Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Department of Mathematics and Statistics

All-female Engineering Student Team nets Top Prize at Project Management Conference


All-female Engineering Student Team nets Top Prize at Project Management Conference
From left to right: Sarah de Lazzari, Tiffanie Bankosky, Serena Corscadden,
Kathryn Instrum

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Engineering students Tiffanie Bankosky, Serena Corscadden, Sarah de Lazzari and Kathryn Instrum arrived at the 2018 International Project Management Day in Toronto ready for most things. They came to compete in a paper competition for project management professionals and students. But they weren’t quite ready for the first question they were asked on arriving at the venue…“are you sure you’re in the right place?”

By the end of the day they had answered with a resounding “yes”, beating out other students and professionals to take the 2018 prize. Their team was the youngest in the competition.

Their journey began at the Bader International Study Centre, where all 4 took a course in Global Project Management last summer. The intensive course teaches the principles of project management and challenges students to think about how engineering operates within global cultures. The 4 students – Tiffanie from Engineering Physics, Serena and Kathryn from Math and Engineering, and Sarah from Mechanical Engineering – worked as a team to examine lessons learned from the clean up of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The course sparked their interest in project management, and the team submitted a paper to the project management paper competition.

At the November 1 conference in Toronto, they presented their paper to an audience of project management professionals - a somewhat daunting task. They credit preparation and open communication within the team as keys to their success. During the question period at the end of their presentation, they trusted the research they had done, and gauged the right depth of answer by watching other teams. Humour helped them connect with the audience. Asked about their recollection of the 2010 tragedy, Tiffanie pointed out that she had only been 10 when it happened!

The team’s astute analysis of the failings around the clean up, and their assured presentation style, earned them a $2,000 prize as well as valuable opportunities to meet people working in project management. The team highly recommend BISC and the global project management course to other students. While in the UK they were introduced to recruiters at prominent companies like Hatch and Goldman Sachs. They also appreciated the chance to work closely with professors in small classes.

The summer experience and the competition have been some of the highlights of these students’ experiences, along with being an orientation leader and enjoying challenging academic programs. They hope that their success will inspire girls to try engineering, where they are thriving.

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