Ellen Van Wijngaarden
2018 Entrance Scholarship
Second year student at York University, specializing in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Ellen van Wijngaarden realized her passion for engineering at the age of eleven, when she read about a chemical engineer from the University of Toronto who worked to eliminate nutrition deficiencies in third world countries. This demonstrated the positive impact engineers can have on society, inspiring her from a young age. She describes her father, who encouraged her love of science and mathematics, as her greatest role model.

Ellen finds extra-curricular activities to be the best opportunity to grow as an engineering student. She is a part of the Engineering Society, the Mechanical Engineering Club, and Engineers Without Borders. The significance of the work Engineers Without Borders does to make a positive impact in the world is particularly important to her.

Receiving the Entrance Scholarship provided both a sense of relief and excitement for van Wijngaarden. It provided the motivation and assurance for her to persist in her program and took off a bit of the financial burden that weighs students down. She describes how she was able to focus more on her studies and extracurricular activities and less on working to afford her education.

Expanding her knowledge following graduation is something Ellen envisions for herself. She also aspires to become a licensed engineer and considers it to be a major milestone which would culminate all the effort she has put in.

From her experience becoming acclimated to her program, Ellen offers this piece of advice to students entering their first year. “Get involved. There is so much out there in the field of engineering. That’s what opens up opportunities and makes everything you learn worthwhile.”