Posts Tagged: alumni

Company founded by EngSci alumni receives $3.8 million for nanosatellites

satellite above Earth

Kepler Communications recently became Canada’s largest satellite operator. (Image:  Kepler Communications)

 

Kepler Communications, a satellite communications startup founded by EngSci and UTIAS alumni, has received $3.8 million of federal funding to create a nanosatellite manufacturing facility, according to the Toronto Star.

After the recent launch of two new satellites, the company became Canada’s largest satellite operator with 15 satellites in orbit.

Kepler was co-founded by EngSci alumni Wen Cheng Chong (EngSci 1T3), Mark Michael (EngSci 1T2, MASc MIE 1T4, PhD 1T6),  and Mina Mitry (EngSci 1T2, AeroE MASc 1T4), and UTIAS graduate Jeffrey Osborne (AeroE PhD 1T6).

The team first met as students when all four were part the U of T Aerospace Team (UTAT), a student-led design team with focuses on rocketry and satellites.  Their startup was supported by U of T Engineering’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery and Start@UTIAS, and aims to build a global satellite network.

Read the full story in the Toronto Star.

 

 


‘Nobel Prize of Computing:’ U of T Engineering alumnus Alfred Aho receives A.M. Turing Award

Turning Award winner Alfred Aho

Alumnus Alfred Aho (pictured here in 2015 receiving his honorary degree at U of T) and collaborator Jeffrey Ullman have been named 2020 AM Turing Award recipients. (Photo: Roberta Baker)

 

By Liz Do

U of T Engineering alumnus Alfred Aho (EngPhys 6T3), alongside collaborator Jeffrey Ullman, has received the 2020 A.M. Turing Award — widely considered the Nobel Prize of computing — for their influential work in algorithms and compilers.

The award is named after mathematician and computer scientist Alan M. Turing, who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing. It carries a $1-million prize with financial support provided by Google Inc.

In the late 1960s, Aho and Ullman were key members of research centre Bell Labs. There, they helped create the compiler, a crucial tool that takes in software programs written by humans and turns them into language that computers can understand. Their pattern-matching algorithms are run daily on computers around the world today, while their textbooks on algorithms and compilers have been used to educate generations of software engineers.

“It’s impossible to overstate the significance of Professor Aho’s foundational contributions to programming and software engineering,” says Professor Will Cluett, Director of Engineering Science. “He is a towering figure in the field, and an inspiration to classes of Engineering Science students, past, present and future.”

Aho is currently appointed the Lawrence Gussman Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Columbia University. His honours include the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and the NEC C&C Foundation C&C Prize. He is also a member of the U.S National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Society of Canada. He is a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, Bell Labs, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2015, Aho received an honorary degree from the University of Toronto, and in 2018, he was inducted into the Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction at the Engineering Alumni Network Awards.

“The software researchers develop today would not be possible without the fundamental work of Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman. They helped define the modern programming industry, and therefore shaped the very world around us,” says Chris Yip, Dean of U of T Engineering. “On behalf of U of T Engineering, my enthusiastic congratulations on this incredibly prestigious recognition. We have long been tremendously proud to call Professor Aho a U of T Engineering alumnus.”

This article was originally published in the U of T Engineering News.

 


‘My dream job’: How a PEY Co-op student is helping develop a new generation of autonomous space robots

Erin Richardson at MDA

PEY Co-op student Erin Richardson (Year 3 EngSci) is spending 16 months at Canadian space engineering firm MDA, where she is working on a new generation of autonomous robots for the forthcoming Lunar Gateway space station. (Photo: MDA)

 

By Tyler Irving

Erin Richardson (Year 3 EngSci) was in Grade 9 when she decided she wanted to be an astronaut.

“We had a science unit on outer space, and I remember being completely fascinated by the vast scale of it all,” she says. “Thinking about how big the universe is, and how we’re just a tiny speck on a tiny planet, I knew I wanted to be part of exploring it.”

Richardson started following Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on social media and watching videos of his daily life on the International Space Station. She also started reading about aerospace and doing everything she could to break into the industry, including getting her Student Pilot Permit.

It was in a Forbes article about women in STEM that she first read the name of Kristen Facciol (EngSci 0T9).

A U of T Engineering alumna, Facciol had worked as a systems engineer at Canadian space engineering firm MDA before moving on to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). When Richardson first learned about her, Facciol was an Engineering Support Lead, providing real-time flight support during on-orbit operations and teaching courses to introduce astronauts and flight controllers to the ISS robotic systems. Today, Facciol is a Flight Controller for CSA/NASA.

