Name: Mikie Allan
Program/Year: Mechatronic Systems Engineering & Ivey HBA
Hometown: St. John’s, Newfoundland
How did you get involved with Engineers Without Borders? What’s your position?
I had heard of EWB before I entered university and thought it sounded like a pretty neat club. I joined in my first year in November, and went to the National Conference in Toronto only two months later. That was what really got me hooked on what EWB stands for and what we do. I didn’t realize the organization was not just for engineers, and how EWB was so different from many organizations in the way the look at international development. The summer after first year I worked at the National Office in Food Systems and Fair Trade, and stayed in that portfolio at the chapter until this year where I’m currently the Western Chapter president.
How did you decide to do an internship in China? What did you enjoy most about your trip/program?
I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Cansbridge Fellowship, of which one component is an internship in Asia. I worked in Shenzhen in the economics department for an energy company building databases, data loading platforms, and creating automatic report generating platforms (read: computer stuff). It was a pretty amazing experience and it’s hard to say what enjoyed the most about my summer, so I’ll go with two. One was travelling with other Cansbridge Fellows and some friends to the neighbouring province of Guanxi and taking mopeds around the beautiful countryside. Another, was my trip to compete in the Shanghai Open with “Pride of Dongguan” Ultimate Frisbee team.
What made you choose Western?
I got a scholarship that required me to leave where I was from, but until that point I had never considered going anywhere other than the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). When I started looking into programs, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do business or engineering. Then my high school guidance counsellor told me about the dual engineering and business program at Western and the rest was history. Western was the only school I applied to!
What else do you do at Western?
I was an RA in second year. Now, EWB takes up most of my time but I’m also the chair of the Fair Trade Campus Steering Committee, the VP Finance for the newly created Rubik’s Cube Club, I’m an active member of the UWO SALSA club, and I’m a mentor in the Ivey Technology Club. I’m playing three intramurals this semester – Ultimate Frisbee, men’s volleyball, and co-ed volleyball, and have done inner tube water polo and basketball in the past. Lastly, I’m the campus ambassador for the Cansbridge Fellowship!
What other hobbies/talents do you have?
I love playing guitar and singing, and back in Newfoundland I also play an Irish instrument called the bouzouki. I suppose another hobby I have would be learning languages, but currently that’s not going super well (working on Mandarin…). I also spend time learning programming languages, and working on the ones I already somewhat know.
Do you have any mottos that you live by?
I like quotes, and try to live by three: – “Climb the mountain so that you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” – David McCullough Jr., and – “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.” – George Carlin – “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
Have a beer by a campfire with guitars and good people. Nothing beats a singsong by the fire.
Where is the best/last place you have travelled to?
After this past summer in China I travelled through Thailand and Laos for almost three weeks, and that was pretty awesome. That being said, I completely fell in love with Peru when I went there. I lived in Cusco for 3 months, and in the second half of July I did the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu then went to Bolivia and the Salt Flats. Both of these were breathtakingly beautiful. That being said, nothing will ever top Newfoundland for me.