Posts Tagged: alumni

EngSci alumni and students among 2023 EAN Awards recipients

EAN Award Recipients Group Photo

 

This year, twelve U of T alumni and students were honored with the 2023 Engineering Alumni Network Awards. Engineering Science is proud to announce that three of the EAN Awards recipients were from EngSci.  Jonathan P. How (EngSci 8T7) and Doug Sinclair (EngSci 9T7) received the Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction Award, and Mackenzie Seward (EngSci 2T2) received the L.E. (Ted) Jones Award of Distinction.

 

Meet the EngSci EAN Awards recipients:


Jonathan P. How, EngSci 8T7
Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction Award

Jonathan P. How is the Richard C. Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received a B.A.Sc. (Aerospace) from the University of Toronto in 1987, and his S.M. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 1990 and 1993, respectively, and then studied for 1.5 years at MIT as a postdoctoral associate. Prior to joining MIT in 2000, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University.

Dr. How was the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Control Systems Magazine (2015-19), an associate editor for the AIAA Journal of Aerospace Information Systems (2012-21) and IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems (2018-21). He was the Program Vice-chair (tutorials) for the 2021 Conference on Decision and Control and will be the Program Chair for the American Control Conference in 2025. He was elected to the Board of Governors of the IEEE Control System Society (CSS) for 2020-22, is on the IEEE CSS Long Range Planning Committee (2022 – ), is a member of the IEEE CSS Technical Committee on Aerospace Control and the Technical Committee on Intelligent Control, was a member of the IEEE Fellows Selection committee for CSS (2021-22), and since 2021, he serves as the AIAA Director on the American Automatic Control Council. He is also the Director of the Ford-MIT Alliance and was a member of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) from 2014-17.

His research focuses on robust planning and learning under uncertainty with an emphasis on multiagent systems, and he was the planning and control lead for the MIT DARPA Urban Challenge team. His work has been recognized with multiple awards, including receiving the 2020 IEEE CSS Distinguished Member Award, the 2020 AIAA Intelligent Systems Award, the 2015 AeroLion Technologies Outstanding Paper Award for Unmanned Systems, the 2015 IEEE CSS Video Clip Contest, the 2011 IFAC Automatica award for best applications paper, and the 2002 Institute of Navigation Burka Award. He also received the Air Force Commander’s Public Service Award in 2017. He is a Fellow of IEEE (2018) and AIAA (2016) and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2021.

 


Doug Sinclair, EngSci 9T7
Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction Award

Doug has spent his career in the space industry and is privileged to have more than 100 satellites on-orbit today. After graduating from Engineering Science – Aerospace Option, Doug completed a MSc in Satellite Engineering from the University of Surrey in the UK. He then joined Dynacon Enterprises as an Electronics Engineer. At Dynacon he designed and built the power system for the MOST space telescope, as well as the attitude-control computers and reaction wheels for NASA’s CHIPSat. Doug then founded Sinclair Interplanetary, a company that designed and built components for spacecraft. Sinclair Interplanetary grew quickly from a sole operation to a 10-person business supplying components for hundreds of satellites. In 2020, they were acquired by Rocket Lab, where Doug now holds the position of Engineering Fellow and Vice-President at Rocket Lab. A committed supporter of the Canadian space industry, Doug mentors young engineers and entrepreneurs through the Creative Destruction Lab.

 


Mackenzie Seward, EngSci 2T2
L.E. (Ted) Jones Award of Distinction

Mackenzie’s love for the performing arts has driven her to be involved in many aspects of the SkuleTM community. In her first year at U of T, she participated in SkuleTM’s Got Talent, both in a performance with the Skule Dance Club and with a solo singing and piano performance. She later joined Skule Nite and was a part of their team for four years. Her roles as Vocal Director, cast member, and most recently as Assistant Producer, gave her the opportunity to get involved in musical sketch comedy production, both for theatrical and filmed performances. Mackenzie’s time working alongside her peers to create art has been one of the highlights of her time at U of T, and she hopes to remain involved in the performing arts while pursuing her engineering career.

 

Read more about the EAN Awards and award winners here. 


