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A Family of Engineers
Brothers Scott, Jordan, and Mark Mitchell were your average Canadian kids growing up. They loved the outdoors and spent countless hours playing road hockey, going skiing and building things. Fast-forward to present day, and the recent Queen’s grads have already begun to make an impact in the world of engineering.
Mark is a project manager with Hatch Ltd, and recently worked with the Toronto Transit Commission to create a 3D map of the city’s subway tunnels. Jordan works at RockMass Technologies and will be flying to Shenzhen China in the fall to collaborate with a startup accelerator. Scott is on pace to complete a dual degree in chemical engineering and economics by the end of fall 2017.
The Mitchell brothers from left to right, Mark, Jordan and Scott
When asked how their common interest in engineering came to be, all three brothers make it clear that their childhood and early exposure to science played a big role.
“The fact that our parents never bought us a video game console allowed us to spend a lot of our time outside,” says Scott.
Throughout elementary school, the brothers developed a passion for the sciences, partaking in various science project-based competitions across Canada. Mark, the eldest of the three, was introduced to basic engineering concepts through a high school teacher, sparking a realization that he could transfer his passion for science to a degree in engineering.
After touring numerous schools and carefully considering multiple offers of acceptance, Mark decided on Queen’s University.
"Queen's seemed like a place where students could be both academically and socially successful," he says. “The engineering program had a real sense of community.”
Mark, the first of his family to attend Queen's, graduated in 2013 with a degree in electrical engineering. In his third and fourth year, he lived in a house with nine other engineering students. “It was an amazing experience since we were our own instant party, but all of us understood the rigours of the engineering program and were able to support each other.”
“Queen’s was some of the best years of my life,” he says. “When new or prospective university students ask for advice I tell them that your studies are important, but you are never going to be surrounded by this many, young, smart and driven people. The social aspect of university is just as important.”
Mark’s stories of orientation week and the challenging, but stimulating academic programs resonated with his younger brothers, Jordan and Scott, compelling them to experience it for themselves.
In elementary school Jordan had a pretty good idea of where he wanted to go to university after attending an outreach program for middle school students at Queen’s called Seven Eight Enrichment Days (SEEDS).
“In Grade 8 I partook in the SEEDS program,” he says. “I got to stay overnight in a residence, get familiar with the campus, and start exploring science through fun experiments. SEEDS propelled my interest in science and gave me the opportunity to become familiar with the university.”
Jordan completed his undergraduate degree in mining engineering in 2015 and continued on to his Master's, which he finished this summer. His Master’s project, involved the design of an unmanned aerial vehicle and use of light detection and ranging technology (LiDAR).
“My time at Queen’s has been amazing,” he says. “I’ve been lucky to have such amazing mentors and teachers throughout my undergrad in the mining program. Although I’m graduating and Queen’s will be in my rear-view mirror, I would love to come back later in life to mentor students and continue to be a part of Queen’s anyway that I can.”
For Scott, the youngest of the three, attending Queen’s engineering seemed like a no-brainer. He shared his older brothers’ enthusiasm for engineering and was influenced by their positive experiences.
While at Queen’s, Scott was a FREC, a Science Quest instructor, and a volunteer at Kingston General Hospital (KGH). He spent his summers holding various internships at organizations such as Mackenzie Investments, the University of Toronto and Hatch Ltd., where he further developed his understanding of engineering and gained experience working on research-based projects.
“I recommend that students try to get involved as much as they can while in university,” he says. “It will only open up more opportunities and learning experiences.”
His decision to complete a dual degree in chemical engineering and economics stemmed from his passions for both finance and engineering.
“I have always been interested in engineering and business, almost enrolling in Queen’s Commerce,” he says. “I find they are two very complementary disciplines and that my dual degree has provided me with a diverse educational experience that I can apply throughout my career.”
Although Scott, Mark and Jordan are focusing on forging a path in their respective industries, the possibility of them working together in the future seems likely.
“When our grandfather heard that all three of us were becoming engineers, he said we should start a company,” says Mark. “You never know what the future holds and I wouldn’t be surprised if we all ended up working together in some respect.”
– by James Hubay, FEAS Communications Intern