June 12, 2018

Schulich master's student one of just 10 Canadians to win 3M Fellowship

Alexandra Meikleham earns prestigious prize for focus on engineering education worldwide
Alexandra Meikleham
Alexandra Meikleham

A engineer who helps make great engineers.

That’s Alexandra Meikleham’s blueprint for a future career, and the University of Calgary student’s devotion to improving engineering education around the world has earned her a 2018 3M National Student Fellowship, a prestigious award given to just 10 post-secondary students in Canada each year.

“She will be one of the leaders who will shape the future of engineering,” says Dr. Laleh Behjat, PhD, who in her capacity as a professor wrote the letter advocating Meikleham for the award. 

Past valedictorian now a Schulich master's student

Meikleham, who was valedictorian of her engineering class at Concordia University, is now working towards her master’s degree at the Schulich School of Engineering, with a thesis focused on engineering education. She’s aiming for a career where she can employ engineering design and hands-on education to help young engineers understand the global impact of their work.

The mechanical and manufacturing engineering grad student, who has been active in promoting diversity in STEM, calls the 3M fellowship a humbling recognition.

“It is an incredible honour to be included in this year’s 3M National Student Fellows Cohort,” says Meikleham. “I am thankful to have been supported by a solid group of mentors and champions, without whom I would have been lost.”

Credits professor with opportunity to study education

Meikleham credits Dr. Ron Hugo, PhD, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and Li Ka Shing Foundation Chair in Engineering Education Innovation, with creating the opportunity to study engineering education at the University of Calgary.

“There are few schools in Canada that are leading in the area of engineering education research and UCalgary is really at the forefront,” explains Meikleham. “My work is only possible because there’s a strong support network here, and I’ve been incredibly impressed with my graduate student experience.”

Award is for students who demonstrate leadership

The 3M National Student Fellowship, sponsored by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, is awarded to full-time students at Canadian post-secondary institutions who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their lives, at their post-secondary institution.

“These students embrace a vision of education that enhances their academic experience and beyond,” states the release announcing this year’s winning fellows.

Meikleham was awarded the fellowship for her work on collaboration and communication in learning, and was lauded by 3M for her efforts to improve educational processes and advance engineering practice: “She has created project-based learning experiences which develop professional skills in tandem with technical acumen and is an advocate for the advancement of responsible and ethical practice in engineering, having collaborated with institutions across Canada to establish and implement the Global Engineering Initiative in partnership with Engineers without Borders.”