June 25, 2020

Class of 2020: From engineering undergrad to Rhodes Scholar

Manpreet Deol attributes her success to a great support network

Manpreet Deol will soon be taking her own best advice for succeeding as a post-secondary student, as the Rhodes Scholar crosses the ocean to start classes at the University of Oxford.

With a list of academic achievements capped by the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, you might expect this mechanical engineering graduate to extol the virtues of hitting the books, and delving deep into an all-work, anti-social educational regime. But no.

When asked her best advice for brand-new engineering students, the Schulich Leaders Scholarship winner says there is nothing more important for success than a supportive network of friends.

“Going into university, I was siphoned into thinking that academics were the be-all-end-all. In the last few years, I can’t emphasize how much this belief has shifted,” says Deol, who was just named Engineering Student of the Year by the Engineering Institute of Canada.

“If I could go back and give myself advice in that first year, it would be the importance of all-round success and building a network of friends who share similar passions.”

Long list of activities and achievements

Even prior to the Rhodes award (one of two UCalgary students to take the prize in 2019, the other being Cumming School of Medicine student Emily Boucher), Deol was heavily involved in life outside of the classroom at Schulich School of Engineering.

Deol held a series of student leadership positions, competed in an array of national and international engineering competitions, and spent a year as an intern with Garmin Canada as part of their innovation team creating fitness wearables.

Named 2020 Distinguished Undergraduate by the UCalgary’s Women’s Resource Centre, Deol launched an online platform to give individuals with disabilities a safe place to connect, while working as a mentor with the Women in Science and Engineering Club, Special Olympics Canada and Best Buddies.

Helping others a highlight

One of Deol’s favourite memories, amidst so many impressive accomplishments, was the teamwork that went into her final engineering capstone project.

“One highlight was working with a fantastic team on my engineering capstone project. Three friends and I self-proposed a tremor stabilization device for individuals living with neurological movement disorders,” says Deol.

“We wanted something that would not only be a challenging undertaking from which we could learn but would also have a meaningful impact.”

Celebrate the engineering Class of 2020 with us.