Nov. 2, 2021
Class of 2021: 6 questions with Joel Wong
This is part of series of articles where we asked the fall cohort of the class of 2021 to reflect on their time at the university and share what they learned and loved about their time here. For more student responses, visit Congratulations, Class of 2021.
Joel Wong graduated with a combined Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and computer science in fall 2021. He took a few minutes to answer our questions about his time at the University of Calgary.
What advice would you give yourself on your first day of your university studies?
I highly recommend talking to professors directly to learn more about subjects you are interested in. Make sure to also get involved in student organizations and meet new people from a diverse set of backgrounds. That said, ensure you balance these pursuits with maintaining your health and wellness.
Is there a project, discovery or moment from your time at the university that you are most proud of?
A series of projects and initiatives shaped my university experience. If I had to choose just one project, I would say I am most proud of being part of a group that planned and executed a solar energy system installation in an off-grid community of 150 people in Peru. We applied what we learned in university to directly help people!
Other important projects included multiple design courses, organizing and delivering presentations about technical topics as well as social and environmental issues, leading a program to develop devices for people living with disabilities, industry internships, and simply meeting people with different perspectives.
Tell us about one person who supported you through your studies and powered you along the way.
Throughout my degree, several professors and upper-year students have graciously shared their academic and industry knowledge. They provided guidance when I ran into challenges in organizations where I was a leader, helped me develop and supported my career goals, and acted as exceptional role models. These include Dr. Denis Onen, Dr. Mohammad Moshirpour, Dr. Hamid Zareipour and Keith van der Meulen, along with many others.
What was the most unexpected or surprising thing you learned in your studies at the University of Calgary?
I’d say that the most important lesson I learned during university was the value that science, technology, engineering and mathematics can bring to our society and my passion for using technology for social good. By getting involved in different organizations, I also developed better leadership, problem-solving and public speaking skills, strengthened my work ethic, and gained a better understanding of business and economics, amongst many other lessons.
What is your favourite physical space on campus? When you come back to visit in years to come, where will you make sure to stop by?
The ICT building is my favourite place on campus. Throughout my degree, I spent a lot of time in its study spaces, labs and classrooms. Also, as an electrical engineering and computer science student, many of my professors had offices there. Other spaces that stand out are the Engineering building for its labs, classrooms and common spaces, and Taylor Family Digital Library for its study spaces.
Now what? What’s your next big move?
I'll be working full time as a software developer for Amazon Web Services (AWS) starting this winter! I'll be developing products focused on cloud and distributed computing with primary applications in the media and entertainment industry. I interned at AWS during university and am happy to be returning to the team which I interned with. While the products I will be working on have many applications, I'm particularly excited about how animation studios around the world use our products to produce digital content for TV shows and movies.