My path from EngSci to Law School to Securities Regulation

Yan Kiu Chan (EngSci – Comp 0T3 + PEY)

Yan Kiu holds a B.A.Sc. (EngSci – Comp 0T3 + PEY) from the University of Toronto and an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2008. In her spare time, Yan Kiu enjoys spending time with her two daughters, staying active, and exploring new places with her family.

Read more about Yan Kiu Chan here and submit a question to him before the conference.

Years 1 and 2 EngSci students:  T-cards will be scanned to take attendance.


Fireside chats with ESEC speakers

ESEC 2020 Fireside Chats

All EngSci students are invited to meet the ESEC 2023 speakers in small groups for informal chats.

Registration required!  Register here.

EngSci alumni volunteers will facilitate the conversations, but these are meant to be unstructured and open chats where students can ask any career- or life-related questions.

You’ll have the chance to move between speakers to meet as many as you like.

 


Engineering Research Day showcases the role of engineers in addressing sustainability issues

people chatting at poster display booths at Engineering Research Day

An attendee stops at an Engineering Research Day booth, which featured research institutes from across U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering (photo by Dewey Chang)

 

By Safa Jinje

Students, alumni, faculty members and industry professionals recently came together to highlight the impact of innovative research and collaborations happening across the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering during the second annual Engineering Research Day.

This year’s theme – Building a Sustainable Future – spotlighted the unique role of engineering professionals in designing solutions to address everything from climate change and transportation to health care and beyond.

“The engineering skill of being able to identify, unpack and solve a problem is our ‘secret sauce,’” said alumna Sandra Odendahl during a fireside chat with Chris Yip, dean of U of T Engineering.

Odendahl is senior vice-president and head of sustainability and diversity at BDC, a bank that supports small and medium-sized businesses. In helping to open the event, she shared how she was able to combine her engineering education and background in environmental impact assessment to tackle sustainability, equity and access issues in the financial sector.

The event also featured a second fireside chat with alumna Laura Burget, co-founder of Three Ships Beauty, as well as four panel discussions on the various intersections between engineering and sustainability.

Many of the questions raised throughout the day focused on the challenges facing sustainability initiatives, including how to change consumer behaviour, how to educate the next generation of engineers in a shifting landscape and how to ask the right questions when designing sustainable solutions.

 

Five panelists and moderator sitting on stage during a panel discussion

Engineering Research Day featured four panels on the intersections between engineering and sustainability, including “Climate Positive and Sustainable Campus” (photo by Dewey Chang)

 

During the day’s final panel – Climate Positive and Sustainable Campus – the conversation shifted towards the idea of learning how to learn, and how that thought process could be applied to building sustainable buildings and spaces.

“We need to constantly be rethinking what it is that we are designing, who we are designing for, where we are designing,” said alumna Priscilla Chew, principal of Purpose Building, Inc., which develops sustainable operational solutions for its clients.

While last year’s event was fully remote, this year’s programming was hybrid – both in-person and online attendees could engage with research institutes such as the Centre for Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Engineering (CARTE), the Southern Ontario Centre for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR), the Institute for Water Innovation (IWI) and the Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) to learn more about the collaborations and investigations happening across engineering disciplines.

“Engineering Research Day is a great opportunity to see the breadth and depth of the sustainability research and boundary-pushing education happening across our Faculty,” says Yip.

“From new ways to harvest and store energy from the sun and wind, to cleaner, more efficient engines that can run on biofuels, to designing better ways to move people through cities, the event illustrated how our students and researchers work well beyond the borders of our campus to create a brighter future for all.”


EngSci alumnus Alfred Aho elected to the National Academy of Sciences

photo of Alred Aho sitting at an office desk with textbooks, one of which is titled Compilers

Photo credit: Eileen Barroso

By Brandon Wesseling

Professor Alfred Aho (EngSci 6T3) was recently elected as a member to the distinguished National Academy of Sciences for his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Alfred V. Aho, the Lawrence Gussman Professor Emeritus of computer science at the Columbia University, is known for his broad and fundamental contributions in algorithm design and analysis, and programming languages and compilers, which translate human-written code into a form that machines can execute. With his longtime collaborator Jeffrey Ullman (SEAS’63), a professor emeritus at Stanford, Aho received computing’s highest honor, the Turing Award, in 2020. Before joining Columbia Engineering in 1995, Aho spent more than three decades at Bell Labs, helping to run the lab that invented UNIX, C, and C++.