“I found her contact information and reached out to her,” says Richardson. “She’s been an amazing mentor to me over the last five years. We’re still close friends, and she’s really helped influence my career path.”

With Facciol’s encouragement, Richardson applied to U of T’s Engineering Science program, eventually choosing the aerospace major. After her first year, she landed a summer research position in the lab of Professor Jonathan Kelly (UTIAS), working on simulation tools for a robotic mobile manipulator platform.

“Working in Kelly’s lab piqued my interest in robotics as they could be applied in space,” she says. “Researching collaborative manipulation in dynamic environments will push the boundaries of human spaceflight – during spacewalks, astronauts work right alongside  robots all the time.”

After her second year, Richardson travelled to Tasmania for a research placement facilitated by EngSci’s ESROP Global program. Working with researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia’s national science agency, she created tools to analyze data collected during scientific mooring deployments, which help us learn more about our oceans over long periods of time. This work informs the design of next-generation mooring systems which, like space systems, must survive harsh and constrained environments.

Richardson was sitting in a second-year lecture when she heard the news that Canada had committed to NASA’s Lunar Gateway project, a brand-new international space station set to be constructed between 2023 and 2026. Unlike the ISS, which currently orbits Earth, the Lunar Gateway will orbit the moon and will serve both as a waypoint for future crewed missions to the lunar surface and as preparation for missions to even more distant worlds, such as Mars.

Energized, Richardson searched for a way to get involved. Her opportunity came in the fall of 2019, when she saw a posting on MDA’s job board. She immediately applied through U of T Engineering’s Professional Experience Year Co-op program, which enables undergraduate students to spend up to 16 months working for leading firms worldwide before returning to finish their degree programs.

Richardson started her placement in May 2020, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. She and her employer quickly adapted.

“I was working from home through the summer, but for my latest project I was able to go onsite to operate this robotic arm,” she says.

The robotic arm in question is a model of Dextre, a versatile robot that maintains the International Space Station. Richardson used it as a prototype part for the Canadarm3, which will be installed on Lunar Gateway.

Because the Lunar Gateway will be so far from Earth, Canadarm3 will be designed to be autonomous, able to execute certain tasks without supervision from a remote control station. Part of Richardson’s job is to create the dataset that will eventually be used to train the artificial intelligence algorithms that will make this possible.

In MDA’s DREAMR lab, Richardson guided the robotic arm through a series of movements and scenarios, with a suite of video cameras tracking its every move. She then tagged each series of images with metadata that will teach the robot whether the movements it saw were desirable ones to emulate, or dangerous ones to avoid.

“We had to capture different lighting conditions and obstacles of various sizes and colours,” she says. “My colleagues pointed out to me that because it’s me deciding which scenarios count as collisions and which ones don’t, the AI that we eventually create will be a reflection of my own brain.”

Apart from the opportunity to contribute to the next generation of space robots, Richardson says she’s enjoyed the chance to apply what she’s learned in her classes, as well as the professional connections she’s made.

“It’s my dream job,” she says. “I use what I learned in engineering design courses every day. I’m treated as a full engineer and a member of the team. The people I work with are extremely supportive and they talk to me about my dreams and goals. I love being surrounded by a team of talented and motivated people, all so passionate about what they do and about advancing space exploration. It’s an awesome opportunity for any student.”

This article was originally published in the U of T Engineering News.


Meet our alumni: Nathalin Moy (EngSci 1T6+1), energy policy analyst

Nathalin Moy

Nathalin Moy (EngSci 1T6+1) uses her engineering knowledge to help design public policy. (Photo courtesy of Nathalin Moy)

 

Technology does not exist in a void. To have a meaningful impact on society, its creators must consider social, cultural, and ethical impacts. New technological developments must also work within economic and legal constraints, and can inform government policy decisions.

No one knows that better than Nathalin Moy (EngSci 1T6+1), who graduated from EngSci’s Energy Systems Engineering major.  She combines her engineering education with public policy training in her work as a policy analyst as part of the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) Regulatory Policy team at Natural Resources Canada.

Moy helps guide the implementation of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, which governs projects as diverse as interprovincial and international pipelines and powerlines, energy exports, oil and gas exploration, and offshore renewable energy.

