By Jaclyn Chandler

Following her graduation with a Master of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering in spring 2020, Francesca Tsimiklis is currently working as a Patent Examiner with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, a division of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. As well, she continued to be involved with the Glebe Centre and its COVID-19 efforts, working for them during the summer after her graduation to co-ordinate family visits during the pandemic.

Originally from Sudbury, Ont., Francesca Tsimiklis first visited Carleton University on a March Break tour with her mother. Drawn to Carleton for the uniqueness of the Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering program, Tsimiklis quickly fell in love with the sense of community and tight knit atmosphere. She decided to make Ottawa her new home, and graduated with a Bachelor of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering in 2016, followed by a Master of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2020.

Coming to Ottawa from a small town, Tsimiklis was eager to meet new people and find a sense of belonging. An avid volunteer in her high school days, Tsimiklis was immediately drawn to the variety of volunteer groups available at Carleton. At first, Tsimiklis looked to volunteerism as a way to engage with her peers, but throughout her tenure on campus, she developed an extensive resumé of impressive and impactful volunteer initiatives.

Mechanical Engineering Graduate Wins Board of Governors Award for Outstanding Community Achievement

Francesca Tsimiklis

For her contribution to both the Carleton and Ottawa communities, Tsimiklis was presented with the 2019/20 Board of Governors Award for Outstanding Community Achievement.

Over the course of her eight years at Carleton, Tsimiklis focused much of her volunteer efforts on the engineering community on campus. She was an active member in the Carleton University Biomedical Engineering Society, participated in the faculty’s mentorship program, and worked as a tour guide for Engineering Outreach and Recruitment. However, she found her passion in advocating for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

A Lifelong Interest in Science

“From a young age I have always been interested in the sciences, and it was my mom that encouraged me and told me it was not something I should be nervous to pursue,” stated Tsimiklis. “There is a stigma and gender bias towards women in science. So, when I came to campus and saw that I was one of the only girls in my classes, I knew that I wanted to encourage others to envision their careers as engineers or as an engineering student at Carleton.”

Tsimiklis was a part of the Carleton University Women in Science and Engineering Carleton Chapter program, and also volunteered as a panel member for GoEngGirl where she spoke to a large audience of young women and inspired them to pursue a career in STEM.

Francesca Tsimiklis (centre) and the Carleton University Crash Dummy team

Francesca Tsimiklis (centre) and the Carleton University Crash Dummy team

In addition to her lifelong interest in science, Tsimiklis also considers music to be a passion. She has been a violinist since the age of five, and was eager to bridge the gap between engineering and music for her master’s thesis.

“There are a vast number of musicians and music students who get injured because their technique is improper or from overuse, and it’s to a point where students can’t graduate because of their injuries,” stated Francesca.

“So for my thesis I have developed a piano key with sensors to measure the forces of position when you touch a piano key. With this project, we can know if someone is pushing too hard or if there is some type of high injury posture.”

Volunteering in Ottawa

While completing her master’s degree, Tsimiklis had additional time on her hands, and wanted to expand the scope of her volunteering initiatives to the Ottawa community. Almost by chance, she came across an art show presented by a local nursing home and decided to check it out. From there, she connected with the Glebe Centre’s volunteer co-ordinator and became involved in a number of musical therapy programs at the facility. Among other responsibilities, Tsimiklis assisted the centre’s music therapist in a weekly group session and guided residents through a “Music and Memory” program where individuals were asked to listen to specific playlists and discuss emotions and memories linked to each song.

“The Glebe Centre is a long-term care facility and mainly focused on those suffering from dementia, so there is a wide range of needs and care that is required for residents who are there,” explained Tsimiklis.

“It was really nice to give back outside of the Carleton community and see the impact I can have there.”

Now that Tsimiklis’ time as a Carleton student has ended, she wants to remind present and future Ravens that volunteering can enhance their university experience and help students find their fit at Carleton.

“That sense of community is the biggest thing for me. If you are interested in participating in a group, just go for it – you can give as little or as much time as you can, but any step you can make could really make an impact on one student and change their whole Carleton experience.”

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Thursday, June 18, 2020 in , , , ,
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