News & Events
VIDEO: Dustin Brennan: Master's Candidate in Civil Engineering
My name is Dustin Brennan.
I'm Master's student studying structures in
civil engineering under the supervision of Dr Amir Fam.
After finishing my year off, went to the University
of Ottawa, where I studied Civil Engineering with
a focus on structures and geotechnical engineering
and then when I graduated from the University
of Ottawa, it was actually in my fall semester
that another professor came into my class and
told us about graduate studies.
The deadlines were coming up and stuff like that.
When I heard about that, I knew that I wanted to
do something more than just have an undergraduate
degree so I decided to my Master's.
It didn't take me very long to look through
professors in the area of the discipline
that I wanted to look into and I found Dr
Fam pretty quickly. I just sent him an email.
It was pretty easy. He replied to me and
it was that simple. It was just, I read a couple
of his papers and I knew that I wanted to do
what he was doing research in and he liked me
so he took me on.
I treat it a lot more like a nine-to-five job
whereas when I was doing my undergrad
I was working sort of weird hours, sleeping in
and staying up late.
Now usually I come in at nine and leave at five.
I'm a lot less stressed out to be honest.
In my undergrad there were a lot of deadlines
and stuff like that. With a Master's is sort of like
I'm my own boss.
They told me when I started here that I am
my own project manager.
I'm actually using the new moving load
simulator, so it's a big machine that mimics
vehicle loads on bridge components.
So, what that induces is fatigue in the structure
so I'm studying the fatigue of pre-stressed
concrete beams or bridge superstructures under
Definitely go and do some research on your
Find out what kind of research you want
to be doing and go and try to locate some of
the professors who are in that field.
Also, try to find a professor you can get along with.
I've been given that advice in the past and more
and more I'm seeing that's one of the most important
things about it, is that you've got to find someone
you can agree with and that you can be personable with.
When I started, I was worried that I wasn't going to have
enough money to participate.
But you get paid as a master's of applied science student
and also I was able to get OSAP.
I got a little bit of OSAP and I get a monthly paycheque
which is great and so on top of that Queen's gives
you a graduate scholarship.
So, in combination - OSAP, scholarship and pay -
I'm doing all right. I'm actually not in any financial crises.