Madison Posluns, Class of ‘17, Reflects on Linden, Leadership and Where Engineering & Design Meet
Madison Posluns, Class of 2017.
By Hannah Schaffrath
During her final year at The Linden School, Madison Posluns, Class of 2017, was approached by Western University's Mechanical Engineering program and offered a spot. As she winds down her last four months at university, Madison reflects on all that she’s learned and accomplished, and her aspirations for the future.
Madison (left) and her Ultimate Frisbee teammates after winning the championship.
What are you studying at university?
Mechanical Engineering with Co-op and a Certificate of Engineering Leadership and Innovation. My degree is five years long and I am currently finishing up my final year, expecting to graduate in April 2022. I did an 8-month long internship last year at Steelway Building Systems in Aylmer, Ontario.
For the Certificate, I took four additional non-technical courses that deep dive into the creative and innovative side of engineering, as well as what it takes to be a good leader both in the engineering world and in general. I hope to be in a leadership position one day in my career, and these courses have allowed me to explore and compare different ways to lead.
Right now, I’m taking an entrepreneurial environment course that has us identifying a start-up company, analyzing their strategy, and understanding what factors will determine how well the company will do. After graduation, I’m hoping to find a job working in product design engineering. I think of myself as a creative person and I’d love to combine that side of myself with my technical engineering knowledge.
The Finite Element Analysis of one component of Madison's suspension system for the Western Engineering Toboggan Team.
Like many students, Madison’s extracurriculars were impacted by COVID-19. She recently became President of Western’s Student Chapter for the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineers. In this position, she has worked to overcome the challenges of building a community while enduring a global pandemic.
I'm currently involved in multiple clubs, and my ultimate frisbee intramural team just won the championship for the league this semester! My participation in the tobogganing team brought me the opportunity to design the front suspension and steering rig of the superstructure. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we weren’t ever able to see my design in action. It’s disappointing, but I’m so proud of the work I did on this project.
For two years, Madison (left) has helped welcome incoming Western Engineering students.
What do you think makes a good leader, in and outside the world of engineering?
A good leader is someone that you can go to for advice, but is also someone who can set boundaries and be direct with their critiques. There needs to be a balance between being stern and being friends when it comes to taking on a leadership role in any environment.
A professor of mine had an article on the supplementary reading list that piqued my interest titled Women are Better Leaders in a Crisis. The author explored the idea that running a business with empathy and compassion will result in employees who give the same energy back to the company. Over the course of the pandemic, companies that are led by women have had better retention rates, partly due to the fact that women are more open to being empathetic to their employees than their male counterparts.
Western's Student Chapter for Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineers, pledging for the December 6th Polytechnique Massacre Memorial Event. Madison is in the front, second from left.
How did your Linden experience shape you?
I’m shy when I first meet people, or in new environments. That’s something that’s never really changed about me but I’ve found that Linden has made me really confident in my academic abilities. I rarely second guess myself when asserting my opinion academically in peer spaces, which I notice many of my female friends in engineering - and in general - doing. As a woman in a male-dominated program, it can sometimes be daunting to speak up around male classmates, but I’ve found that this doesn’t phase me, especially the further I got in my degree. As well, because Linden teachers were so approachable and easy to talk to, I’ve never felt shy or embarrassed to talk to my professors and ask for clarification or help. This especially has greatly benefitted my grades!
Please share a favourite memory of Linden?
My favourite memory at Linden has to be all the sports teams I was on. My confidence in myself blossomed greatly in Linden sports because I never made school teams where I had to try out. The walk-on teams create such an amazing culture of acceptance no matter what the player’s skill level. Some of my fondest memories have to be playing on the teams and bonding with everyone!