Interviewing Sadiq Motani: The DJ of ESP

APS111, also known as ESP (Engineering Strategies and Practice), is a well-known first year Core 8 course. Sadiq Motani, the course assistant for said course, is a widely known figure; a man almost become legend. The Cannon decided to sit down and have a chat with the DJ of ESP to get some of his insights into ESP, engineering, and the university experience.

Sadiq posing with his lunch outside the Pit Credit: Sadiq Motani

Sadiq posing with his lunch outside the Pit
Credit: Sadiq Motani

The Cannon: Give us a one sentence introduction to yourself.

Sadiq Motani: For the last two academic years, I’ve worked as a Course Assistant for the Engineering Strategies and Practice Program (a.k.a. during lectures for ESP I’m the person who sits on a little chair on the stage in Convocation Hall moderating the Top Hat discussion board and administering Top Hat questions.) I also make students listen to my lit music playlist before lectures.

TC: What’s ESP? Why is it important?

SM: ESP stands for Engineering Strategies and Practice; it’s an engineering communication and design course. Students work in teams to solve real-life client problems from an engineering perspective. Throughout the course, students will learn about problem-solving, professional communication, research methodologies, team dynamics, and independent learning.

ESP is important because it’s a very hands-on and practical course where you are applying course concepts in simulated and real-life situations on an individual and team basis. As a result of this, students may find that there is no single, specific, correct answer to a client’s problem. Additionally, students will learn the various trials and tribulations and dynamics that take place when working in teams from creating written reports, to meeting with their client, and delivering a group presentation.

TC: What do you think the most valuable quality an engineer is?

SM: The most valuable quality for engineering, in my opinion, is communication. Having the technical knowledge, skills, and background are great. However, if you have trouble communicating/explaining (written or orally) an idea, design, or how you came up with a solution to a problem, this could most certainly be a potential problem going forward.

TC: What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed between UofT and Ryerson?

SM: The biggest difference I’ve noticed is the amazing community and family-like atmosphere, environment, and comradery that exists at U of T, not only in the present current day but also from years gone by in the past. It is very apparent that the Skule community is near and dear to the hearts of many engineering alumni but also current students as well. This can’t be more evident by looking at how many alumni volunteer, participate, and donate their time, energy, and resources to various social and educational endeavors long after they have graduated.

That isn’t to say the above isn’t prevalent at Ryerson; however, U of T has been around a lot longer than Ryerson. I believe that Ryerson is going through a very big transformation right now while trying to find its identity and calling. It’s still establishing itself, its values, and its community. In the future, I believe Ryerson will look back at this time and realize and recognize how big of an impact it has truly had in shaping the university and its culture for future generations of students.

TC: One funny experience that occurred on the job?

SM: It was my third week on the job in ESP as Course Assistant and it was only the second ESP lecture that I was helping out with in Convocation Hall, which happened to coincide with Godiva Week.

Imagine my surprise when I entered Convocation Hall to see a giant bouncy castle inflated on the stage. I had no idea what was going on, but thought it was really funny and clever. After being plugged in for a while there was a huge boom as the bouncy castle short-circuited one side of the speaker system and one of the screens in Convocation Hall.

TC: If you could TA any other engineering course, what would it be?

SM: APS100 – Orientation to Engineering.

TC: What did you do for your undergrad and how was your experience?

SM: I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Information Technology Management with a minor in Human Resource Management from Ryerson University (Class of 2009).

My experience was very enjoyable as I enjoyed the flexibility, depth, and variety of my program. The hybrid aspect of the degree was unique in that I was able to obtain a degree that focused not only on business management on commerce but also different areas of information and communication technologies. I loved being a small part of Ryerson’s growth, expansion, and evolution which resulted in classroom setup and teaching styles being approached in a more modernized environment and setup as opposed to a traditional style.

TC: One sentence for the 2T0s?

SM: University is a blank slate for you to reinvent, change, grow, and expand yourself; however, this can only be done if you open yourself up to meeting new people, challenges, and experiences. It may not seem like it from the outside, but remember: every first year student is in the same boat as you and probably has the same or similar anxieties, questions, and doubts even if they don’t show it.