The #PoweredByPeople series returns to highlight those who shape our organization and make the world a better place. Our newest team member Aileen Maynard discusses how her recent capstone project involved preventing harm to whales navigating around ships.
What is your background and why did you choose to be an engineer?
After high school, I decided to go to UBC for a BSc in Animal Biology with a minor in Psychology. I was really interested in the material, but I realized that the jobs associated with this degree were not ones where I saw myself; I wanted something more hands-on, where I could apply creative thinking and see projects through from inception to implementation.
This career goal led me to the BCIT’s ECET program from which I graduated with a B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering before joining the team here at Hedgehog Technologies.
Describe a project that you are proud of.
As part of my B.Eng. requirements, I completed a capstone project. My teammates and I built a Real-Time Orca Detection System. The system works by detecting orcas in the vicinity of boats and alerting the ship crew to their presence, working to reduce whale ship strikes.
I am proud of what we created, both for the technological aspects as well as the personal ones. On the technological side, our system was built around machine learning, a branch of AI that none of us had worked with before. We were able to learn the technology and leverage it to create a successful product. Personally, I was proud of the fact that I was able to tie aspects of my past studies in animal biology into my new field of engineering. Our system was designed to protect whales, namely the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. I felt good about creating a product with a sustainable focus.
What are your personal interests?
Outside of work I enjoy crosswords, reading, and traveling. Living in BC, I like to take advantage of the great outdoors, whether I am snowboarding, hiking, or just relaxing at the beach. But most of all, I love food. It can be a way of treating yourself or connecting with others. From eating to baking to cooking, food is one of the greatest joys of life.
What is your professional interest?
I am most keen on learning as many facets of electrical engineering as possible. I have really enjoyed contributing as we support our clients across a variety of projects from solar arrays to amusement rides. I do look forward to working on more renewable projects, as I think that is one of the most important fields today and a direction all businesses should be considering as they futureproof new projects.
Any advice for up-and-coming engineers?
Engage in lifelong learning. Seek out learning opportunities, but also be receptive to new experiences. You never know from whom or where you will learn something. If you stay open to expanding your knowledge, you will continue to grow as a person and as an engineer.
We will return in the coming weeks to shine a spotlight on more of the people who inject energy and passion into our team.
Stay connected with Hedgehog Technologies on LinkedIn and Twitter