By Courtney Tait
Michal Osusky launched his engineering career early, with the help of a toy set called Merkur.
“You could build whatever you wanted with it,” says the winner of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering medal. “I was always interested in hands-on stuff.”
His projects have come a long way from the toy cranes he constructed as a young boy in Trencin, Slovakia. While completing his BEng—which included a work term at UVATT (UVic’s Assistive Technology Team, a group of researchers who build devices for people with disabilities)—Osusky helped design a low-rider wheelchair, a signaling system for the hearing-impaired, and an underwater glider (think mini-submarine with wings).
“The nice thing about engineering is that you usually work in groups,” he says. “Even if you can’t come up with an idea right away, someone else will point you in the right direction.”
Osusky moved to Victoria with his family in Grade 7, excelling in woodworking and physics throughout high school. He won an entrance scholarship to UVic, and in 2006 was nominated for a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford (he was a finalist). One of the criteria for the scholarship was success in sports, which he demonstrated playing on the Vikes basketball team for two years.
Through engineering’s co-op program, he has sharpened his skills at both Vancouver’s Pulp and Paper Research Institute and Petro-Canada’s Calgary office.
This fall, Osusky begins a master’s degree in the University of Toronto’s aerospace program.
Destined for NASA, perhaps?
“That would be a pretty nice place to work,” he says. “I’m keeping my options open, but whatever I’m doing, I’m trying to do the best I can.”