In the month of September we interviewed Jesmine Koh, a chemical engineering undergrad minoring in sustainable energy at the University of Toronto.
BioTEC: As an international student, were there any unique aspects to your undergraduate application process?
Jesmine: The process was actually pretty simple, and not too different from the domestic student process. As an international student, I had to take my A-levels, and I only needed three Bs under that system to get into UofT. The program is quite competitive and securing a spot is difficult, but the process of applying itself was straightforward.
BioTEC: As a third-year engineering student, what does a day in your life currently look like?
Jesmine: It’s pretty packed, I have seven to eight hours of class each weekday and I attend all of them. This year especially, my coursework has become very dynamic as there’s a lot more team projects and group work in general.
As for what we learn, the problems we solve have become very open-ended, and I have been learning more about design and research as a part of the problem-solving process.
BioTEC: What inspired you to pursue sustainable energy as a part of your studies?
Jesmine: There is actually a particular energy company in my home country that I have secured a post-graduating role for. The company is working to transition to sustainable and renewable energy, as my country is quite reliant on non-renewable energy. My inspiration stems from my desire to develop renewable energy in my country, because it is the best way I can contribute to sustainability as a whole.
BioTEC: Is there anything you’ve learnt about your major since starting that you’d like to share?
Jesmine: I expected the level of difficulty and heavy workload that comes with engineering, but there is something that surprised me. I have learnt so much more than just how to study and acquire knowledge. My major has allowed me to develop skills like communication, critical thinking, and most importantly problem solving. It is something I really appreciate about my major.
BioTEC: How will your current studies contribute to your goals for the future?
Jesmine: While I am still unsure of where I see myself exactly in the future, I am definitely going to enter the energy industry and work to learn what a chemical engineer really is. Energy is a significant part of our environmental impact, and what I really want is to contribute to changing that. It is something chemical engineers will solve, so naturally it is why I am here.
BioTEC: Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. I hope you achieve your goals!