Humber students strike engineering gold

by | Nov 22, 2012 | News

By Andrew Schopp

Two Humber students in the electromechanical engineering program have won gold at the 2012 WorldSkills Americas competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Students David Da Costa, Zachary Piskun and faculty member Neal Mohammed competed on Team Canada, winning gold in the Mechatronics category on Sunday.

“I think it’s really great. It’s a great experience for them, a great experience for the faculty who went down.” said Denis Devin-Li, dean of the School of Applied Technology.

The four-day competition tasked participants from 20 countries with solving various challenges using different disciplines of engineering.

David Da Costa, Neal Mohammed, and Zachary Piskun in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

According to the World Skills Americas competition website competitors had only 20 hours to overcome a series of challenges “with the greatest possible perfection.”

It was a tough challenge, Devin-Li said.

“What they (had) to do is put together a program that runs an automated unit. So they take a lot of different disciplines and put them together to solve a problem. They are given a problem and a set of schematics and they have to figure it out and design it and test it at the end so there is even safety involved and timing.”

Devin-Li said this is the first year Canada has fielded a team in the competition.

“This is the first time it has ever been done with Canada competing and I think it was driven by Neal and his group winning the national gold and being invited by Festo Pneumatics which is a company sponsoring the competition in Brazil,” she said. The Canadian award came in May at the Skills Canada National Competition in  Edmonton

In Brazil, Team Canada took home nine medals: five gold, two silver, and two bronze. They were ranked third overall.

“This was Canada’s first time sending a Canadian Team to the WorldSkills Americas, and we couldn’t be more proud”, said Shaun Thorson, CEO of Skills Canada, in a press release “These talented young individuals, who represent the future of Canada’s skilled trade and technology workforce, competed alongside the best of the best from the Americas. We couldn’t be more pleased of their efforts and their success,” she said.

Watch: Opening Ceremony of WorldSkills Americas 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.