Volunteers with Civil & Mineral Engineering recognized at the Arbor Awards

At the top university in Canada, thousands of students spend each year striving for academic excellence and outstanding achievements to carry them into the future. There is a dedicated group of volunteers who act as examples and who contribute to the University’s mission. Each year, a number of those volunteers are honoured with a U of T Arbor Award.

From left, Dr. Meric Gertler, U of T President; 2018 Arbor Award Recipient Indi Gopinanthan; and Dr. Rose Patten, U of T Chancellor (Photo by Gustavo Toledo Photography)

Indi Gopinathan

(CivE 9T6) never passes on an opportunity to help students. Since 2015, she has worked as a mentor and facilitator for the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering. Gopinathan’s commitments include bringing an industry perspective to the learning environment and extend to providing professional development support. In particular, she co-founded the Women in Mining and Mineral Engineering Network Group – a group established in 2016 to provide networking and mentorship opportunities to female mineral engineering students.

“Volunteers like Indi help our students to consider their options after graduation,” said Professor Brent Sleep, Chair of the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering. “We encourage all students to take advantage of all opportunities, to start networking and to think about their career paths. Alumni mentors are an invaluable part of that student journey.”

Gopinathan’s efforts to support students in connecting their academic achievements to their career prospects has earned her a 2018 U of T Arbor Award.

From left, Dr. Meric Gertler, U of T President; 2018 Arbor Award Recipients Daniel and Jennifer Alonzi; and Dr. Rose Patten, U of T Chancellor (Photo by Gustavo Toledo Photography)

Daniel Alonzi (CivE 0T7) and Jennifer Alonzi (CivE 0T6) are another set of individuals receiving a 2018 Arbor Award because of their volunteerism to the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering.

The pair met as first year civil engineering students, which led to a budding romance and many shared experiences. The Alonzis give back to the university by mentoring and hiring students. For the past eight years, the two have presented annually to CIV280 – Construction Engineering and Management to provide students with industry case studies and other valuable lessons they have learned throughout their careers.

“Daniel and Jennifer’s contributions are an example of the kind of lifelong lessons and connections that can be made at U of T,” said Nelly Pietropaolo, Director of Student Services and External Relations for the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering. “They demonstrate the importance of alumni and industry perspectives in the classroom. The student experience is richer because of the time that they take to share their story with the students.”

The Singapore Malaysia Campaign Committee was also honoured, including committee member Michael Goutama (CivE 8T6, MASc 8T8, PhD 9T3), for its work in fundraising for the Myhal Center for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, creating new research collaborations internationally, and engaging with recent graduates and faculty.

The University of Toronto Arbor Awards recognize university volunteers who are generous with their time and talent, embodying the values of U of T’s Latin motto, velut arbor aevo (may it grow as a tree through the ages). The award can be granted for contributions to specific academic units, such as faculties, colleges or institutes, or to the University at large. Sponsored by University Advancement, the award ceremony takes place each September