Posts Tagged: extra-curricular

Making the most of an unusual semester: How EngSci students are adapting to remote learning

Left to right: Brothers Arnaud Deza (Year 3 EngSci), Daniel Deza (Year 1 EngSci) and Gabriel Deza (Year 4 EngSci) are all studying from home this semester. Their sister Anna Deza (EngSci 2T0) joins them online. (Photo: Emmanuel Deza)

 

Like students around the world, U of T Engineering students have had to find new and creative ways to manage their studies and extra-curricular activities during this challenging and unusual Fall term.

See the different ways EngSci students have adapted to a remote academic year in this story in the U of T Engineering News.


Nine EngSci student-athletes earn academic honours in 2019-20

Varsity Blues Top Scholar AthleteCongratulations to the EngSci student-athletes who will receive University of Toronto Varsity Blues pins for achieving an average of 80% or higher during the 2019-20 season.  They are:

Cameron Haigh (Fencing)
Ben Mucsi (Fencing)
Johnathan Zimmerman (Fencing)
Grant Lau (Golf)
Rassam Yazdi (Tennis)
Kimberly Lai (Tennis)
Lia Codrington (Cross Country)
Jacob Weber (Curling)
Martin Licht (Volleyball)

Special congratulations to Ben Mucsi, who was selected as the 2019-20 University of Toronto Varsity Blues Top Scholar Athlete, OUA Male!

Learn more about the pins they will receive here.


Three-peat victory: U of T Engineering team wins AutoDrive Challenge, Year Three

Zeus, shown here outside the Myhal Centre in October 2019, is a self-driving car designed and built by aUToronto, a student-led team from U of T Engineering. This week, aUToronto placed first overall in the three-year AutoDrive Challenge, an intercollegiate competition between eight top engineering schools across North America. (Photo: Liz Do)

 

By Tyler Irving

aUToronto has placed first in an intercollegiate challenge to transform an electric car into a self-driving one — their third consecutive win.

“All of us take pride in the work that we have done at aUToronto,” says Jingxing “Joe” Qian (EngSci 1T8 + PEY, UTIAS MASc candidate), Team Lead for aUToronto. “The competition results clearly reflect the high calibre and dedication of the team.”

The team also took the top overall prize for the most cumulative points over the three years of the AutoDrive Challenge. Second place went to Texas A & M, with Virginia Tech scoring third. The other schools in the competition were: University of Waterloo, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, North Carolina A&T State, and Kettering University.

The AutoDrive Challenge began in 2017, when each of the student-led teams was provided with a brand-new electric vehicle, a Chevrolet Bolt. Their task was to convert it into an autonomous vehicle, meeting yearly milestones along the way.

Sponsors of the AutoDrive include General Motors, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and a number of other companies that produce hardware and software for self-driving cars.

The U of T team took the top spot at the first meet of the competition, held in the spring of 2018 at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Yuma, Ariz. In the second year, they again placed first at the competition, which took place in MCity, a simulated town for self-driving vehicle testing, built at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The third yearly meet was originally scheduled to take place last spring at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio. However, it was postponed and reorganized due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The goal of this year’s challenge was to simulate an autonomous ride-sharing scenario,” says Qian. “That means the car needed to arrive at a sequence of pre-determined address points and perform pseudo pick-up and drop-off behaviours. The routes would have been much longer and more complex compared with Year 2.”

In the absence of a live event, the organizers used what are known as “static event” scores, which are based on reports and presentations that the teams could submit remotely. These included an analysis of the social responsibility aspects of the project, the overall conceptual design and the results of a number of sophisticated computer simulations.

Qian says that the latest iteration of Zeus includes a number of enhancements, including improvements in perception, path planning and GPS-free localization. To make them, the aUToronto team overcame numerous challenges, not the least of which was coordinating more than 50 team members who were working remotely on the project.

“We are located in many different places around the world, so team building and organization becomes extremely important,” says Qian. “We have weekly meetings online where sub-team leads present their updates to the rest of the team, and we have also been planning virtual paper talks and knowledge sharing sessions.”

“aUToronto has been focused on putting together a top-notch self driving car for three years now,” says Keenan Burnett (EngSci 1T6+PEY, UTIAS MASc candidate), who served as aUToronto’s Team Lead through the first two years of the AutoDrive Challenge. “This win is the result of hundreds of hours of work by our team.”

