media release

Popular engineering program spawns first grads

October 05, 2011

Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017/3210;

Sunny Sandhu
Photo on Flickr

Lists of graduates/hometowns:

Simon Fraser University’s popular Mechatronics Systems Engineering (MSE) program has produced its first crop of graduates.

The 24 students, who as the inaugural class have shared everything from sumo-wrestling robot battles to helping in the design of clean energy initiatives, will celebrate their undergraduate degrees at Fall Convocation on Oct. 6.

The MSE program combines studies in mechanical, electronics, software and computer engineering that can be applied to a wide range of industries, including automotive, manufacturing, robotics, biomedical and many others.

“The integration of these three engineering fields is beneficial in a rapidly growing high tech world and marketplace that demands more efficient and simpler ways of doing things,” says program associate director Farid Golnaraghi.

Based at SFU’s Surrey campus and one of the first undergraduate programs of its kind in North America, it has also become one of the campus’s most popular. Since starting up in 2007 demand for the MSE program has tripled, while the intake of undergrads has risen from 85 to a program cap of 120.

The fresh grads are students like 22-year-old Sunny Sandhu of Surrey, who grew up with an early fascination of how things work. “I’ve always been keenly interested in taking things apart and putting them back together,” says Sandhu, whose family moved to Surrey from Bahrain when he was six. His father, a tradesman, inspired his inquisitive nature and instilled a desire to pursue his interest in the field.

He hopes to create his own startup business and work as a consultant.

Coquitlam’s Etienne Naugle hopes to find a job in sub-sea or extraterrestrial exploratory vehicle engineering. He is also interested is unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and was involved in forming SFU’s UAV team.

During the intensive four-year program students take part in three co-op terms. Sandhu spent one at Hungary’s Budapest University of Technology and Economics. There he developed hockey-playing robotic systems, which provide the basis for a variety of robotic applications, such as the control and coordination of unmanned vehicles.

“MSE students are encouraged to conceive, design and develop products in collaboration with industry,” says Golnaraghi. And for a select few, there is now a double Business and Mechatronics degree program offering some a chance to land jobs that require more business-end knowledge.

Several of the newly minted grads have also been involved with MSE’s quarter car-shaker project, which harvests energy from a car’s own suspension system to power itself. The SFU team is working with Maple Ridge’s Future Vehicle Technologies to refine the system.


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