North Island College Student Combines Passion for Math and Medicine

Milena Restan came to NIC knowing she wanted to study medicine when a single elective led to a new career – taking NIC’s engineering pathway toward a biomedical engineering degree at UVic.

“Everyone knew me as someone who had it all together in high school – I was going to be a doctor,” said Restan. An elective calculus course completely changed her career goals.

“My teacher, Jason Diemer, is so passionate about calculus,” said Restan. “Seeing him so excited brought it out in me even more. I realized that numbers are my thing.” Restan found she was torn, not wanting to give up her dream of going into medicine and helping people, but also wanting to pursue work in mathematics.

Then she discovered biomedical engineering. Thanks to NIC’s guaranteed Engineering Transfer agreement with UVic, Restan can transfer directly into the second year of UVic’s biomedical engineering degree after completing first-year courses at NIC.

“I literally changed my degree in two seconds,” she said. “I went down to the NIC admissions office and said I’m getting out of science and going into engineering. It felt like the right thing to do.” Restan says that her time at NIC has changed her, not just in terms of her career, but in her approach to life and being open to change.

“When I was in Grade 12, just the thought of changing my mind would have given me anxiety,” she said. “I would have been like, I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and I would have just freaked out.”

Restan’s biggest piece of advice to her Grade 11 self would be to relax. “You don’t have to have it all figured out, especially when you’re in Grade 11 or Grade 12. Not knowing is totally okay.”

Restan will finish her engineering courses at NIC this spring and is planning to attend UVic in the fall. NIC has offered a one-year study plan in engineering since 2010, allowing students to transfer to UVic and launch their engineering career. Starting Fall 2017, NIC is offering an Engineering Foundations Certificate, which includes all of the same courses as NIC's UVic Engineering Pathway, with the added benefit of a credential for their résumé and increased access to other post-secondary institutions.

The new certificate comes just in time. Engineers Canada has declared March, 2017 National Engineering Month. To explore diverse engineering careers in your area of interest, visit

Original content from: NIC Student Combines Passion for Math and Medicine

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