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VIDEO: Dustin Brennan: Master's Candidate in Civil Engineering

Learn more about the Department of Civil Engineering at Queen's and Graduate Studies at Queen's.


Video Transcript:


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

dynamic loads.

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.