Convocation | June 2017

Graduating Civil and Mineral Engineering students and their guests are invited to a convocation reception, which will take place immediately following the convocation ceremony.

Please note that this is a private event for graduates, guests and faculty of the Department.

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.

Professional Experience Year: Four U of T Engineering students bring technical, professional competencies to industry challenges

Paige Clarke competes at the Canadian Mining Games. (Photo: Keenan Dixon)
Paige Clarke competes at the Canadian Mining Games. (Photo: Keenan Dixon)

Paige Clarke competes at the Canadian Mining Games. (Photo: Keenan Dixon)

For her PEY internship, Paige Clarke (Year 3 MinE) chose to take a position in Thompson, Man., home to the nickel extraction and refining operations of Vale Canada Ltd. In her role as a Mines Engineering Co-op Student, she designs and plans drilling, blasting, loading and filling operations.

“I have worked in operations before, and I really enjoy the dynamic, quick pace,” she says. “My U of T Engineering education helped me understand how to manipulate data, continuously check to make sure my ideas make practical sense and address the errors when there is a problem.”

Clarke says that the community where she works is just as memorable as the job itself. “I volunteered for the local Terry Fox Run and have been taking advantage of the recreational opportunities that are not so accessible in Toronto,” she says. That includes hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, not to mention helping her neighbours dig their cars out after a recent mammoth snowfall.

After graduation, Clarke plans to continue working in mineral extraction. Her PEY internship will be an invaluable addition to her resume. “Working for a full year rather than a four-month summer term allowed me to make an important and meaningful contribution,” she says.

This story is just one example of the transformative learning experiences made possible by U of T Engineering’s Professional Experience Year (PEY) internship program. For nearly 40 years, the initiative has connected talented students with innovative companies looking to benefit from an influx of energy and new ideas.

The paid internships — with an average salary of more than $47,000 per year — take place after second or third year and last 12 to 16 months. In 2016-2017, more than 730 U of T Engineering students were hired on PEY internships, including 65 placements outside of Canada. Employers range from local startups to major global corporations such as Apple, General Motors and Shell, as well as hospitals, universities and governments.

Read more about U of T Engineering’s PEY internships


Other students currently on PEY internships include:

Jeremy Wang (Year 3 EngSci) — The Sky Guys

For his Professional Experience Year (PEY) internship, Jeremy Wang (Year 3 EngSci) is developing new drone technologies for The Sky Guys. (Photo: Kirk Eksyma)

For his Professional Experience Year (PEY) internship, Jeremy Wang (Year 3 EngSci) is developing new drone technologies for The Sky Guys. (Photo: Kirk Eksyma)

Wang clearly remembers the day that a colleague walked into his lab and said “Jeremy! We need a LIDAR drone in three weeks!”

“My eyes widened,” says Wang. As the Chief Technical Officer for The Sky Guys, a company that specializes in drone services, pilot training and R&D, Wang is responsible for developing new technical capabilities whenever a client needs them.

Wang knew that building a drone capable of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) — a system that uses lasers to create 3D maps for surveying, construction and other applications — would be critical to the young company’s success. But the timing was tight. “Three weeks could be the lead time for the parts alone,” he says.

With winter weather that could complicate the test flight fast approaching, Wang realized his only chance was to design a drone that could be built using ready-made, off-the-shelf parts. Twenty-one days and countless cups of coffee later, Wang’s team completed the project, finishing a mere eight hours before the scheduled launch.

Wang credits U of T Engineering with preparing him to succeed. He cites the opportunities he has had to launch his own company through The Entrepreneurship Hatchery and develop leadership abilities as the executive director of the University of Toronto Aerospace Team. His PEY internship is, he says, the ideal next step on his journey.

“The small company environment is sufficiently challenging, meaningful, innovative, and impactful for what I need out of a career,” says Wang. “I’ll be a ‘Sky Guy’ well after PEY ends.”

Sarah Lim (Year 3 MechE) — teaBOT

Sarah Lim (Year 3 MechE) inspects a teaBOT. (Photo: Tyler Irving)

Sarah Lim (Year 3 MechE) inspects a teaBOT. (Photo: Tyler Irving)

More than 330 employers sought PEY interns this year, but for Lim, one really stood out. “I wanted to work at teaBOT because I wanted to be part of something that had a consumer-facing, everyday application,” she says.

TeaBOT makes vending-machine-sized robots that deliver custom cups of loose-leaf tea via a mobile app. The company was co-founded by Rehman Merali, a PhD student at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, and is rapidly expanding across North America.