Her interest in public policy was sparked in a third-year course on energy policy, but really took hold in her final year in EngSci.

Bridging the gap

Policy decisions, especially around energy, must be made with input from diverse stakeholders: technical experts, government policymakers, the general public, and others. One of the challenges for engineers is learning how to communicate complicated technical issues to audiences that may not have a technical background and—just as importantly—how to listen to perspectives they may not have considered.

Moy identified this gap in her fourth-year thesis project—The Engineer’s Role in Climate Change Policy—which applied an engineering approach to a qualitative research question.

Sparked by the 2016 launch of the Canadian climate change action plan, Moy investigated the role engineers can play in climate change policy. Through literature reviews and interviews with engineering, policy, and climate change experts she developed a conceptual model of the relationships between the various stakeholders involved. She identified a historical lack of involvement of engineers in shaping public policy, despite their relevant technical expertise. To encourage more engineers to step into the policy arena, she suggested education reform to help teach engineers the skills needed to engage in public policy processes.

“My thesis was a pivotal experience that prompted me to take the leap into public policy,” says Moy. “It also served as the motivation for my fourth-year capstone project—it’s the ‘why’ where the capstone work was the ‘how’.”

In her capstone design project, Improving Engineering Student Engagement in Energy Policy, Moy created a public policy assignment for third year courses that brought together U of T Engineering students and public policy students from the Faculty of Arts & Science to learn from each other’s expertise. Interdisciplinary student teams wrote briefing notes for hypothetical government representatives based on current energy policy issues. While the engineering students learned how to better communicate technical issues, the public policy students learned about the technical constraints that must inform policy.

Moy’s work helped both groups of students develop a better mutual understanding of the challenges on all sides of public policy.

Helping engineers consult the public

Moy continued delving into these interdisciplinary topics as a Master’s student in the Sustainable Energy Engineering and Policy program at Carleton University. Her thesis, titled An Engineer’s Guide to Public Engagement in Renewable Energy Projects, examined how public engagement relates to technical design in renewable energy projects.

Moy’s thesis includes eight guidelines to help engineers better incorporate public engagement into their work. She hopes that her work will help engineers create more effective public engagement, and may even inform new policies.

“In making the transition from engineering to public policy, the biggest revelation for me was that the approach to problem solving is basically the same,” says Moy. “There is an engineering design cycle, and there is a policy cycle. Both start with identifying a problem and go through a systematic process that ends with implementing a solution.”

A powerful combination

Moy sees the particular strengths of an academic background that combines technical engineering knowledge with policy. Many of the most serious problems we face today, like climate change, are too complex to be addressed by technology alone. “The grand scale behavioural change that needs to occur cannot happen without policy intervention,” says Moy. “To this end, neither an engineering degree without an understanding of the policy context, nor a policy degree without an understanding of the technical nature of the issue, can effectively tackle the problem at hand.”

Professor Aimy Bazylak, who serves as EngSci’s associate chair and the chair of the energy systems major, has seen a shift in expectations around how engineers engage with society to protect the public and ensure ethical conduct. “More than ever, we absolutely must take our impact on society into consideration, which can only be done by listening to a diverse community of voices,” says Bazylak. “I’m particularly inspired by graduates like Nathalin who are driven to create a sustainable society—at home and internationally.”

Moy’s involvement in social science disciplines exemplifies a common trait among EngSci students who often have multidisciplinary interests. She also credits her time in EngSci for helping to prepare her for her current job as part of a small team working on many different projects. “This position appeals to me in the same way that EngSci did,” says Moy. “There’s a good balance of breadth and depth that allows me to be a subject matter expert and yet understand and contribute to other related files going on around me.”

Meet more EngSci alumni.


EngSci students and alumni recognized for social enterprises

Lo Family Award winners 2020

Clockwise from top left:  Seray Cicek (1T6 PEY), Shrey Jain (Year 2), Zain Hasan (1T4), and Ryan Tam (1T8 PEY) have won Lo Family Social Venture Fund Awards.

A current EngSci student and three EngSci alumni are among the winners of the 2020 Lo Family Social Venture Fund Award.

The awards, established in 2020 Kenneth and Yvonne Lo and family, help U of T students and recent graduates take promising social enterprises to the next level.  They provide support for student-driven ventures that will positively impact the global community – particularly in Asia.

