Entrepreneurship Award in Electrical Engineering encourages students to take the reins of their future
When it comes to bright, young minds, Dr. Walter and Mary Chudobiak would like to see Carleton’s graduate students complete their degrees looking for employees rather than employers.
It is for this reason that they have established the Dr. Walter and Mary Chudobiak Entrepreneurship Award in Electrical Engineering with an exceptionally generous gift of $1 million.
Dr. Chudobiak was first drawn to Carleton’s engineering programs because of the university’s unique selection of graduate courses and because of its reputation for partnering with industry leaders.
“Carleton engineering has this sort of unique characteristic of being open to the outside world,” said Dr. Chudobiak. “It just exceeded my wildest dreams that I could be encouraged, and helped, to conduct off campus research in the Department of National Defence, Defence Research Board Labs where I started my professional career.”
He obtained his Masters of Engineering (1965) and completed his PhD (1969) in Electrical Engineering. From 1969 to 1975, he was with the Department of Communications, Communications Research Centre in Ottawa, and he also served as a Carleton University adjunct professor. He returned to Carleton in 1975, when he became an associate professor in the Department of Electronics, a position he held for six years.
“You want to be successful? You reach out to the world. You reach out to these people who work in the government and industrial labs, locally, and allow students to have the latest material taught by people who are doing interesting work,” he said.
“I’m so grateful to have had that exposure.”
Taking what he learned inside and outside of the classroom, Dr. Chudobiak decided to find success in an obscure niche market.
He founded Avtech Electrosystems Ltd, in 1975. The manufacturer specializes in design, manufacturing and marketing of nanosecond electronic test equipment and has grown to serve research and development laboratories in more than 53 countries.
“My company’s success is the result of a combination of my graduate studies at Carleton University, my work as a faculty member and my work at the Defence Research Board and the Communications Research Centre,” he said.
Now, allowing his son Michael—who also has a PhD in electrical engineering from Carleton University—to take the reins as President of Avtech Electrosystems Ltd., Dr. Chudobiak and his wife, Mary, feel it is time to give back to the institution that gave them so much.
“It’s payback time, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I owe an awful lot to Carleton.”
Jointly, with the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, the Dean of Engineering and Design will grant the Chudobiaks’ scholarship annually to one or more students who have shown an entrepreneurial spirit.
“This scholarship will reinforce the long-standing, international reputation the Carleton University Faculty of Engineering and Design has for its excellence in education and research,” said Rafik Goubran, Dean.
“As our engaging program offerings continue to grow and adapt to the changing needs of the outside world, we strive to ensure our graduates have the knowledge and skills to shape the future,” explained Goubran. “I sincerely thank Dr. Walter and Mary Chudobiak for their incredibly generous contribution and also for encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship amid Carleton’s engineering students.”
By setting up this award, Dr. Walter and Mary Chudobiak’s goal is to see top students become more applied and innovative. To do this, Dr. Chudobiak thinks graduate studies are essential. He feels that Carleton Engineering is the ideal location because it has a stunning record of entrepreneurial accomplishment, dating back 50 years, and is staffed with faculty members with truly amazing track records.
“When you go into graduate studies, you work for years on one narrow problem. My experience was that, very quickly, you realize you could be the world’s ranking expert on that topic simply because you are devoted to it full time.”
With preference given to students working in hardware design, students who are accepted to Carleton’s graduate program are eligible to receive the award following completion of their Bachelor of Engineering degree at Carleton University.
Hasan Orion Ayyad has become the first ever recipient of the Chudobiaks’ award.
Ayyad, who received a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering in the spring, was identified by his professors for possessing an entrepreneurial spirit due to his third and fourth year projects—both focused on inventive, functional products for use by the general public.
With a particular interest in radio frequency integrated circuits, Ayyad hopes to own his own company in the future.
“I would like to become a specialized expert in this area of research, and I am positive that this scholarship has provided me with the financial support to kick-start my graduate studies,” he said.
“Because of the Chudobiak’s generosity, if I ever find myself in a situation where I’m able to, I will definitely give back so that others can have the tremendous opportunity I have been given.”