Meet our alumni: Adam Rosenfield (1T5) helps remake our cities to save our planet

photo of Adam Rosenfeld wearing a bike helmet standing next to a lake with a bicycle in the background

Adam Rosenfield (EngSci 1T5) is a transportation policy advisor in Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.

Adam Rosenfield (EngSci 1T5) likes to look at the big picture, and that’s what led him to earn degrees in both engineering and urban planning. Today, as a senior policy advisor in Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, he draws on his expertise in both fields to tackle the province’s number 1 emitting sector—transportation. And the big picture is a sustainable, equitable future.

Read a conversation with Rosenfield about his career path, his commitment to a sustainable future, and how he is helping to develop new curriculum options for engineering students.


Improving water equity in India: EngSci alumnus funded by U of T’s Data Sciences Institute

 

Photo of an urban street in India with a woman standing next to pipe coming out of the ground from which water is flowing into a blue barrel.

As part of their research on water equity in India, a multi-disciplinary team at U of T will examine water distribution infrastructure, such as this tube well seen in New Delhi, India in 2017. (Photo: iStock)

 

EngSci alumnus David Meyer (1T1) is an assistant professor in U of T’s Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering and the Centre for Global Engineering whose research focuses on how urban water distribution infrastructure behaves in Mega Cities in the Global South.

He and his multidisciplinary colleagues have received one of 17 Research Catalyst Funding Grants through U of T’s Data Sciences Institute (DSI).

Read how they are using data visualization to study how access to water could be improved in urban India.


‘He’d be thrilled to see this’: Alumnus’ pioneering work helps inspire U of T’s massive geoexchange project

rendering showing aerial view of the front campus with cutaway showing geothermal exchange infrastucture of long vertical pipes in the ground

As part of the Climate Positive Campus initiative, the area beneath Front Campus will be used for a large-scale ground source heat pump — a technology pioneered in part by MIE Professor Frank Hooper (EngPhys 4T6). (Photo courtesy: U of T Facilities & Services)

By Tyler Irving

When Jim Wallace (MIE) joined the University of Toronto back in 1978, one of the first people he met was Frank Hooper (EngPhys 4T6).

“I took over a course that Frank had been teaching a while, and he was gracious enough to give me a copy of his notes,” says Wallace, a professor emeritus of mechanical and industrial engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “Not long after that, he and his wife had me over for dinner. He was so supportive and helpful to the new guy.”

Hooper, who was also a professor emeritus of mechanical and industrial engineering, died in May 2021. He was an accomplished researcher in energy systems – and his legacy includes seminal work on ground-source heat pumps. Today that technology is being demonstrated on an unprecedented scale as U of T constructs Canada’s largest urban geoexchange system at the heart of its St. George campus, which is being built in connection with the ongoing Landmark Project.

Read the full story in the U of T News.

 

 


EngSci alumni Tony Chan Carusone and Joyce Poon named IEEE Fellows

photos of Professors Tony Chan Carusone and Joyce Poon in offices

Professors Tony Chan Carusone and Joyce Poon have been named Fellows of the IEEE. (Photo: Chan Carusone; Poon by Katja Woldt)

 

By Matthew Tierney

The world’s largest technical professional organization, IEEE, has named its Fellows for 2022 — including ECE Professors Tony Chan Carusone (EngSci 9T6 PEY) and Joyce Poon (EngSci 0T2). IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership, given to those whose outstanding accomplishments in engineering, science and technology have shown significant value to society.

Chan Carusone, who is cited for ‘contributions to integrated circuits for digital communication,’ realized early in his career that his research in communication and control systems would have the most impact in the context of microchip design.

“That is where the rubber meets the road in electrical and computer engineering,” he says. “And I saw digital communication technologies as the most transformative technology of our age.”

The connective tissue of our high-speed digital world is the integrated circuit (IC) — the microchip — and designing faster ICs with greater reach and reliability impacts a myriad of fields: everything from digital communication to imaging and machine learning.

One can draw a direct line between efficiency gains in micro- and nanoscale IC design to vast, impactful areas such as sustainability, Chan Carusone says.

