In 2011, when she won the first Student Award of Merit, Martine Blouin was in the 3rd year of her bachelor of biomedical engineering program at Polytechnique Montreal. The award arrived just in time, allowing her to begin her master at ETS without complication. Five years after receiving this prestigious award, Streng.th wanted to know what became of the lucky winner.

In what field do you work?
Today, I am a junior engineer at Kinova a company that manufactures robots for individuals in rehabilitation who can no longer use their arms or legs. To get around, these individuals use electric wheel chairs equipped with an arm, which gives them more autonomy in drinking, eating and reaching objects. What I am doing right now is totally what I have wanted to do ever since I was a child: combine the fields of engineering and health.

Why did you decide to study engineering?
I chose to study biomedical engineering because I have always been interested in the field of health. Since I like understanding problems and finding solutions, biomedical engineering was the right mix of science and its application for me. Plus, my father is a civil engineer and my aunt is an industrial engineer. So I was already pretty familiar with what engineers do.

How did you hear about the OIQ’s awards and scholarships?
In 2011, when I received the first Student Award of Merit, I was in my third year of a bachelor program at Polytechnique Montreal. But I should also mention that I had been a member of the student section since my second year, which meant that I had been receiving PLAN magazine and Streng.th newsletter and was informed about the various awards and scholarships for engineering students. I was also in the habit of looking for various scholarships that I was eligible for.

Why do you think you received the first Student Award of Merit?
I think the reason I received the award was because I had a good balance between academic achievement and engineering promotional activities. To promote my biomedical engineering program, of which I was part of the first cohort, I set up a series of industrial tours with my classmates. All of these promotional activities definitely played in my favour.

What has the Student Award of Merit helped you accomplish?
It has helped me accomplish various projects, such as my internship at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Having that financial cushion allowed me to continue my studies at the master's level. Finally, the year I received this award, I fulfilled one of my dreams, which was to go backpacking for six months in Asia with my boyfriend.