“As a faculty advisor, I have watched with awe as the 100%-student-run team really seized this unique opportunity,” says Professor Tim Barfoot (UTIAS). Barfoot, along with Professor Angela Schoellig (UTIAS) is one of the two co-Faculty Leads of the team. He also serves as Associate Director of the University of Toronto Robotics Institute and the Chair of the Robotics Option offered by the Division of Engineering Science.

“Robotics is a very hands-on discipline, so experiences such as the AutoDrive Challenge are needed to complement classroom learning,” says Barfoot “I am deeply grateful to SAE and GM for organizing this activity and the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering for their ongoing support through the Dean’s Strategic Fund.   I feel our graduates are better prepared to head into the exciting field of autonomous vehicles than perhaps anywhere in the world at this moment in time.  The fact that we won the competition is a bonus.”

The competition has been rolled into a fourth year, with a live meet set to take place sometime in 2021, again at MCity in Ann Arbour, Mich.

“We’re very proud the results of this third-year competition and looking forward to raising the bar yet again at the fourth-year competition,” says Burnett. “Although we’re disappointed we didn’t get to show off our autonomous functions this year, we’re looking forward to going back to MCity and demonstrating our Level 4 self-driving car.”

But aUToronto is also thinking beyond the end of the AutoDrive Challenge.

“We’ve always said we do not want to design a system that is specific towards this competition,” says Qian. “Our goal is to achieve full autonomy under many different scenarios.”

This story was originally posted in the U of T Engineering News.


EngSci’s 2020 Student Award Winners

June 1, 2020

Graduating EngSci students Ben Mucsi, Lia Codrington, Rosemary Jose, and Victoria Cheng are this year’s award recipients in recognition of their service to their communities.

 

Four outstanding graduating students are the recipients of EngSci’s 2020 student awards in recognition of the significant impact of their volunteer work within and outside of the university community. Students were nominated by their peers.

The Spirit of EngSci Award and the Engineers for the World (E4TW) Award are presented to graduating students for exemplary non-academic contributions within the University or the community-at-large, respectively.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ben, Lia, Rosemary and Victoria as this year’s winners of the Spirit of EngSci Award and Engineers for the World (E4TW) Award,” says Professor Will Cluett, EngSci Interim Chair.  “These are the Division’s most prestigious, non-academic awards made to graduating EngSci students who have made outstanding contributions to their communities both inside the University and beyond.”

Spirit of EngSci Award

Victoria Cheng (1T9 PEY) has worked tirelessly to promote diversity at Canadian universities and to provide students of all types with opportunities for growth. Through her extensive involvement in Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and as Chair of its flagship WISE National Conference, she greatly increased student engagement by expanding the diversity of speakers, and launched several initiatives such as the Stories of WISE blog. As an executive for NSpire she organized networking nights for professionals and students from five universities across Ontario. She is passionate about exposing engineering students to global issues, and led the expansion of Global Engineering Week to the University of British Columbia. Outside of her leadership involvement, Victoria has also been an informal mentor to many. “Victoria’s ambition to support and create opportunities for others is exceptional,” says nominator Bohan Zhang (1T9 PEY). “Her advice and guidance have helped me secure internships abroad, which has drastically improved my career path.”

Read more about Victoria.

His classmates joke that Ben Mucsi (1T9 PEY) chose energy as his major for a reason—he never seems to run out of it! He has been a supportive presence for Skulemates since first becoming an NSight mentor, helping first year students adjust to university life. During his time in EngSci, he served as Vice President of Finance and Interim Chair of the EngSci Club. As 2019 Orientation Chair he coordinated the largest engineering Orientation Week to date, with a focus on inclusion. An accomplished Varsity Athlete on the fencing team, Ben served as External Director, Tournaments Director, and Vice President Administration of the Engineering Athletic Association. He was also the sponsorship lead for Blue Sky Solar Racing, helping to raise significant amounts of monetary and material donations. “Every day that I’ve known him, Ben has shown me how leadership means working in service of others,” says nominator Khadija Rana (Year 4).

Read more about Ben.

Engineers for the World (E4TW) Award

As a Junior Fellow with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Lia Codrington (1T9PEY) spent a summer helping students tackle health care and food security problems in Ghana more efficiently. Her deep interest in improving the relationships between engineers and indigenous peoples led her to establish EWB’s Indigenous Reconciliation Portfolio, educating students on how to collaborate with and support Indigenous peoples. She contributed to a design project developing compost and water systems for Cat Lake First Nation’s new greenhouse, used her thesis and capstone projects to work on housing challenges in First Nation communities. In 2019, she traveled to Iqaluit to take part in the Arctic Youth Ambassador Caucus. “Whenever she talks about these projects, I can see her eyes light up,” says nominator Kimberly Lai (1T9 PEY Aerospace). “You can clearly see how dedicated she is to use her engineering skills to help others and do something meaningful.” In addition to her involvement in EWB, Lia was also a Varsity Athlete and was an executive of Blues Engineering for 3 years.