Working for a startup makes for a varied experience, something Lim really enjoys. “If we are getting ready to build teaBOTs then I will be building some subassemblies and putting them into the machine,” she says. “On other days, I use computer-aided design software to model or test new ideas that we may want to pursue.”

While her courses provided a good foundation in the technical aspects of her work, Lim says the internship has given her a better sense of how customers will interact with a product.

“Working here has made me a lot more interested in designing things that are not just functional but also look good,” she says. “We went to a trade show, and it was amazing to see how many people wanted to use and try out our robot.”

Peter Wen (Year 3 MechE) — Verity Studios

Peter Wen overlooking the city of Zurich (Photo: Peter Wen)

Peter Wen overlooking the city of Zurich (Photo: Peter Wen)

Wen is spending a year in Zurich working for Verity Studios. Founded by alumnus Raffaello D’Andrea (EngSci 9T1), Verity Studios uses autonomous flying robots to create memorable performances for live events and stage productions. “I wanted to work in a startup environment, although the fact that it’s in beautiful Switzerland doesn’t hurt,” says Wen.

On his second day, a coworker asked Wen if he was scared of heights. “I boldly answered no,” says Wen. “I spent the afternoon 14 metres in the air, fighting my trembling fingers to tie knots along the rafters, installing the radio units that help our drones navigate.”

For Wen, the experience embodies the trust that the company put in him. His other duties have included fabricating parts for new prototypes and solving mechanical problems for the team, half of whom are software engineers. “One of the key lessons I learned was to value my time properly,” he says. “I used to spend hours smoothing out my CAD models to make them beautiful. Now I stop once it’s good enough to accomplish the task at hand.”

After his PEY internship is complete, Wen plants to return to TeleHex, a company he founded with support from The Hatchery at U of T Engineering. “This experience has made me realize that I love working in small companies where I can do a little bit of everything,” he says.

Learn more about TeleHex


This story originally appeared on U of T Engineering News.

U of T to host the 2017 Canadian Mining Games

It’s more about networking than the competition

Peter Miszkiel (1T5 + PEY) competing in the jackleg drilling event at the 2016 Canadian Mining Games. Photo credit: UBC Mining via Flickr.

Peter Miszkiel (1T5 + PEY) competing in the jackleg drilling event at the 2016 Canadian Mining Games. Photo credit: UBC Mining via Flickr.

While, at first glance, the Canadian Mining Games looks like a competition between universities and where students showcase all of the skills required by the mining industry, the unexpected value is in the networking and professional development of the participating students.

The three-day event includes multiple opportunities to meet industry professionals, network at the career fair and meet other mining engineering students, many of whom will be their future colleagues in the close-knit Canadian mining sector.

The competition is made possible by industry sponsors like Barrick Gold, the lead sponsor for the 2017 Games, who also act as judges for each event.

“Our Mining Games teams from previous competitions have always exemplified the strong teamwork and academic excellence developed in the Lassonde Mineral Engineering Program,” said Professor Brent Sleep, chair of the Civil Engineering and Lassonde Mineral Engineering programs. “The industry connections have led to our students being hired in temporary and permanent roles. I always look forward to hearing about the connections that are made and seeing the successes of our students each year.”

Students compete at the 2016 Canadian Mining Games in Vancouver, BC. Photo credits: UBC Mining via Flickr.

Students compete at the 2016 Canadian Mining Games in Vancouver, BC. Photo credits: UBC Mining via Flickr.

The Canadian Mining Games, which is being planned this year by a team of MinE alumni and students, is made up of 24 events which cover the breadth and skill required by engineers involved in mining today. Individual students from each team compete in events such as public speaking and mineral identification. There are also events that see multiple students from each team compete, like the mine design competition, which requires a multidisciplinary approach to develop a plan, strategy and mine design to optimize the resource extraction from the earth.

Events like the Canadian Mining Games often become the cornerstone of a students’ undergraduate experience. In its 27th year, the host of the games rotate between each of Canada’s 10 mineral engineering programs. U of T alumni who have participated in the past continue to give back through volunteering, judging challenges and facilitating industry sponsorship.

Students compete at the 2016 Canadian Mining Games in Vancouver, BC. Photo credits: UBC Mining via Flickr.

Students compete at the 2016 Canadian Mining Games in Vancouver, BC. Photo credits: UBC Mining via Flickr.