A total of 18 U of T students and recent alumni received up to $30K in funding, including:

Shrey Jain (Year 2 EngSci) for Flatten, a non-profit organization developing self-reporting surveillance tool for the COVID-19 pandemic internationally.

Seray Cicek (EngSci 1T6 PEY) for her company LSK Technologies, which makes rapid COVID-19 and other tests for use in doctor’s offices and workplaces.

Zain Hasan (EngSci 1T4) for Vinci Labs, which uses uses technology to address barriers to quality healthcare including geographical remoteness and social inequity.

Ryan Tam (EngSci 1T8 PEY) for Aerlift, a drone delivery system that helps governments to provide life-saving healthcare services to some of the hardest-to-reach populations around the world.

Learn more about the award winners here.


Alumna named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list

Deb Raji

 

Recent EngSci graduate Inioluwa Deborah Raji (1T9) is among the leading innovators on the Forbes 30 Under 30 2021 list.  She was recognized in the category of Enterprise Technology for her impactful research on racial and gender bias in AI, and for holding to account companies that use biased technology.

Her work, which she began while still an undergraduate student, has made international headlines and has already helped set new for accountability standards within the AI industry.

Raji was recently also named to MIT Technology Review’s Top Innovators Under 35.


Engineering Holiday Gift Guide

wrapped gift

Spread seasonal cheer — and Skule™ pride! — with this selection of 14 gift ideas, all of which have roots at U of T Engineering

From a brain-sensing headband to a contemporary culinary cult classic, we’ve collected our top picks — all with ties to U of T Engineering — for a holiday season unlike any other.  The collection includes a new book by Jonny Sun (EngSci 1T1 PEY) and a new Netflix series co-starring Robert Bazzocchi (EngSci 1T9).

See the full gift guide in the U of T Engineering News.


Chair of EngSci’s robotics engineering major elected as IEEE Fellow

Professor Tim Barfoot

Professor Tim Barfoot (UTIAS), seen here at the launch of the Robotics Institute, held in May 2019, has been elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE). (Photo: Liz Do)

EngSci alumnus Professor Tim Barfoot (UTIAS) has been elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Robotics and Automation Society.

Professor Barfoot serves as chair of EngSci’s robotics engineering major, and is an EngSci graduate from the class of 9T7.

Learn about his outstanding contributions to mobile robot navigation in the U of T Engineering News.


Five EngSci alumni receive U of T’s highest award for volunteer contributions

Yuri Sagalov and Victor Xin

Yuri Sagalov and Victor Xin are among the 2020 Arbor Award recipients.

 

Five EngSci and EngPhys alumni are among this year’s recipients of the University of Toronto’s Arbor Awards.  This award is the highest honour granted by the University and is given for sustained contributions to specific academic units, such as faculties, colleges or institutes, or for broader contributions to the University at large.

Donald M. Cameron (EngSci 7T5) has taught the Patent and Trade Secrets Law course at the Faculty of Law for over 25 years and surveys intellectual property courses at other law schools, to ensure that U of T’s intellectual property curriculum remains unmatched in Canada. Don has written widely on IP topics and has spoken frequently at the Faculty of Law’s annual Patent Colloquium since 2014.

James Courtney (EngSci 6T6) has been an enthusiastic and committed volunteer for Engineering since 2014, and has served in various key roles with the Committee for Skule Lunch and Learn, Alumni Reunion and Faculty Council. He also served as a member of the Hart House 100th Anniversary Advisory Committee.

Yuri Sagalov (0T9) served as co-chair of the Engineering Alumni Network’s Bay Area chapter for six years and continues to work closely with U of T’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery and BizSkule through his engagement with panel discussions, competitions and seminars.

Gary Vivian (EngPhys 5T9) encourages his mentees in Engineering’s Alumni Mentorship Program to broaden their education through the lenses of psychology, creativity and our place in the cosmos via curiosity and multi-disciplinary thinking. He is passionate about career and life guidance, and enhancing campus mental-health resources.

Victor Xin (0T9) has been a steadfast volunteer in Engineering’s alumni mentorship program for almost a decade, serving as chair of the program for the last four years, and working tirelessly to create programming to bring students and alumni together.

“EngSci alumni are a particularly dedicated group who support our programs in many ways, from offering mentorship to sharing their experiences during in-class visits and more,” says Professor Will Cluett. “I am delighted that the university has recognized their outstanding contributions, and thank them for their ongoing commitment to our student and alumni community.”

Learn more about the Arbor Awards and this year’s recipients here.

