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February 22, 2018 9:33 AM

Conestoga welcomes Premier Wynne

Conestoga College’s Cambridge campus welcomed Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on February 15, 2018, as part of her provincial post-secondary tour. Joined by Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Mitzie Hunter, Wynne toured Conestoga’s School of Engineering and Information Technology speaking with students, researchers and faculty about the skills and innovation they contribute to the province.

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Premier Wynne, MPP Hunter and MPP McGarry speak with students in Conestoga's Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT) Food Lab.

Wynne spoke with students from team COBRA - Conestoga’s Baja race team - and four Mechanical Systems Engineering degree students who made up Conestoga’s Junior Design team at the Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC). Completing the Épreuve du Nord Baja competition earlier this month, team COBRA was the top Ontario finisher in the two-hour endurance race hosted by L’Universite de Laval. Baja is an off-road vehicle prototype built in accordance with specific criteria set out by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Four students in Conestoga’s Bachelor of Engineering - Mechanical Systems Engineering degree program will represent Ontario at the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC) after placing first in their challenge at the OEC in late January. Finishing ahead of teams from universities across the province, the students will once again compete in the Junior Design contest, this time among the most talented engineering students from across the country.

Wynne also spoke with students in Conestoga’s Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours) degree program. Showcasing current projects, students highlighted the program’s ability to prepare students to apply an integrated approach to interior design solutions for the built environment and its occupants, and to address technological challenges relating to sustainability, universal design, and health and safety. The program was recently awarded a six-year accreditation from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

The last stop on the tour included a look at the Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT) Pilot Plant and the Food Lab. The full-scale, small capacity pilot plant includes processing lines for baked products, fresh vegetables and beverages, and is the only training facility of its kind in Canada, designed specifically to meet industry’s need for increased competitiveness. In the Food Lab, Wynne spoke with students and researchers about current projects, including the use of spectroscopic imaging to evaluate beef tenderness to save time and product, and the use of cricket flour to create high-protein foods that benefit industry and the environment.  

Conestoga Packaging Engineering Technician student Jamie Zabarte was also on-hand in the lab to showcase a project that awarded her and project partner Adrian Sutherland a paid internship with a packaging innovation centre in Prague. Zabarte and Sutherland’s shoe box design submission was selected from more than 700 entries received from nearly 60 countries at the 2017 Young Package competition.

Before departing, Wynne, McGarry and Hunter took the time to answer questions from students in Conestoga’s Journalism program, and spoke with Aimee Calma, president of Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) and of the College Student Alliance (CSA), about provincial advocacy priorities for college students.

Conestoga is the only college in Ontario to deliver accredited engineering degree programs. The Mechanical Systems Engineering degree, accredited in 2010, and the Electronic Systems Engineering degree, accredited in 2014, both feature small classes, project-based learning and co-op work experience to prepare graduates for success in their chosen fields.

The Bachelor of Engineering - Building Systems Engineering program is the newest professional engineering degree offering in the School of Engineering and Information Technology and will be delivered at the honours level beginning September 2018.

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