Read more about Lia.

Rosemary Jose (1T9 PEY) is passionate about renewable energy and climate change issues. She has served on the boards of several environmental organizations, including Toronto Green Community and Waterlution, where she co-created the Great Waters Challenge. Through her roles with these and other organizations, she supported local non-profits and businesses towards their goals of improving our environment. “She has had such a positive influence on the people around her,” says nominator Najah Hassan (1T9 PEY). “She has encouraged other students to pursue interests and paths within engineering that were meaningful to them and could add value to the things they saw as important.”

Read more about Rosemary.


EngSci alumni help Human Powered Vehicle Design Team sets world record

Sept. 26, 2019


From left to right, Professor Jun Nogami (MSE, EngSci 8T0), Jack Yu (Year 3 MSE), Trefor Evans (EngSci 1T4, UTIAS PhD Candidate), Calvin Moes (EngSci 1T3 + PEY, MSE PhD candidate), Evan Bennewies (EngSci 1T8 + PEY), and Luke Patterson (MechE 1T9 + PEY) standing behind their human-powered tandem vehicle (Photo: D. Guthrie)

 

This month, Friday the 13th was a lucky day for U of T Engineering’s Human Powered Vehicle Design Team (HPVDT), as they broke the world record for tandem biking at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC).

Learn how EngSci alumni helped the team shatter their previous record with a top speed of 120.2 km/hr.

Interested in technical work outside the classroom? 
Find a list student design teams and clubs here.


Year 4 EngSci student travels the worlds as Sidewalk Fellow

EngSci student Paul Seufert, second from left, pictured with fellow Sidewalk Fellows, from left to right, Keisha St. Louis-McBurnie, Carol Yeung and Sharly Chan (photo by Romi Levine)

 

Paul Seufert (Year 4) is one of four U of T students who spent this summer on a global fact finding mission as part of a fellowship program that could have a lasting impact on urban policy.

The program was organized by Sidewalk Toronto, a private-public partnership that aims to use advanced technology to improve life in the city.  The twelve students in the program were selected from over 650 applicants and are tasked with helping to inform what a new waterfront neighbourhood in Toronto might look like.  The city’s proposed Quayside community is a joint project between government and Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet (which also owns Google).

The students visited cities across North America and Europe to gather creative ideas for effective solutions to urban issues.  Stops included Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Boston, New York and Vancouver.

Read more about Paul’s experiences and the Sidewalk Fellows’ work.


This drone’s got “pickup”

Several EngSci students were part of the first place team at a national drone competition that set a tough challenge: finding birds’ nests and retrieving an egg from one of them.

The University of Toronto Aerospace Team (UTAT) took top prize with it’s two-drone system at the Unmanned Systems Canada Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Student Competition.

Read more about the challenges they faced.


Jonathan Sun: Engineer, architect, social media sensation

Alumnus Jonathan Sun

Alumnus Jonathan Sun (1T1 PEY)

 

City builder? Cultural commentator? Hip-hop aficionado? It’s impossible to label Jonathan Sun (EngSci 1T1 + PEY). He’s trained as an engineer, interdisciplinary architect, visual artist, writer, performer and comedian. He may be best known by his Twitter alias “jomny sun, aliebn confuesed abot humamn lamgauge.” His tweets, which the The Yale Herald has described as “sometimes funny and sometimes moving, but usually both” have earned him more than 130,000 followers and a steady stream of media coverage.

Sun completed a Master of Architecture at Yale University. There he studied the emergence of graffiti culture in New York and designed a city block in a master-planned project near Brasilia, Brazil. He also found time to write and workshop a one-act play called Fried Mussels at the Yale School of Drama, and create an installation entitled The Light Column for the New Haven ArtSpace gallery. Upon graduation from Yale, he was awarded the William Edward Parsons Memorial Medal for his distinctive work in city planning.

Sun is currently pursuing a PhD in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “I just started my thesis, but at this point my idea is to examine the use of Twitter as a way to understand how the public experiences cities,” he says. For example, analysing tweets could provide city planners with useful feedback on whether public transit is working efficiently, or help them discover new uses for derelict urban spaces. The combination of social media, data science, analysis, design and engineering is a perfect match for Sun’s unique skill set.

Read the full article here.


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