Taking inspiration from Apple and SpaceX
By Melissa Nilan, Marketing and Communications
Photo by David Denofreo
Gurmaan Brar wants to be at the forefront of creating technology that changes our lives à la Apple and SpaceX. To achieve his goal, he’s pursuing a degree in engineering, with the Douglas College Engineering and Fabrication Technology Diploma as his first step.
Gurmaan’s future wasn’t always so bright. He got kicked out of high school, and had to work hard to catch up and get the grades to apply to post-secondary. But the experience left him unsure about continuing his education. He toyed with the idea of taking a year off, but ultimately, concerns about losing momentum changed his mind; he made a last-minute decision to apply to Douglas.
He hasn’t looked back.
Now in the second year of the program, Gurmaan is getting hands-on experience in the fabrication labs.
“You can create anything you want, there is so much equipment. I’ve made a planetary gear set, an electronic remote to power a Lego train we built, and headphone amplifiers that I reused in my car to boost the stereo bass,” says Gurmaan. “All this practical fabrication experience has given me a better understanding of how things work. It’s not something I would have gotten if I’d gone straight to a university program.”
When he graduates, Gurmaan will continue his engineering studies at the University of Victoria, taking advantage of a new transfer agreement that offers Douglas engineering students a guaranteed seat in the second year of the bachelor’s program.
Gurmaan chose UVic over one of the local universities because he felt it would have the same close-knit community atmosphere he’s enjoyed at Douglas. He says his classmates are always looking out for each other. The team environment was one of the many things that drew him to engineering in the first place.
“Engineering is a team-based profession,” says Gurmaan. “You need to be creative and good at problem-solving, but more importantly, you need to be able to connect with other people and communicate well.”
Once he graduates from UVic, the sky’s the limit.
“I want to be involved in a big engineering project that has a huge impact – like the iPhone or Falcon rockets. Something that changes people’s reality.”