“For the past ten years I’ve been working to lower the power consumption of the microelectronics that handle our communication traffic, with hopes of reducing our footprint on the planet.”

Over his career, his research has earned him seven best-paper awards at IEEE conferences, and he’s served on many editorial boards and technical program committees of the world’s leading journals. He co-authored the textbook Analog Integrated Circuit Design and recently took up the torch from Professors Adel Sedra and K.C. Smith (EngSci 5T4) to co-author the 8th edition of the classic textbook, Microelectronic Circuits.

Professor Poon’s research focuses on a different medium of transmission: not electrons, but photons. Cited by IEEE for ‘contributions to integrated photonics on silicon and resonant microphotonic devices,’ she looks to advance computing and reduce power consumption by using light from the infrared wavelength to the visible spectrum.

“What drives me and my research is envisioning what computers will be like in ten years or so,” Poon says. “Quantum computing, neuromorphic computing, wearable displays, and eventually brain interfaces are all part of that future. I see photonics taking computing technology into new directions.”

She mentions her past work with silicon photonic foundries, which demonstrated how photonic integrated circuits (PICs) could enable new devices and functionalities, as one of her proudest accomplishments to date.

In 2018, Poon was named a Director of the renowned Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Germany, heading the new department of Nanophotonics, Integration, and Neural Technology. She regularly serves on technical program committees and is a Director-at-Large of Optica (formerly known as the Optical Society).

While their research interests may have followed different paths, Chan Carusone and Poon share beginnings as undergrads in University of Toronto’s Division of Engineering Science. When reflecting on their elevation to IEEE Fellow, they both mention the people they’ve been fortunate to work with, learn from, and teach.

“I am deeply honoured by the elevation and cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am for the many team members and collaborators who make the work possible,” says Poon. “This recognition shines a spotlight on our team, our ideas and our efforts over the years.”

Chan Carusone adds, “The most inspiring and innovative people I’ve encountered are IEEE Fellows, and I’m proud to count myself among them. But I’m most proud of seeing my grad students accomplish amazing things during and after their degree.”

Professor Deepa Kundur, Chair of ECE, sees Chan Carusone and Poon as part of the continuity of excellence in the department. “The commitment and talent that they bring to their work exemplify the ideals of engineering: bettering society while mentoring the next generation. Sincere congratulations to Tony and Joyce on this prestigious recognition.”

This story was originally published in the ECE News.

 


EngSci alumnus establishes fellowships to support research in AI and robotics

Photo of EngSci alumnus Steven Truong

Steven Truong and his company VinBrain have created eight new fellowships which will provide undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to catalyze research at the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics

 

Steven Truong (EngSci 8T9) was just 17 when he moved to Canada from Vietnam in the 1980s to study Engineering Science at U of T.  Now the successful computer engineer and entrepreneur is giving back to U of T Engineering by supporting undergraduate and graduate research in AI and robotics related to Smart Cities, Smart Health and the Internet of Things.

Truong believes that each of us has the power to leave this place better than we found it. After more than 12 years as a senior leader in artificial intelligence (AI) at Microsoft, he recently a founded VinBrain to use AI to help create more equitable healthcare.

 

Screenshot of a chest x-ray and the AI-based app developed by Steven Truong's company.

VinBrain has developed an AI-based assistant to help radiologists detect diseases faster and more accurately. (Photo courtesy: Steven Truong)

 

As AI and robotics play an ever-increasing role in our daily lives, Truong believes U of T Engineering students are in prime position to have a significant positive impact by applying technology to improve the lives of people around the world.

With a donation of $130,000 he and his company have created the VinBrain AI Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships and the VinBrain AI Graduate Student Fellowships. These fellowships will provide funding to undergraduate students and PhD students working with U of T’s many experts in these areas, including in the Centre for Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Engineering (CARTE) and the University of Toronto Robotics Institute.

Learn more about Steven Truong and his motivation to support U of T Engineering.

“Being able to spend the summer in internationally renowned research groups working at the leading edge is an invaluable experience for undergraduate engineering students,” says Professor Will Cluett, EngSci’s Director. “We are very grateful to Steven Truong for establishing these fellowships and encouraging students to apply their skills to improving the lives of others.”


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