John Sun
2018 Gold Medal for Academic Achievement
Graduated in 2018 from York University, specializing in Space Systems Engineering

Mohammed Kagalwala’s fascination with engineering began at a young age. He recalls drawing pictures of the inside of space shuttles and building model rockets with Pepsi bottles. He found inspiration in revolutionary individuals Leonardo Da Vinci and Elon Musk. His interest in design continued into high school, where he found enjoyment in classes such as auto shop and woodshop. Consequently, when it came time enter university, Space Systems Engineering at York University seemed like the perfect fit. Serving as the Structure and Thermal Lead for the Canadian Satellite Design Team allowed him to further explore his passion while at York.

Kagalwala appreciates the recognition he received from being awarded the Engineers Foundation Gold Medal. He saw it as a valuable stepping stone for other opportunities, as well as a motivation to pursue new milestones. He sums up the feeling as, “If I could win this I know I can that.”

He cites his determination as something he believes will serve him well as he transitions from his program to his professional career. It was this quality that helped him complete his program in four years, still finishing with the highest GPA in his class. He believes it was this and his work ethic which made the heavy workload manageable.

In the future, Kagalwala hopes to work in a setting where he can work hands-on. Additionally, he hopes to collaborate with others, as he has done during his program. His advice for aspiring engineers: “Keep trying. A lot of people come to this program and switch out when their grades aren’t where they want. Doing well in engineering is not just based on grades; a lot of has to do with experience as well. Grades alone don’t define you as an engineer.”