ESSCO looking to increase support to undergraduate students

Ontario’s student engineering society is focusing on engineers of tomorrow by increasing support to the engineering undergraduate community during the 2018–2019 school year.

At an August 13 planning meeting with PEO’s outreach and engagement team, the executive team representatives of the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario (ESSCO) discussed their “engineers of tomorrow” theme and four initiatives for the upcoming school year: high school outreach, tuition, mental health and university curriculum. The PEO-ESSCO Student Conference taking place on November 2 to 4 in Oshawa, Ontario was also discussed. The conference—which is still in its planning stages but quickly taking shape—will give students from the organization’s 15 schools a chance to network with each other as well as industry, education and government representatives.

ESSCO is an association of engineering societies from 15 Ontario universities and colleges, and although PEO sponsors ESSCO, the two organizations have a symbiotic relationship, with PEO and ESSCO equally advocating for and promoting each other’s organizations.

This year’s ESSCO team includes President Ivan Zvonkov, a software engineering student at Western University; Vice President of Communications Julian Faita, a mechanical engineering student at Ryerson University; Vice President of Finance and Administration Santiago Vera, a biotechnology engineering student at McMaster University; Vice President of Services Logan McFadden, an aerospace engineering student at Carleton University; Provincial Counselor Jocelyn Lee, a civil engineering and psychology student at McMaster University; and Conference Chair Gabriel Pizarro, an electrical engineering student at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Representing PEO at the August 13 meeting were Manager of Engineering Intern Programs Tracey Caruana, P.Eng., EIT/Student Programs Coordinator Sami Lamrad, EIT, and Manager of Government Liaison Programs Jeanette Chau, P.Eng.

This year, ESSCO’s annual student survey will focus on the ability of the engineering student to complete a degree and find work in the engineering field, despite a purported 5 per cent annual hike in tuition. ESSCO plans to outreach to Ontario high schools, with engineering students volunteering their time to teach high school students about engineering and the benefits of an engineering degree. The team also plans to create a report on mental health barriers affecting engineering students’ education. Networking events planned for the year include sporting and other events, which will allow students to network among each other.

Throughout the meeting, the PEO team provided the ESSCO executive team with organizational advice and support, while Caruana, Lamrad and Chau, advocating on behalf of PEO, suggested the ESSCO team promote the importance of PEO’s Student Membership Program (SMP) and licensure to engineering students.

PEO’s SMP ( is an ideal way to maintain contact between the regulator and engineering undergraduates in Ontario. The free program allows students to stay attuned to regulatory and licensing issues and maintains a firm connection to the province-wide professional engineering community. Currently, there are nearly 8400 undergraduates signed up with PEO’s SMP.