Looking for volunteer opportunities? Check our alumni resources and opportunities page for ways to get involved.

 


Eleven alumni and students honoured with 2020 Engineering Alumni Network Awards

2020 EAN award winners

 

By Engineering Strategic Communications

Eleven outstanding members of the U of T Engineering community were recognized Nov. 5 at the 2020 Engineering Alumni Network (EAN) Awards.  Watch the virtual awards ceremony here.

The evening awards ceremony, held virtually this year, celebrated alumni and students for their accomplishments and their contributions to the Skule™ community

“The Faculty has just been amazing in its resilience, and tonight’s winners really embody that spirit,” said Dean Christopher Yip. “You illustrate the role that engineers can play in meeting the world’s most daunting challenges.”

“When I came to Toronto from Hong Kong in the late 1980s, I didn’t know that getting an engineering degree from U of T would set me up for a lifetime of success, but it has,” said Allen Lau (ElecE 9T1, ECE MASc 9T2), one of this year’s winners of the Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction Award. “I call on my fellow engineering alumni to think about how the training and skills you’ve gained at U of T can improve business, society, diversity and equity in the city and country we call home.”

This year’s recipients were:

Engineering Alumni Medal

First awarded in 1939, the Engineering Alumni Medal is the highest honour awarded by the Engineering Alumni Network. High achievement is the common thread that links past recipients of this medal. In their diverse careers, these individuals have demonstrated superior accomplishments and have responded with flair and excellence to the challenges they have faced. They are outstanding role models for U of T Engineering students.

Ted Davison

Edward J. Davison (Eng Phys. 6T0, MA 6T1) received the A.R.C.T. degree in piano in 1958, the B.A.Sc. in Engineering -Physics and the M.A. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1960, 1961 respectively, and his Ph.D. degree and Sc.D. degree from Cambridge University in 1964 and 1977, respectively. Ted began his service to the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1964, progressing to become University Professor for ECE, and later Professor Emeritus in 2004. This also included time as an Assistant Professor at University of California, Berkeley, from 1966-1967.

Ted was inducted into the University of Toronto’s Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction in 2003, and was awarded the Electrical and Computer Engineering Club Teaching Award in 2002. His research interests are in the area of Control Systems Theory and Automation, with a particular interest in Large Scale Systems, Decentralized Control, Robustness, Controller Design of Large Flexible Space Structures, and Process Control.

Learn more about Edward J. Davison (video)

Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction Award

The Hall of Distinction is an assembly of extraordinary alumni, selected for membership by their peers for their exemplary accomplishments. These are graduates whose performances have ultimately defined what is most outstanding in our graduates and in our profession. The careers of the members stand as examples and add a sense of reality to the aspirations of successive generations of U of T Engineering students.

Pat Burchat

Patricia Burchat (EngSci 8T1) is a Professor in the Physics Department at Stanford University. Her research focuses on studies of the Universe at both the largest and smallest scales. She helps lead a large international team of scientists preparing to analyze data which will provide the most extensive census of the Universe to date. She and her collaborators will use these data to investigate the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the cosmological evolution of the Universe.

At Stanford, she has served as Chair of the Physics Department and has numerous awards for excellence in teaching. She was elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. Pat has played a leading role in the growth of the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics, and has been recognized for her dedication to mentoring students.

Learn more about Patricia Burchat (video)

Howard GinsbergHoward Ginsberg (EngSci 8T9) is a graduate of the University of Toronto Neurosurgery Program (0T3), with additional fellowship training in neurosurgical and orthopedic spinal surgery techniques. He also holds degrees from U of T in Engineering Science (8T9), an MD (9T3), and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (0T1). He is an Assistant Professor in U of T’s Department of Surgery, and a neurosurgeon and the Spine Program Director at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dr. Ginsberg’s research focuses on engineering applications to neurosurgical procedures with the goal of improving safety and outcome for patients. He has supervised several engineering students on research projects, trained surgeons from around the world and helped thousands of patients during his career. Dr. Ginsberg is the co-founder and chief medical officer of Point Surgical Inc., a spin-off company that has developed new technology for immediate and accurate intra-surgical identification  of  cancer  types  through  a  combination  of  laser  vaporization  and  affordable  mass spectrometry.

Learn more about Howard Ginsberg (video)

Allen LauAllen Lau (ElecE 9T1, ECE MASc 9T2) is the CEO and co-founder of Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company, where he leads the company’s vision to entertain and connect the world through stories.

