Student Experience – Maniya Bastamipour
“This program will change your life and mindset forever,” says Maniya Bastamipour, a student in the MEL in High Performance Buildings program. She notes that the integration of technical and business classes – and the focus on issues of sustainability – empowers students to explore new perspectives and gain the skills to work for positive change.
Why did you decide to pursue an MEL in High Performance Buildings?
I have 14 years of experience in civil engineering and project co-ordination in construction projects, primarily in Iran and Dubai. I came to Canada five years ago and launched a design and build construction company with my husband. After a few years I saw the need to sharpen my skills and experiment with new ideas. The Master of Engineering Leadership in High Performance Buildings program offered a way for me to gain the practical tools to design and construct more efficient buildings that are durable, comfortable and healthy.
What was your experience of the program?
The technical courses focused on mechanical engineering, so as a civil engineer some of the topics were less familiar to me. I soon became comfortable with thermodynamics, and by the second-term summer capstone project I felt confident using my knowledge in energy modelling and building design to develop an energy model for an existing building on the UBC campus.
For me, the most interesting part of this program is its integration of technical and business skills. There is also a lot of overlap and synergy in the classes – in our final term, we took a sustainability class on the business side and a course on regenerative design on the technical side.
What’s your life like outside of school?
In addition to running a business with my husband, I’m also the mother of two children, aged two and eight. This made for a challenging year. I made daily, weekly and monthly schedules for tasks and assignments and worked very hard to complete assignments ahead of schedule. Although there are lots of extracurricular opportunities available at UBC and through the MEL program, my priority was to spend any extra time I had in the studio and library.
I’d like to gain some practical industry experience and continue learning in this field.
Any advice for others who are considering this program?
Twelve months is a very short period – but the program will change your life and mindset forever. The MEL brings together wonderful people with many different backgrounds and from many different countries. Also, everyone associated with this program is extremely welcoming. The staff and instructors are clearly there to help you learn and make the most of this wonderful year.