (CEGEP) students on tours of McGill Engineering laboratories, introduces them to professors and organizes mini design team competitions.

“Everyone in POWE is a type of role model,” she says. “If young girls don’t see women’s faces in engineering schools, they may think they shouldn’t apply, but if they don’t enroll you’ll obviously have fewer women in engineering. We’re here in large part to prevent that self-fulfilling prophecy from occurring.”

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