Efficient as Electrowetting

Juan Sebastian Marin Quintero, E.I.T., says the best part of working on an electrowetting study as a research assistant at the University of Alberta was “making the fluids dance.” He applied various levels of electric frequencies to fluids on flat solids, collecting data on how the liquid’s shape changed, aiming to wet a greater span of the surface. It’s still his favourite project.“What I find interesting about this process is that it’s increasing efficiency. I like working with fluid dynamics because they adapt. They don’t have a specific shape—they’re always in transition. I joke with my fiancée that I like to be like that—to adapt and evolve and become better all the time."

Efficiency, productivity, and process improvement are always top-of-mind in his personal and professional life. This serves to make him an effective addition at Kanin Energy, a start-up in Calgary working to decarbonize and reduce emissions.

It also drives him to multi-task at home—while he walks his dogs, he calls his parents in Colombia to talk about his day. He explains he likes to stay busy, so using his time efficiently is important.

Flowing time into volunteerism

Juan spends time volunteering. Throughout the pandemic he has 3D-printed COVID-19 face shields and ear-savers—he has a special place in his heart for front-line healthcare staff because both of his parents practice medicine in Colombia. He also helps international students at the University of Alberta, teaches elementary students fluid dynamics, and serves on APEGA's Student Liaison Committee.

Juan’s parents wanted him to become a physician, but his natural talent for math and machines— combined with his fascination with his cousin’s engineering studies—led him to earn first a bachelor degree, and then a master’s, in mechanical engineering.

He moved to Canada in 2017 and pursued his master’s at the University of Alberta, where he worked as a research assistant in the electrowetting study.

Summit sparks connections

When his research assistant contract was coming to an end, Juan attended APEGA’s Emerging Professionals Summit to explore options for his future. He wanted to meet other engineers and find ways to improve.

He found the Rapid Resume Review session especially valuable because he received feedback from multiple professionals with different perspectives and backgrounds, ultimately improving the presentation of his experience to companies during his job search.

The How to Build Your Brand session helped Juan sell himself professionally, especially over social media sites like LinkedIn. He says the conference’s virtual platform was easy to navigate and helped him engage with others while attending sessions and checking out content.

Ultimately, Juan found the most value in the connections he made. “You could send private messages—it was a good way to talk to people engaged with the engineering community.” Juan is still in contact with a couple of professional engineers he met who helped him navigate the industry and plan his future.

One day, he hopes to launch his own start-up. “As an engineer, I can use my creativity to create something new and make a process more efficient. This knowledge and these tools will let me build something to help people live a better life.”

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Juan Sebastian Marin Quintero

Juan Sebastian Marin Quintero, E.I.T.