A leader in Canada’s technology sector and startup ecosystem, Allen is a member of the Canadian Council of Innovators, a lobby group that advances the interests of Canadian technology companies at all levels of government. He is also the co-founder of Two Small Fish Ventures, a fund that invests in Toronto and Waterloo-based early stage internet companies with strong network effects.

Prior to Wattpad, Allen co-founded FeedM8, a mobile advertising company that was later acquired. He also previously co-founded Tira Wireless, where he helped leading brands optimize content for mobile delivery.

Allen received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Toronto’s Electrical Engineering program.

Learn more about Allen Lau (video)

Shumin ZhaiShumin Zhai (MIE PhD 9T5) is a Principal Scientist at Google where he leads and directs research, design, and development of input systems, interaction methods, and mobile haptics. His past research career has contributed to theoretical models and understandings of human-computer interaction as well as broadly deployed practical user interface designs and product innovations.

He originated and led the SHARK/ShapeWriter project at IBM Research and a start-up company that pioneered the swipe typing keyboard paradigm. His academic publications have won the ACM UIST Lasting Impact Award and a IEEE Computer Society Best Paper Award, among others. He served as the 4th Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. He received his Ph.D. degree at the University of Toronto in 1995. In 2006, he was selected as one of ACM’s inaugural class of Distinguished Scientists. In 2010 he was named Member of the CHI Academy and a Fellow of the ACM.

Learn more about Shumin Zhai (video)

2T5 Mid-Career Achievement Award

The Class of 2T5 was the first class in Canada to receive iron rings at The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer. Since 1975, the Class of 2T5 annually presents the 2T5 Mid-career Achievement Award. This award recognizes a graduate (11 to 25 years from undergraduate graduation) who has earned respect within the profession as well as the broader Canadian community.

Michael HelanderMichael Helander (EngSci 0T7, MSE PhD 1T2, ChemE PDF 1T4) is President and CEO of OTI Lumionics Inc., an advanced materials company he cofounded during his PhD at the University of Toronto in 2011. The company commercializes disruptive materials and process technology for OLED displays and lighting, from headquarters in Toronto and offices in Asia. The company’s technology, based on more than a decade of intensive research and development and backed by a robust intellectual property portfolio, offers substantial savings and performance and lifetime improvements.

Helander received a BSc in Engineering Science and a PhD in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Toronto. He was a visiting scientist at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada and was a Governor General Gold Medal winner, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar, and Chorafas Prize winner. He is also an alumni of the Creative Destruction Lab, the Next Founders, and the Canadian Technology Accelerator.

Learn more about Michael Helander (video)

Angela Tran

Angela Tran (EngSci 0T5, ChemE MASc 0T7, ChemE PhD 1T2) is a native Torontonian who calls San Francisco home, where she is a General Partner at Version One. Investing in the US and Canada, she has a unique perspective on both ecosystems. Angela’s desire to help others and work with people who are bringing about positive transformational change led her to the world of VC, where she quickly made a big impact.

Angela focuses on health/bio, AI/ML, social platforms and other startups leveraging network effects. She is a firm believer that good investing is both value- and data-driven. Prior to Version One, Angela co-launched Insight Data Science, a YC-backed startup designed to help PhDs transition from academic research to careers in industry via a six-week training program.

Angela is a trustee on the board of the Computer History Museum where she chairs the NextGen advisory committee. She is a board member for the C100 and is involved with the Creative Destruction Lab in Vancouver.

Learn more about Angela Tran (video)

7T6 Early Career Award

The Class of 7T6 annually presents the 7T6 Early Career Award to engineering graduates who have attained significant achievement early in their career and shows promise of further contributions. The award is presented to an individual who is distinguished early in their profession, community, university and other related fields.

Bin LiuBin Liu (CivE 1T4) graduated from the civil engineering program at U of T in 2014, he is the Co-Founder and CEO of iMerciv. iMerciv’s mission is to cater to the orientation and mobility of people living with vison loss. The first product, the Buzzclip is a wearable sensor that help users safely navigate around any objects that they may encounter. It is currently in market and empowering the lives of people with vision loss in over 25 countries.

iMerciv is currently launching Mapinhood with the support of the Microsoft AI for accessibility grant, Mapinhood is a crowdsourced pedestrian navigation app that provides personalized and barrier free navigations for all pedestrians.

