Posts Tagged: honours & awards

Former EngSci Chair Rod Tennyson inducted into EAN Hall of Distinction

Two photos of Prof. Tennyson: on the left a black and white picture of the UTIAS team that helped the Apollo 13 mission gathered around a table in a classroom with chalkboard in the background; on the right a photo of Prof. Tennyson today.

Professor Emeritus Rod Tennyson (second from left in the left picture) was part of a team from the U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies that helped the Apollo 13 mission land safely.

 

Members of the U of T Engineering community were recognized on November 4 at the virtual 2021 Engineering Alumni Network (EAN) Awards Ceremony. Alumni and friends from around the world joined the lively evening to honour eleven graduates and students for their outstanding professional achievements and contributions to their communities.

Professor Emeritus and former EngSci Chair Rod Tennyson (EngSci 6T0, UTIAS MASc 6T1, PhD 6T5) was inducted into the EAN Hall of Distinction, an assembly of extraordinary alumni, selected for membership by their peers for their lifelong accomplishments. Located in the Sandford Fleming Building, the Hall of Distinction is a familiar daily presence in the lives of students and is often visited by alumni and their families.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Rod on receiving this recognition and thank him for his many contributions to U of T Engineering,” says Professor Will Cluett, Director of the Division of Engineering Science.

Tennyson has been a pioneering leader in aerospace engineering research and education and over the course of his career spearheaded the creation of new research, entrepreneurship, and teaching initiatives.

In 1970, while still a junior professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), Tennyson was part of the U of T team that helped Apollo 13 land safely after experiencing critical damage from an explosion during a mission to the moon.

He became a full professor in 1974, and served as Chair of the Division of Engineering Science from 1982-1985 .

He was later appointed Director of UTIAS for two terms, from 1985 – 1995. Under his leadership a new wing was added to UTIAS facilities to accommodate new research areas. He also implemented a new program that provided incubation laboratory space for start-up companies formed by graduate students.  He was appointed founding Director of the University of Toronto’s Government Research Infrastructure Program (GRIP) office , helping to secure over $400 million dollars in funding for researchers across the University over just four years.

He was a Founding Member of the International Space University (ISU) headquartered in Strasbourg, France, and President of the Canadian Foundation for ISU (CFISU) from its inception
in 1987 to 2001. He has also served as a consultant to the Federal Government in the early creation of the Ministry of State for Science and Technology, and as member of the first
Canadian Defence Science Advisory Board.

Tennyson has been a Board member of the Canadian Institute for Aerospace Research and the federal Centre of Excellence, Intelligent Structures for Innovative Systems, and served as Board member and Interim Director of the Ontario provincial Centre of Excellence, the Institute for Space and Terrestrial Science.

Over the last decade, Tennyson has focused his engineering and leadership expertise on bringing clean drinking water to tens of millions of people in the Sahel region of Africa.  He has worked tirelessly to bring the 8,000-kilometre Trans-Africa Pipeline (TAP) to reality in the hopes of alleviating human suffering and environmental degradation.


U of T student success at U.S.-based ECIC competition

The CECA U of T presentation team (left to right): Yiyang Hu (Year 3 CivE), Sarah De Sousa (Year 4 CivE), Joanna Melnyk (Year 4 EngSci), Zhiyuan Zhu (Year 4 Architecture), Ruth Zachariah (Year 4 CivE) and Lina Mollazadeh (Year 3 CivE). (Photo by Ruth Zachariah)

By Phill Snel

Students, representing the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA) U of T Chapter, were recognized for their success at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Electrical Contracting Innovation Challenge (ECIC) held Saturday, October 9.

The team won the Most Innovative proposal and placed third overall in the competition, behind Iowa State and Wayne State University.

CECA U of T is the first and only Canadian student chapter, with a team consisting of some 30 members comprised of a range of Engineering and Architecture students, who worked on the four-month design proposal from January to April 2021. CECA U of T was selected in July 2021 as one of the top three finalists.

The finals were held on October 9, 2021, where six U of T Team Leads / Members from every sub-team delivered an oral presentation virtually to the in-person event in Nashville, Tennessee. The presenters included Joanna Melnyk (Year 4 EngSci – Building Energy Management Team Lead), Ruth Zachariah (Year 4 CivE – Smart Building Design Team Lead), Sarah De Sousa (Year 4 CivE – Community Engagement Coordinator), Aaron Hu (Year 3 CivE – Team Member for Lighting sub-team), Lina Mollazadeh (Year 3 CivE – Project Management Team Lead) and Zhiyuan (Scott) Zhu (Year 4 Architecture – Building Information Team Lead). The team took direction from their faculty advisor Ian Sinclair, a CivMin sessional instructor.

“We did our best, given that we presented virtually by video from Toronto, while the other finalists were in Nashville for this year’s in-person conference,” says Zachariah.

The ECIC is an annual case competition run by Electric International and NECA Student that provides university students and faculty advisors an opportunity to actively engage with a range of industry professional and other Student Chapters. This year’s competition focused on designing an innovative, and efficient electrical system, based on NECA-approved construction documents and building information models, for a new student dorm residence that would meet the needs of future UofT students.

This story was originally posted on the CivMin website.

 


‘Creating meaningful change’: International Pearson Scholar joins EngSci

photo of Angel

 

Year 1 EngSci student Angel Rajotia is among three Pearson Scholars joined U of T Engineering this fall.

The Pearson Scholarships recognize exceptional academic achievement, creativity, leadership potential and community involvement among international students. The award covers tuition, books and incidental fees for four years.

Hailing from India, Rajotia was attracted to EngSci’s interdisciplinary nature as it allows her to combine her interests in science, engineering, and the humanities. She is keen to apply her education to create meaningful change for underserved segments of the global population.

Read more about Rajotia and why she chose to study in EngSci in the U of T Engineering 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.”


Are you interested in supporting students in the Division of Engineering Science?
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Building tech solutions for an inclusive future: Meet EngSci’s 2021 Schulich Leaders

2021 Schulich Leaders Lisa Bera, Andrew Magnuson, and Kevin Qu

(Photos courtesy: Lisa Bera, Andrew Magnuson, and Kevin Qu)

 

First year students Lisa Bera, Andrew Magnuson, and Kevin Qu (pictured above) are among five U of T Engineering recipients of a 2021 Schulich Leader Scholarship.

Since their founded in 2011 by philanthropist Seymour Schulich these awards have recognized Canadian high-school graduates who exemplify academic excellence, community leadership and a passion for STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This year ten U of T students earned scholarships valued at $80,000 for science, technology or mathematics students and $100,000 for engineering students. The award also includes membership in the growing Schulich Leaders Network of successful alumni.

Learn more about what motivates EngSci’s recipients of this prestigious award—full story in the U of T Engineering News.


Engineers Canada Awards honour EngSci’s Director

Will Cluett

 

Professor William Cluett (ChemE), Director of the Division of Engineering Science (EngSci), has received one of Engineers Canada’s national awards celebrating engineers who have made distinguished contributions to Canada.  He is the recipient of the Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the education and development of engineering students and to engineering education in Canada.

In addition to his current role as EngSci’s Director, Cluett has served in many key academic leadership roles, including as Chair of the Division from 2005 to 2011, Vice-Dean, First Year (1997-2003), and Vice-Dean, Undergraduate (1998–2003). 

Throughout his tenure, he has developed innovative approaches to engineering education. These include Engineering Strategies and Practice, a foundational first-year design course that introduces students to engineering concepts, and the Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP) for high school students. 

 

Watch Professor William Cluett (ChemE) reflect on engineering education and how engineering can build a better world.

 

Cluett led the development of EngSci’s Engineering Mathematics, Statistics, and Finance major, a unique program in Canada. He also oversaw a significant expansion of the Engineering Science Summer Research Opportunities Program (ESROP) that supports research placements at institutions around the world for approximately 50 EngSci students each year. These impactful initiatives were recognized in 2012 with the University’s Northrop Frye Award for the Integration of Teaching and Research. 

Cluett’s excellence in teaching and dedication to engineering education has been recognized with several awards, including the OCUFA Teaching Award (2020), the President’s Teaching Award (2018) and the Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award (2016). 

Read the full story in the U of T Engineering News.

 


Dedicated alumni volunteers honoured with Spirit of EngSci Alumni Award

Jonathan Chan and Azadeh Mostaghel

Professor Jonathan Chan and Azadeh Mostaghel are the 2021 recipients of the Spirit of EngSci Alumni Award.

 

Two EngSci alumni have received the 2021 Spirit of EngSci Alumni Award in recognition of their outstanding support for the Division’s mission and current students through significant volunteer service.

“On behalf of the Division, I would like to thank this year’s award recipients, Jonathan Chan and Azadeh Mostaghel, for their dedication to the EngSci community,” says EngSci Director, Professor Will Cluett. “Our program’s over 6,300 alumni span the globe and provide invaluable support through mentorship, in-class involvement and philanthropy that is critical to our mission. Our students benefit tremendously from the advice and expertise of those who have gone before them.”

Azadeh Mostaghel (EngSci 1T2, MASc IndE 1T5) has supported students through informal mentorship, her involvement in the Entrepreneurship Hatchery’s NEST program, and as a guest speaker and panelist. She also serves on EngSci’s Honours & Awards Committee, where she helps to identify and nominate outstanding alumni for the annual Engineering Alumni Network Awards, the Faculty’s highest honours for U of T Engineering graduates.

Mostaghel is an entrepreneur interested in the integration of engineering, science, business, and policy to meet our society’s rising healthcare demands. As the founder and CEO of ORCHID Analytics she is developing AI decision tools for more seamless and efficient healthcare operations. Mostaghel has over eight years of experience in healthcare, analyzing data and modeling to support decision-making, quality and process improvement initiatives.

Since 2014 Jonathan Chan (EngSci 8T4, MASc ChemE 8T6, PhD ChemE 9T5) has hosted over 35 EngSci students at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Thailand, as part of the Engineering Science Research Opportunities Program (ESROP). He has worked diligently to create a welcoming and supportive community for the students who spend the summer doing research in labs at the university, including hosting past and incoming summer students at the annual EngSci Alumni Dinner in Toronto.

Chan is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and a co-founder of D-Lab at the School of Information Technology (SIT), KMUTT. He is the Director of the Innovative Cognitive Computing (IC2) Research Center at SIT, and an honorary Visiting Scientist at The Centre for Applied Genomics at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada. He holds an NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute (DLI) University Ambassadorship and is a certified DLI instructor. His research interests include intelligent systems, biomedical informatics, and data science and machine learning in general.

Chan and Mostaghel shared their thoughts on mentorship and why they stay engaged with EngSci.


Why have you remained involved with EngSci and U of T Engineering as an alumna or alumnus?

Chan: I have always kept in touch with the University of Toronto and was a Visiting Professor there a number of occasions. My EngSci 8T4 classmate, Prof. Mark Kortschot, was the EngSci Chair for a period of time and both he and his son had visited me at KMUTT to initiate the ESROP connection. I enjoy working with EngScis and this is an excellent opportunity to interact and shape the new generation.

Mostaghel: Remaining involved in the EngSci community seemed like the natural progression to my involvement as a student. It has also given me the chance to see the new cohort of students, interact with them and watch as they blossom into amazing engineers who want to leave their mark on their community and society at large. I have also been privileged to be introduced to and discover the impact of the alumni who came before me and aid in their recognition in the U of T community.

Professor Chan tours the Ancient Siam museum park in Thailand in 2019 with several EngSci students during their placements at KMUTT as part of the Engineering Science Research Opportunities Program.

What role has mentorship or professional community played in your own life? What do you think alumni can contribute to current students?

Chan: Ever since I came to Thailand back in 1999, I’ve been involved mostly in the academic setting, started with linkages with industry, and have maintained close contact with both academic and industry sectors. KMUTT fosters close industry ties and we provide training for the industry as well. As such, mentorship has been a major role since I came to Thailand. I strongly believe that alumni can share valuable experience with current students, both the positive and negative aspects, as we need to learn from successes as well as failures.

Mostaghel: I think our interactions shape who we are and how we see the world around us. I have been fortunate to have a few remarkable mentors guiding me through technical and business terrains. Their experience and support have allowed me to recover more quickly from a setback, avoid pitfalls, and be able to foresee and pivot.

U of T alumni are a vast resource of knowledge for current students, whether that knowledge is industry specific or life advice, we can all learn something new from one another.

What advice would you share with the graduating class?

Chan: Keep an open mind and keep on learning and you will find what you enjoy doing. The only difference is responsibility will become increasingly more important as you progress in your career. Nonetheless, if you enjoy what you are doing, then you will be successful.

Mostaghel: Believe in yourself and your abilities and always, always, always bet on yourself!  Just because something hasn’t been done before, whether that’s at all or in a particular way, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And lastly, create the change you seek!

 


Celebrating Impact: EngSci’s 2021 Student Award Winners

This year’s recipients of EngSci’s student awards have been involved in diverse activities outside of the classroom, but they share a common goal: to have a positive impact through volunteer work within and outside of the university community.

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

Students were nominated by their peers and selected by a student committee.

“The Spirit of EngSci Award and Engineers for the World (E4TW) Award are our Division’s most prestigious non-academic awards,” says Professor Will Cluett, EngSci Director. “This year’s winners exemplify the commitment to community and improving the lives of others that we value so highly among our students. I would like to congratulate Hanna, Dylan, May, and Kevin on this well-deserved recognition.”

Spirit of EngSci Awards

Hanna Zhang (2T0 PEY Robotics)

Hanna Zhang

Hanna Zhang served as Head Leedur during F!week 2T0. (Photo courtesy of Hanna Zhang)

Connecting students, whether it’s with each other or with industry leaders, is one of Hanna Zhang’s great strengths. She is known among her classmates for her energy, hard work, and commitment to creating a supportive and enriching community.

As Co-Chair for the 2019 Engineering Science Education Conference—a cornerstone event for first- and second-year EngSci students—Zhang was responsible for connecting students with engineering leaders from a wide range of career paths. She had a keen focus on helping students build confidence by engaging professionally with the speakers. To help students develop their networking skills she introduced a new conference prep workshop to improve professional communication skills—a popular initiative that has become a mainstay of the conference in subsequent years.

Zhang has also demonstrated an impressive ability to foster community, particularly through her involvement with Frosh! Week. Over the years she has taken on increasing responsibilities, beginning with Skule Patrol where she delivered first-aid to first-year students and student volunteers. She later ran the Matriculation Subcommittee and served as a Head Leedur.
As Vice Chair of Operations in 2020, she took on the Herculean task of shifting this large and important in-person event to an online format while catering to an international audience in time zones around the globe. With welcome events scheduled at all hours, she became a night owl to help welcome international students in distant time zones and build a truly global student community. She also went above and beyond the requirements of her role to work with Troost ILead to plan substantial, long-term improvements to Orientation communications that will improve the Frosh! Week experience long after she graduates.

Zhang has also served in various capacities within the EngSci community, including as an EngSci Ambassador at recruitment events, as EngSci Club class representative, and as Co-Chair of the alumni dinner organizing committee.

Zhang will join the Continuum Robotics Laboratory (CRL) in U of T’s Department of Computer Science as a Masters student after graduation.

“Coming into EngSci I was a plucky, hyperactive, 17-year old who had no idea what she was getting herself into. Today I leave EngSci as a still-plucky, only occasionally hyperactive, 22-year old with more knowledge than I’ll likely need about reinforced concrete, a shiny pinky ring, some great memories, and an amazing group of friends. I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to learn and challenge myself as well for the amazing people I’ve gotten to know along the way. Without them I wouldn’t have the confidence and audacity to pursue my dreams in Robotics and Science.”

Dylan Vogel (2T0 PEY ECE)

Dylan Vogel

Dylan Vogel led a team of students as Chief Engineer for the University of Toronto Aerospace Team’s satellite mission for the last three years. (Photo courtesy of Dylan Vogel)

Dedication, strength of character, and kindness combined with deep technical knowledge—this is how classmates describe Dylan Vogel.

Over the past six years, Vogel has created a technical and social legacy through his outstanding engineering work and commitment to the University of Toronto Aerospace Team (UTAT), a student design team on campus.

Vogel joined UTAT on a gap year before even starting his university studies. Since then he has held increasingly important roles in its Space Systems Division. For the last three years he has been the Chief Engineer for UTAT’s first spacecraft—a satellite mission called HERON—that will launch in Q2 of 2022. This low cost, modular CubeSat platform will include a biological experiment to study the effects of low Earth orbit on the yeast Candida albicans, with implications for astronaut health during long-duration human spaceflight.

As Chief Engineer Vogel oversaw nearly all details of satellite design. He led the design, simulation and manufacture of the satellite electronics, including the power subsystem, on-board computer, and payload sensors, as well as simulation of the spacecraft structure and environmental testing.

Vogel’s commitment and outstanding leadership skills helped the team through multiple delays and setbacks. He dedicated himself to building a strong team culture with compassion and mutual support as guiding principles. He brought an individual-focused view to team building and made a point of getting to know each team member. His efforts helped to establish a positive environment where students were encouraged to grow into skilled and inclusive leaders.

Beyond UTAT, Vogel has been an informal mentor to EngSci students past and present. In 2020 he joined Blue Sky Solar racing to support their electrical team, and in 2017 directed the EngSci Dinner Dance Movie.

Vogel will be joining the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zürich this fall to pursue a Master’s degree in Systems Control.

“It always brings me great joy to talk with someone who is just starting out on their own journey. The upper year EngSci students I met on UTAT were some of my greatest sources of inspiration for many years, and I’m grateful to my friends and classmates for making it such a memorable experience.”

Engineers for the World (E4TW) Awards

Chinmayee Gidwani (2T0 PEY ECE)

Chinmayee Gidwani

Chinmayee Gidwani served as Equity & Inclusivity Director for the Engineering Society. (Photo courtesy of Chinmayee Gidwani)

U of T Engineering is home to an incredibly diverse community and Chinmayee (May) Gidwani is committed to making it a welcoming place for all, regardless of identity, location, or circumstance.

In leadership positions within the Engineering Society (EngSoc)—the student government for undergraduate engineering students at U of T—she has been a fierce advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) among her engineering peers, at work, and in the community at large.

As Chair of the Policy & Structures Committee she drafted an Accessibility Policy to make it easier for all students to participate in EngSoc activities. She also worked with EngSoc Officers to develop a Diversity in the Workplace workshop to support students in the the PEY Co-op program.

While serving as EngSoc’s Equity and Inclusivity Project Director, Gidwani developed a Faculty-wide event on equity and inclusivity in the workplace called TIPS – Towards Inclusive Practices Series. To foster a sense of belonging in the diverse student community, she organized events for Skule’s undergraduate student pub with QueerSphere, the Association of Latin American Students, Indian Students Association, the Citizens Foundation and the Association of Macedonian Students at U of T. She also trained Skule club leaders on EDI topics at the EngSoc Clubs Training Day.

To help support the many U of T Engineering students who commute to campus, Gidwani introduced a new Commuter Handbook while serving as EngSoc’s Commuter Program subcommittee chair. She also created a mentorship program to help build a sense of community for commuter students.

Gidwani’s work on Orientation Week as the F!rosh Week Vice-Chair Operations impacted over a thousand students through her careful planning of F!rosh Week events, internal and external communications, and safety procedures. She ensured that events included opportunities for more introverted students and those who favour individual communication over the typical boisterous group F!rosh Week culture.

Gidwani also served as an EngSoc Board of Directors At-Large Representative and as Ombudsperson, responding compassionately to facilitated fair resolutions.
In addition to her work as part of EngSoc, Gidwani also served on the Engineering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group, Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Action Group, and conducted undergraduate research focused on improving the engineering ethics curriculum.

After graduation, Gidwani will be working with operating systems software at AMD.

Thank you to the incredible community in EngSci for making the past five years so rewarding and memorable! I’ve learned so much from my peers about leadership and inclusivity that I’ll take with me after graduation.”

Gensheng (Kevin) Zhang (2T0 PEY Machine Intelligence)

Kevin Zhang

Gensheng (Kevin) Zhang served as Executive Chair of the IEEE U of T chapter. (Photo courtesy of Gensheng (Kevin) Zhang)

Gensheng (Kevin) Zhang truly champions the culture of students helping students. Throughout his five years as an EngSci student, he helped create a supportive and enriching experience for students through mentorship and professional development opportunities outside of the classroom.

Zhang has been an impactful leader for several professional and technical students clubs at the Uuniversity. He served as Executive Chair of the IEEE U of T chapter, one of the largest student chapters of a professional association on campus. In this role he worked toward removing financial barriers that can prevent students from accessing career development opportunities. He helped quadruple industry sponsorship, allowing hundreds of students to attend over a dozen technical and professional development events for free. He also brought new, high profile student competitions to U of T Engineering, such as MakeUofT, an annual hardware hackathon with 300+ participants. The new industry and faculty relationships he helped build will benefit the chapter for years to come.

Zhang founded U of T’s Developer Student Club (DSC) backed by Google and Google Developers.

Bringing his artistic talents to bear, he served as EngSoc’s Gradball Director, winning the Directorship of the Year Award for his planning of Gradball 2T0. He also served as EngSci Club’s Dinner Dance Director, bringing his organizational skills and creative vision to these popular annual social events for hundreds of engineering students. For the past four years Zhang has also been an exceptional mentor In EngSci’s NSight Mentorship Program, helping over 15 Year 1 EngSci students with advice about academics, career, research and, most importantly, being a dependable friend.

Starting in May 2021, Kevin will join Wish, a SF-based e-commerce company, as a full-time software engineer. Despite leaving school, he plans to stay connected with campus initiatives and do his best to be an exemplary alumnus of his alma mater.

“Some things are temporary, while others are permanent. I’ve always believed that it was up to us as learners and leaders within our communities to take the temporary opportunities and turn them into permanent benefits. Over these years, I’ve never regretted sacrificing some grades to bring positive impacts to both my own and others’ lives through mentorship, leadership, and community service. Moving forward, I hope to carry this spirit with me as I tackle the challenges of becoming an industry professional while encouraging younger students to reach higher heights.”

 


EngSci alumnus recognized with U of T Excellence Award

Kramay Patel

 

Kramay Patel (EngSci 1T6, BME MD/PhD candidate) has been named a U of T Alumni Association (UTAA) Graduate Scholar as part of the 2021 U of T Excellence Awards. These prestigious awards celebrate inspiring members of the university community who have improved our world through scholarship, caring, and ingenuity.

Patel is an MD/PhD candidate at U of T’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering focused on epilepsy research, and is a dedicated volunteer and community leader. He is a former Vanier Scholar and in 2020 founded a community-based initiative called Stitch4Corona to provide face masks for frontline workers.

“On behalf of the Division of Engineering Science, I congratulate Kramay Patel for this well-deserved accolade,” says EngSci’s Director, Professor Will Cluett. “He embodies our motto of ‘Engineers for the World’ and is a wonderful role model for students and fellow graduates.”

Read more about Patel in the U of T Engineering News.


‘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.

 


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