Governor General’s Silver Medal recipient strives to make a social impact through his engineering, AI and automation skills

June 22, 2021

By Rachel Mah

Ramy ElMallah has been destined to pursue a career in engineering.

His impressive academic achievement, participation in engineering competitions and involvement in leadership activities has led to a number of top awards over the years. However, the SFU mechatronics graduand didn’t discover his passion for engineering until he was in middle school.

ElMallah says the pivotal moment that sparked his curiosity was when he attended a national engineering competition as a student in his home country of Egypt. This evoked his interest in engineering and exposed him to the mechatronics, robotics, and automation engineering fields.

“I remember being inspired and thinking ‘this is what I want to do’ and that became my goal,” he says. “That one competition led to another, and so on, leading me to the path that I am on today.”

As his high school journey was coming to an end, ElMallah knew that he wanted to study abroad, specifically in Canada. Intrigued by the diversity of the faculty expertise and the unique opportunities for students to explore, he decided to apply to SFU’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering. During his studies, ElMallah was surprised at how the mechatronics program and SFU’s Surrey campus displayed a strong sense of community. He appreciated how the program was structured as a small cohort where students were able to work closely with their professors and classmates.

“It felt as if everyone knew each other,” says ElMallah. “This was unexpected but something I really appreciated during my time as a student at SFU.”

While at SFU, ElMallah has been heavily involved in a great deal of projects and extracurricular activities. As the Vice President of Professional Relations of the Mechatronic Systems Engineering Student Society, he was tasked with revitalising their career fair. He led the planning and launch of SystemsFair, which has become the largest tech-based career fair at SFU’s Surrey campus. Furthermore, ElMallah participated in the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program where he, along with his teammates, developed an autonomous shoe-care appliance designed primarily for members of the “sneakerhead” community. He has also worked with SFU’s Big Data Hub and the School of Engineering Science as a research assistant. In addition, he collaborated with mechatronics faculty to develop a software platform that is now being used in their teaching labs.

With the knowledge and skills that he has acquired, ElMallah aspires to make an impact and tackle major issues arising in our society. Specifically, he is interested in how automation and AI can be used to bring a positive change to the workforce.

“If we can use automation to free individuals from monotonous tasks, we can allow them to do more creative and meaningful work,” he says. 

Even with his extensive involvement in extracurricular and community activities, ElMallah managed to maintain an exceptional academic standing throughout his university journey, graduating with a GPA of 4.29/4.33. He has also received first place prizes at several engineering competitions as well as awards from organizations such Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the IEEE Vancouver Section. What is the secret to his success? He claims that it is all connected.

“The more involved you are, the more active you will be on campus and the more motivated you will become to study and achieve more,” he says. “It comes down to time management, setting priorities, and how you use your free time.” 

ElMallah will be receiving the Governor General’s Silver Medal during SFU’s June 2021 Virtual Convocation Ceremony. This award is given to two undergraduate students who achieve the highest scholastic standing upon graduation from a bachelor’s degree program.

“I was surprised and I felt delighted and inspired,” says ElMallah. “It was really a great honour for which I am grateful to everyone who was part of my experience at SFU.”

As for his next endeavours, ElMallah recently joined Motorola Solutions as an Embedded Software Engineer and plans to pursue graduate studies in the future.