Skip to main content

Soroush M. Jafaryvahed

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Mechatronic Systems Engineering

empty
white windmills against a beautiful sunset
Credit
RawFilm on Unsplash
It’s important to remember that just because we are students, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make a lasting impact on an organization. The trick is to always aim higher and work hard.

I am a fourth-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) at SFU. I had the opportunity to do my co-op with Ballad Power Systems where I worked in two drastically different engineering roles over the course of sixteen months. In 2017, Ballard became the first fuel cell company to power buses for more than ten million cumulative kilometers of revenue service.  The vision at Ballard Power is to be the leading global provider of innovative clean energy solutions offering superior performance at a reduced operating cost.

My education at SFU provided me with sufficient theoretical knowledge to make positive contributions to the organization as a co-op student in terms of improving product reliability, maintainability, and performance. What made working at Ballard so enjoyable is that its focus on offering smarter solutions for a clean energy future coincided with my own desire to solve energy and environment-centric issues.

Soroush in his uniform caring for the plants

During my first eight months as a Test Engineer, I developed skills in data analysis, effective troubleshooting, and mechanical thinking.  I was mainly responsible for aspects of performance evaluation, robustness, accelerated stress, and durability testing on the next generation fuel cell stacks for use in automotive power applications. This experience challenged both my technical and personal skills and significantly enhanced my knowledge about fuel cell systems and their dynamics. In terms of interpersonal abilities, I improved my written and oral communication skills by documenting test plans and procedures and preparing test reports to present results and recommendations to internal and external clients. Ballard’s innovative advancements in a wide range of stationary power distribution units and ‘motive power’ clean energy solutions such as hybrid buses, inspired me to pursue a co-op with Ballard for the second time. This position echoed my goals in the engineering profession and provided me with an excellent opportunity to expand my technical knowledge.

My second eight-month position at Ballard as a controls/electrical engineer exposed me to many technical details in software design and validation, high voltage and low voltage electrical design, and generating complex system requirements. While originally, I was only responsible for troubleshooting and resolving issues with the existing controls software for commercial fuel cell modules used in hybrid buses around the globe, my responsibilities progressively expanded to implementing and designing new features such as more reliable and robust control strategies. Dealing with new responsibilities is always overwhelming but I learned that creating a schedule, staying organized and asking for help when needed can make it all possible.

A few months later, I became more comfortable with my tasks as a controls engineer, which allowed me to get involved in electrical system design and verification rather than just focusing on software development. In addition to my existing duties, I also became responsible for selecting and testing electrical components and developing requirements for overall system design. Collaborating with test engineers, component and system design engineers, researchers, and applications engineers on a daily basis was a rewarding experience that provided me with unique insights in the field of engineering.

My main goal throughout each of my co-op terms has been to challenge myself and learn something new every day. I successfully achieved this goal by always trying to seek out new projects and challenges rather than passively waiting for tasks to be assigned to me. It’s important to remember that just because we are students, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make a lasting impact on an organization. The trick is to always aim higher and work hard.

Beyond the Blog

  • To learn more about opportunities for Mechatronic Systems Engineering students visit the Engineering Science Co-op homepage.

About the Author

Soroush M. Jafaryvahed

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Soroush is a fourth-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) at SFU. Connect with Soroush M. Jafaryvahed on LinkedIn.

You Might Like These... During the Work Term, Professional Development, Workplace Success, Workplace Transition, Communication

Co-op coordinator wth student during site visit
Make the Most of Your Co-op Site Visits

Your Co-op Coordinator, supervisor, and you in the same room -- time for a site visit! Co-op site visits are a time for reflection on your work term including what could be improved and what has been great so far.

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

A woman fast asleep
Sleeping for Success at Work!

The days of pulling all nighters and getting by on 2-3 hours sleep are over! Getting enough sleep is essential to ensure you can keep up with the demands of a fulltime work schedule and put forth your best performance.

white windmills against a beautiful sunset
library_books
Blog
Saving the Environment - One Co-op at a Time!
Workplace Success, Co-op Reflections, Sustainability

Soroush Jafaryvahed set out to learn something new every day on his co-op with Ballard Power. The experience taught him that just because you are only with a company a short time, as as student, doesn’t mean that you can’t make a lasting impact.

You Might Like These... During the Work Term

Co-op coordinator wth student during site visit
Make the Most of Your Co-op Site Visits

Your Co-op Coordinator, supervisor, and you in the same room -- time for a site visit! Co-op site visits are a time for reflection on your work term including what could be improved and what has been great so far.

michael sitting next to the computer
The Marathon of the Service Desk: A First Nations Health Authority Co-op Experience

Do you enjoy working with computers? Do you find the idea of solving puzzles to be exhilarating? Do you want to help people get introduced to the world of computers? If so, perhaps a Service Desk Analyst will be a perfect fit for you. Follow SIAT student, Michael Sandrin, in his first occupational adventure: working as a Service Desk Analyst for the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).

Diary of a Marketing Co-op: Site Visit
Site Visit

In this segment of Diary of a Marketing Co-op, I look back at the need to be assertive to meet never-ending deadlines and how to balance this with the ability to know when to go with the flow.