 

Learn more about Bin Liu (video)

Malcolm F. McGrath Alumni Achievement Award

Named in honour of Malcolm McGrath on his retirement as assistant dean — alumni liaison, this award recognizes contributions of personal service to the Faculty, the University or to the community. McGrath was the first assistant dean responsible for alumni affairs and development in the Faculty. Among his many accomplishments are the growth of the Annual Fund, the Engineering Open House, the introduction of the Skule™ Stage Band, and the establishment of the Graditude Campaign.

Eric Matusiak

Eric Matusiak (MechE 9T1) is an experienced consultant with a passion for retail and the broader consumer business sector. He has over 20 years of consulting to leading retailers in North America across multiple formats including department stores, specialty apparel, footwear and mass merchandise.  He has worked across all departments and functions from store to back office, enabling him to address client challenges and opportunities from multiple perspectives.

As the National Retail Industry Leader at BDO, Eric leads a group of retail and IT professionals who implement ERP, POS, BI and other retail technologies that enrich consumers’ experiences and improve retailers’ business results. Eric also advises retailers on technology strategy and helps organizations manage the process and organizational components of their business to ensure that technologies align to business strategy.

Based in Toronto, Eric is a member of the Retail Council of Canada, an alumni board and committee member at the University of Toronto and alumni mentor at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Learn more about Eric Matusiak (video)

L.E. (Ted) Jones Award of Distinction

This award was established to acknowledge the contributions of Professor Emeritus L.E. (Ted) Jones and is in recognition of the contributions over his long and distinguished career to students, alumni and the Faculty. It also pays tribute to his continuing support and dedication to the Engineering Society and the Engineering Alumni Network (EAN) of the University of Toronto. The award endorses Jones’ great appreciation of the arts and his love of music.

Kate SohnKate Sohn (EngSci 1T9 + PEY) was exceptionally dedicated to music and dance during her time at U of T, often fulfilling not only artistic roles but also positions of leadership and mentorship in the community. While regularly performing as a violinist in various orchestras and chamber ensembles, she also directed Skule Orchestra as Managing Director and Concertmaster. She often volunteered as an independent musician, most notably for events hosted by the Division of Engineering Science.

As a freelance composer, her composition has been featured in an animated short which was accepted to the Reel Asian International Film Festival 2019. She began her dance training in university and performed with community and competition teams whose styles ranged from hip-hop, jazz funk, heels, street and K-Pop cover. Kate hopes to continue to nurture her passion for both music and dance alongside a career in medical devices.

Learn more about Kate Sohn (video)

Honourary Member of the EAN

Acknowledges the exceptional contributions of an individual who is not a member of the EAN but has contributed in a very significant way to bettering the Faculty, the EAN and/or the lives of current or future members of the EAN.

Cristina Amon

Cristina Amon is Alumni Distinguished Professor in Bioengineering and Dean Emerita at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. Under her leadership, Canada’s #1 ranked engineering school has become a global hub for inter-disciplinary research and education known for its strategic Faculty-wide initiatives, cross-Faculty centres and institutes, and innovative undergraduate and graduate programming. Her commitment to outreach and diversity has set a new standard for Engineering schools worldwide: the number of women faculty members at U of T Engineering has doubled in the last decade and the Faculty celebrated an historic 40% women first-year undergraduate enrolment for its second consecutive year in 2017.

Prior to her deanship at U of T, Amon was the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems at Carnegie Mellon (until 2006). She received her master’s and doctorate degrees from MIT in 1988. Her research pioneered multidisciplinary thermal designs and made ground-breaking innovations to transient thermal management, optimization algorithms for renewable energy, nanoscale transport in semiconductors and biological systems. Her scholarly contributions are published in 16 book chapters and over 350 articles in education and research literature.

She has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Hispanic Engineer Hall of Fame, National Academy of Engineering, Royal Academy of Spain and Royal Society of Canada, and elected fellow of all major professional societies in her fields. Additional accolades include the ASEE Westinghouse Medal, ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award and SWE Achievement Award, the highest honour.

Professor Amon received the Engineers Canada Award for the Support of Women in 2010, was named one of the YWCA’s Women of Distinction in 2011 and one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential Women in 2012, and received the Ontario Professional Engineers Gold Medal in 2015 – the most prestigious honour for engineering public service, technical excellence and professional leadership.

Learn more about Cristina Amon (video)

 


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