Leading the way in engineering: How Grant Forgie set himself up for success with a DC education

Before finding his place at Durham College (DC), Grant Forgie was unsure which engineering discipline to study. He was driven by his passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, and wanted a program that offered versatility. Thankfully, he discovered DC’s Electromechanical Engineering Technology (EMTY) program, one that checked all the boxes and provided Grant the opportunity to pursue a meaningful career that interested him.

Now, after almost a year since graduating, we caught up with Grant to hear about his experience in the EMTY program, transition into the engineering industry, and the pivotal role practical hands-on education played in helping him obtain his current position as a Research and Development Technologist at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL).

What did you enjoy most about being a DC student?
I enjoyed the people at Durham College. My professors were passionate about the courses and this passion transferred to their students. They always took the time to ensure that the material given was easily digestible and provided real-world examples. My classmates were always willing to help and made my time at DC fun and memorable. I enjoyed the hands-on experience that the labs offered which allowed me to understand the material taught – I constantly apply the skills I learned at DC to my current role at CNL.

How did you land your current role at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories?
I first learned of CNL through one of my DC professors, Beau James, and applied as a graduate-level Research & Development Technologist. The hiring and recruitment process at CNL took almost 10 months but I was lucky enough to already be working in the industry, so the timeline wasn’t an issue. The hands-on experience I gained from the EMTY program at DC allowed me to competently discuss the technical aspects of the role and demonstrate my knowledge of complex tasks.

Can you describe the hands-on learning you received at DC?
The EMTY program provides hands-on, industry-relevant experience through lab sessions, projects, and practical exercises focused on programming and troubleshooting electromechanical systems, using industry-standard equipment and software. The hands-on experience included electrical installation and wiring inside of control panels, working in a manufacturing environment, experience using Fanuc industrial robot arms and conveyors inside of a work cell, SCADA software, and more.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I am with the Nuclear Safety Experiments Branch which carries out research and development projects on behalf of federal stakeholders, utility and vendors of the current reactor fleet and advanced reactor technologies. Typically, the work I perform would include the design, construction, operation, troubleshooting and maintenance of various experimental test apparatuses, instrumentation, equipment and facilities. I work with a team of Ph.D. researchers and technologists specializing in the field of advanced reactor safety experiments and analysis.

What would you say to someone considering taking the EMTY program?
EMTY is a great program that has allowed me the option to pursue a meaningful career that offers great potential for growth and learning. The EMTY program gives you the skills and knowledge that are applicable and sought out by many employers.

Is there anything about your student experience that you’d like to share?
As a student who started during the pandemic, I struggled with the transition from secondary school to a post-secondary environment. My professors and classmates made this transition a lot easier. I’d advise anyone going into post-secondary to focus on building relationships and taking full advantage of the real-world knowledge your professors bring.


Do you love working with your hands and have a passion for STEM?

DC’s EMTY program will impress you. Here are some newsworthy highlights:

  • It’s part of the industry-leading Fanuc Robotics Certified Education Training program, which provides students with the opportunity to earn the globally recognized Fanuc Robotics Handling Tool Operations and Programming Level-1 Certification directly within their course of study.
  • It has been recognized by the Royal Canadian Navy and now qualifies for Canadian Armed Forces skill recognition.
  • DC’s partnership with Johnson Controls helps award annual entrance bursaries in September of each year to five students entering their first semester of studies in the EMTY program!

You belong at DC, learn more about this program online today.

Cybersecurity student transforms co-op placement into full-time job

Grad spotlight: Melanie Gimoto

For Cybersecurity student Melanie Gimoto, experiential learning opportunities at Durham College (DC) – including a co-op placement – led directly to landing a job in her field upon graduation.

Originally from the Philippines, Gimoto worked as a software developer there before moving to Singapore where she worked as a software engineer and then later as a security assessor.

“That’s where my hunger to understand cybersecurity began,” she said. Gimoto decided to look for a college in Canada, ultimately selecting Durham College’s Cybersecurity (graduate certificate) program.

An honour roll student at DC, Gimoto found the school to be a vibrant and welcoming institution.

“The campus is modern and well-equipped, providing a comfortable and conducive environment for learning,” she said. “The faculty is knowledgeable and approachable, always ready to assist and guide students in their academic journeys.”

She took full advantage of practical opportunities in her program. For example, for a hacking course, she demonstrated the dangers of connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi by simulating a man-in-the-middle attack using a Wi-Fi Pineapple, a device that allows hackers to intercept messages between two parties. She said students at DC get a chance to work on real-world projects through the DC Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation.

“While studying, I was able to acquire a job in the Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) as a cybersecurity research assistant,” she explains. “It was a really exciting role as we were developing practical solutions for partner companies, even as a student.”

Her co-op placement at CarltonOne Engagement led to a job as a cyber risk analyst.

“The role involves the sophisticated analysis of phishing emails and threat commands and ensuring that potential vulnerabilities are swiftly identified and addressed,” said Gimoto. “In addition, I conduct in-depth risk assessments providing valuable insights into the security landscape and meticulously analyze threat alerts to safeguard the organization’s digital assets and integrity.”

Her advice to students in the cybersecurity program is to look for a community to support them in their learning and she recommends joining professional groups like the Toronto chapter of ISACA, a global association for IT professionals and WiCyS (Women in Cybersecurity).

“Foster a love for learning and you’ll experience continuous growth,” she said. “That’s essential for achieving success in any field where continual learning is of utmost importance, especially in the cybersecurity landscape.”

Are you ready to start your career in IT? Check out these popular programs offered at DC in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT):