Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education honours top undergraduate students

Alumna Marisa Sterling (far right), faculty and members of the Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education pose with undergraduate scholarship recipients in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. (Photo: Jamie Hunter)
Alumna Marisa Sterling (far right), faculty and members of the Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education pose with undergraduate scholarship recipients in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. (Photo: Jamie Hunter)

Alumna Marisa Sterling (far right), faculty and members of the Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education pose with undergraduate scholarship recipients in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. (Photo: Jamie Hunter)

Ten of U of T Engineering’s top undergraduate students were recognized by the Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education (OPEFE) for high academic achievement and co-curricular contributions.

Two entrance scholarships and eight in-course scholarships totalling $15,000 were presented to students at a reception held in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology on March 23.

“It’s an honour for me to present these scholarships to such a remarkable group of students,” said Marisa Sterling, P.Eng. (ChemE 9T1), president of the OPEFE. “It’s important that we give back to the next generation so we can keep evolving the profession — we’re only as strong as those whom we surround ourselves with.”

Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) established OPEFE in 1959 and it remains one of U of T Engineering’s longest-running partnerships. OPEFE’s scholarships are funded by contributions from professional engineers across the province from organizations such as PEO and the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.

OPEFE 2017 scholarship recipients

Marina Reny portraitMarina Reny (Year 4 MinE + PEY)

This past year, Marina Reny captained the University of Toronto Mining Games team, leading the team to a second-place overall finish at the 27th Annual Canadian Mining Games. She is also currently serving as the president of the Mineral Engineering Club. During her Professional Experience Year (PEY) internship, Reny worked in the Mine Operations Department at the Kearl Oil Sands Project in Northern Alberta. After graduation, she will be pursuing a career in mining, where she will work towards building a more sustainable industry.

Arnav Goel portraitArnav Goel (Year 2 CompE)

Arnav Goel is interested in the field of machine learning and data science. He is involved in a number of student clubs, including the University of Toronto Robotics Association (UTRA) and Blue Sky Solar Racing, where he works with the software team to optimize algorithms. Goel is also a web developer for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ U of T student branch.

Richard Yuze Li portraitRichard Yuze Li (Year 3 IndE)

Richard Yuze Li is passionate about data science and operation research. Last summer, he worked as a software engineer intern for the Royal Bank of Canada. Li has been actively involved in sports and creating job opportunities for the student community. He is currently part of the You’re Next Career Network, the largest student-run career organization in Canada. This summer, he will be conducting research in data science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Calvin Rieder portraitCalvin Rieder (Year 2 MechE)

Calvin Rieder is interested in the areas of energy and water systems. Over the past several years, he has worked on designing solutions that combine environmental engineering with social justice to increase access to clean water where it is most acutely needed. He has been heavily involved in the U of T Human Powered Vehicle Design Team, contributing to the design and construction of two speedbikes. Rieder is also passionate about music and is a tenor in the Skule™ Choir.

Tobias Rozario portraitTobias Rozario (Year 1 ElecE)

Tobias Rozario is interested in energy and electronics specializations within the field of electrical and computer engineering. He recently obtained a summer internship for a startup company named Basilisk. He will help them develop a quiz-building app for students. Outside of class, Rozario trains in the art of tae kwon do, and is aiming to obtain his first-degree black belt this summer.

Enakshi Shah portraitEnakshi Shah (Year 4 ChemE + PEY)

Enakshi Shah is working towards completing a BASc in chemical engineering with a minor in sustainability and a certificate in business. She is passionate about programming, and is currently completing a software development internship at Nascent Digital, a digital consulting firm. She also enjoys learning about the intersection of policy and sustainable urban development, and how technology is shaping that landscape. Shah is active in helping Canada achieve its emissions reduction goals. In particular, she wants to engage young minds and develop opportunities for collaboration between students and environmental non-governmental organizations.

Marguerite Tuer-Sipos portraitMarguerite Tuer-Sipos (Year 3 MSE +PEY)

This past summer, Marguerite Tuer-Sipos participated in an international research exchange at Lund University in Sweden, where she investigated the biomaterial properties of titanium oxide for immobilizing enzymes. She will begin a PEY internship at Peel Plastics in May. Outside of academics, Tuer-Sipos enjoyed working in a TA-mentor role for first-year Materials Engineering students.

Jeremy Wang portraitJeremy Wang (Year 4 EngSci + PEY)

Jeremy Wang’s mission is to leverage aerospace and leadership development to empower society. Through the PEY internship program, he presently serves as the chief technology officer of The Sky Guys, Canada’s leader in unmanned aerial services, training and technology for industry and defense. Wang is also a part-time leadership facilitator with the U of T Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering, and was selected as one of The Next 36 in 2016. Read more about Wang’s PEY experience at U of T Engineering News.

Lingxiao Zeng portraitLingxiao Zeng (Year 3 CompE + PEY)

Lingxiao Zeng’s primary interest is software programming but she is also minoring in engineering business. This summer, she will be travelling to San Jose for a 12-month PEY internship at Intel. Zeng is involved in several student clubs, serving as vice-president of the Association of Chinese Engineers and is the co-founder of Freer, which provides volunteer opportunities in South America.

First-year engineering student Madelaine Elizabeth Shiell received an entrance scholarship but was not in attendance at the event.

This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News.

Six engineering innovations get a boost from NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants

This story originally posted on Engineering News.

New funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) will advance U of T Engineering research in sustainable energy, telecommunications and more.

On March 1, NSERC announced six Strategic Partnership Grants to help U of T engineers address some of the greatest challenges facing Canada and the world. The projects include new technologies to extract valuable minerals from hazardous mine tailings and systems to enable cities to repurpose stormwater more effectively. In total, the program invested more than $3.2 million in U of T Engineering and more than $5.3 million across the entire University.

The six funded projects are:

Elodie Passeport

Elodie Passeport (ChemE, CivE) — Smarter stormwater management

Heavy rainstorms like those that hit Toronto in July 2013 do more than damage basements — they also wash street-level pollution into local rivers and lakes. Nature deals with this problem through wetlands, which swell or shrink with the rains and which contain microorganisms that break down harmful substances. Bioretention cells are artificial structures designed to mimic this process in urban areas, yet for unknown reasons, some work better than others. Passeport and her team aim to pin down the hydrological, chemical, and physical processes that determine the performance of bioretention cells in order to optimize their design. Better stormwater management could prevent pollution from reaching the environment.



Mansoor Barati (MSE) — Reclaiming hazardous waste

The area around Sudbury, Ont. is surrounded by 50- to 100-million tonnes of liquid tailings left over from mining operations. This waste material poses environmental risks if left untreated. Yet it still contains useful elements such as nickel, iron and sulfur which continue to be in demand in manufacturing and other sectors. Barati and his team are developing a process that recovers these elements from the tailings and generates electricity at the same time. The process would provide a permanent solution for the waste as well as economic benefits to the mine and surrounding community.



Aimy Bazylak (MIE) — Hydrogen for clean, on-demand power

Environmentally friendly fuel cell vehicles run on hydrogen instead of gasoline, producing no emissions other than water and heat. Unfortunately, most hydrogen currently comes from natural gas, but it can also be extracted from water using electricity produced from renewable energy, such as the wind and sun. Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electolyzers are a technology that essentially operate like reverse fuel cells, extracting hydrogen and oxygen from water. Moreover, they can enable us to efficiently deal with the huge peaks and troughs of intermittent electricity generated from variable renewable sources, such as wind, solar and tidal power. This project aims to use the team’s existing expertise in PEM-based fuel cells to advance PEM electrolyzers for clean hydrogen generation.



Sean Hum (ECE) — Advanced Electromagnetic Surfaces for Next-Generation Communications Systems

The number of smartphones and connected tablets in the world is well into the billions and growing fast. Yet the wireless communications systems on which these devices depend use radio signals, and there are only so many frequencies to go around. Hum and his team develop advanced electromagnetic surfaces that can be used to redesign antennas, enabling more sophisticated control over radio signals. Used in satellites, these surfaces could dramatically improve communication capacity while reducing the size and weight of antennas. These surfaces can also be used in buildings, where they could improve reception and eliminate “dead zones.” By enabling more data to be transmitted wirelessly using the same bandwidth, the inventions will usher in the next generation of electronic communication.



Ted Sargent (ECE) — Better lasers for transmitting digital information

Every time you upload a document, photo or video to the cloud your file is sent to a large collection of servers known as a datacentre. Within these datacentres, information is transmitted both electronically and optically. However, the devices that translate data between these two modes are inefficient, generating large amounts of waste heat and making datacentres enormous energy hogs. Using nano-sized particles called quantum dots, Sargent and his team are developing entirely new type of laser that is capable of being deposited directly on a silicon chip. The device will turn electrical impulses into light bursts in a much more efficient way, drastically reducing the amount of energy required to transmit data and the cost of cloud computing.



Costas Sarris (ECE) — Redesigning train signalling for improved safety

Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) is aimed at replacing conventional rail signalling with train control enabled by wireless communication between the train and a network of access points. In a cellular communication system, a network outage may cause a dropped call, but in a CBTC network it directly compromises the safety of train passengers. Therefore, these safety-critical systems must meet high standards of reliability, beyond those of typical communication networks. Sarris and his team, along withThales Canada, are developing a new paradigm for the design of CBTC systems with enhanced robustness and reliability. These systems can effectively serve the increasing need for rail transportation safety and efficiency shared by a growing number of Canadians, especially urban commuters in large metropolitan areas.