Every year the University of Toronto presents the Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award to graduating students who have made outstanding contributions to improving the world around them and inspiring others to do the same.
This year, four EngSci students are among the recipients of this prestigious honour: Rahul Goel (Year 4 + PEY), Charles (Tae Joon) Park (Year 4 + PEY), Sharon Ravindran (Year 4 + PEY) and Rachel Reding (Year 4 + PEY).
“We are very proud of the leadership of our students within the Engineering community and beyond,” said EngSci Chair Professor Mark Kortschot. “The enthusiastic engagement of EngSci’s in activities outside of the classroom not only enriches their student experience but gives them the broad perspective and skills that will help them become global engineering leaders.”
Rahul Goel (Year 4 + PEY)
Rahul made an immediate impact at U of T when he founded the Robotics for Space Exploration engineering design club in his first year. Under his leadership, the club now boasts over 40 members and its projects have gone on to be showcased in international competitions. Rahul also founded a startup in his second year called PheedLoop that won seed funding at The Entrepreneurship Hatchery’s Demo Day and signed Microsoft as a client. In his final year, Rahul has made it a point to mentor his fellow students. He joined ILead as a student leadership facilitator, where he designs and leads workshops on leadership, and has helped to build a new program for ILead called Leadership Labs.
Charles (Tae Joon) Park (Year 4 + PEY)
As an engineering student and a campus leader, Charles has excelled at U of T. In 2013–2014, he led a team of 21 students as special project manager on the Hart House Finance Committee and produced a report that resulted in the implementation of 12 new procedures. Charles has also held leadership roles with the You’re Next Career Network (YNCN) since 2014. He joined the organization as director of operations, leading all logistical operations for the annual career fair, before progressing to managing director, corporate. In this role, he led a team of 11, rose to the challenge when his associate director and team co-lead had to unexpectedly depart, and demonstrated initiative by executing a career fair in the fall of 2015 in addition to the flagship fair in January.
Sharon Ravindran (Year 4 + PEY)
Sharon has kept the empowerment of other students as a personal goal during her time at U of T Engineering. As chair of the NSight Mentorship Program, she led a team responsible for the mentoring of 180 Engineering Science students. Sharon also held leadership positions as the vice-president of student life for the Engineering Science Club, head leader for U of T Engineering Orientation Week in 2014 and 2015, vice-president of school outreach for the U of T chapter of EWB and vice-president of finance for the Club for Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering. In her final year, Sharon is helping prepare her classmates for life beyond university as the vice-president of operations for YNCN. In this role she has reached out to industry representatives, presented workshops and organized events to further students’ professional development.
Rachel Reding (Year 4 + PEY)
An exceptional leader, Rachel has held several executive positions and consistently enriches student life within the Faculty. She was the vice-president of marketing for the U of T chapter of WISE and helped found SuitsU — a non-profit startup that helps prepare students for professional interviews by providing affordable business attire. She served as director of operations and organized an event that assisted 300 students and raised $3,300 for charity. One of Rachel’s greatest accomplishments was the impact she had as vice-president of finance for EngSoc. Elected by her peers, Rachel helped usher in a collaborative agreement between EngSoc and UTSU, creating the new position of mental wellness director and establishing the first Endowment Fund Committee.