Student Spotlight: Ryan Kopytko

Student Spotlight: Ryan Kopytko

My name is Ryan Kopytko. I’m originally from Onanole and grew up on a farm next to Riding Mountain National Park. I went to high school in Erickson and graduated in 2020.

After high school, I applied to the Communications Engineering Technology program at Assiniboine. It’s funny, I originally applied for the Piping Trades program and even before that I was considering the Agribusiness program. I was pretty undecided and was exploring a lot of career paths. I grew up on a cattle farm where we had over 200 cattle, and I was always involved with that and helped my family out with the farm. Agriculture was a big part of my life so that’s where I thought my future would be headed―something related to it. But I also really loved technology and even though I grew up on the farm, I found myself always tinkering with computers and devices. I ended up choosing the CET program because it felt kind of out there and appealed to me on a different level that I found very interesting. I attended one of the online program information sessions hosted by the college and even had a chance to talk with one of the instructors. Having that opportunity to talk with an instructor about the program gave me a good idea of what I could expect from the program and got me really excited. The skills that I would gain within the program would go a long way in finding a career and great job after graduation.

My first year of the program was done completely online by remote learning. I was building circuits and doing other projects in my bedroom. My favorite course was Electronics where the instructors had us building circuits and involved a lot of hands-on learning. I’m definitely not the strongest at math, and I remember going into my first week thinking about what I got myself into. I didn’t expect the amount of math involved within the program but I worked really hard and pushed myself to be able to do it, whether that meant putting in a little extra work watching YouTube videos or asking for additional help from the instructors. The instructors were great like that, if any of the students needed extra help they were always there for us.

As part of the program we get to work on an applied research project. Students can either come up with their own idea for a project or sometimes a business might even approach the program and present a problem they are experiencing and then the students will work on it and come up with a solution. The general goal is to set out and improve upon existing technology or develop a new technology to help solve the presented problem or issue a business may be facing. One of my instructors had been talking with a contact from the Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives which is a non-profit organization that partners with a lot of other organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and Manitoba Beef Producers. Manitoba Beef and Forage were looking for a way to increase their connectivity on their farm and I decided it would be a great project for myself to take on, especially with my background in agriculture and farming. The project itself was a very large undertaking, so I was able to pair up with another classmate and we worked on it together. We had to think about which technology we could use to solve the problems they were facing and look at what kind of devices they were using. We had a budget to work with from the organization which without it wouldn’t the project itself wouldn’t have been possible. We determined that the best way to do it would be to develop a way to strengthen and expand the Wi-Fi capabilities to reach a greater area across their farm. We created a proposal and made a plan, which involved building and placing large Wi-Fi access points at specific locations on their farmland. We developed these access points to send out a Wi-Fi signal with roughly a 1 kilometer signal range to try to give the most coverage possible. It was a lot of work to determine their placements and locations and how to get the access points to talk to one another.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished within the program and extremely proud how well our applied research project has turned out. It wasn’t a small feat by any means. I’ve put in many hours and many long nights of hard work to get to where I am and I’m excited to see where my education will take me and my career.