Posts By: Keenan Dixon

Prof. Bryan Karney | Fast flood science needs slow thinking

June 24, 2020 | Financial Post

Congratulations Class of 2T0 and 1T9+PEY

To the graduating students of the CivMin Class of 2T0 and 1T9 PEY,

Watching your virtual convocation ceremony on June 2, 2020, was very moving.  We are tremendously proud of your many accomplishments.  No matter where life takes you, I have no doubt that you will use your skills and knowledge to have a lasting, positive impact as engineers.

Even though the virtual ceremony date has passed, the official convocation date listed on your student record will be June 18, 2020, which was the date on which our convocation was originally to take place.

The Convocation Office is shipping your U of T Engineering parchment to you on June 18, 2020.  To help celebrate its arrival at your door, I’d like to share this video of congratulations from many CivMin faculty and staff.

When you receive your parchment, I encourage you to tag U of T Engineering in a selfie (@uoftengineering and #UofTGrad20) so we can celebrate with you!

You’re now joining a network of over 50,000 U of T Engineering Alumni. With words of encouragement and well wishes, they also congratulate you on your accomplishment.

I encourage you to stay connected with the CivMin community as a member of the Engineering Alumni Association, which offers many alumni benefits and supports.  Keep your contact info up-to-date through U of T Engineering CONNECT to stay informed about special events and opportunities in your region.

Wishing you all the best for a bright and fulfilling future!


Prof. Jeffrey Siegel | Can my fan or air conditioner spread coronavirus? Your COVID-19 questions answered

June 10, 2020 | CBC News

Amid a pandemic, U of T Engineering Design Team pushes ahead on energy retrofit project

Northern Light Solutions team at their energy audit at Orde Street Public School.

One lesson this pandemic brought to light is that a reduced carbon footprint can have a measurable impact on the environment. Students from the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering knew that to be the case when they began work on an energy retrofit project for a local school.

Northern Lights Solutions (NLS) is a student design team in the Canadian/National Electrical Contractors Association University of Toronto Student Chapter (CECA/NECA U of T). Each year, the team takes part in the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge (GEC). They partner up with a local community service organization, to propose retrofits and implement an energy awareness campaign that helps the facility to reduce its overall energy consumption.

“This competition is a great chance for us students to learn about sustainable building designs and give back to our local community,” said Noah Cassidy (CivE Year 4), President of CECA/NECA U of T. “I love building on our past success with enthusiastic students and initiatives to enhance the competition experience.”

NLS tours of a real solar panel system on campus.

Before the 2020 GEC began, the CECA/NECA U of T Executive Team improved their recruiting efforts with a series of workshops focused on each sub team in the competition. These workshops ranged from interactive activities to tours of a real solar panel system on campus (pictured on the right).

“The executive team took a different approach to marketing our club early on this school year,” said Pavani Perera (CivE Year 4), Student Outreach Coordinator of CECA/NECA U of T. “These workshops let us engage with new students by giving them the chance to find out which sub-teams align with their interests and skills. From there, we ended up with a diverse, committed team to tackle GEC”.

With new recruiting initiatives, NLS continues to grow with students from various STEM programs passionate about green energy, community involvement, and leadership development. The 2020 GEC team leads include: Rose Zhang (CivE Year 2) (Co-Project Manager); Adrian Sin (CivE Year 3) (Co-Project Manager); Mahia Anhara (CivE Year 3) (Project Management); Bo Zhao (CivE Year 1) (Building Energy Performance); Ziyi Wang (CivE Year 2) (Lighting), Keziah Nongo (CivE Year 2) (Solar), and Kin Hey Chan (CivE Year 1) (Community Engagement).

This year, NLS is working with Orde Street Junior Public School, located right by the U of T campus in downtown Toronto. In February, the team conducted an energy audit at the school to figure out energy usage with electricity, building enclosures, mechanical systems, and lighting.

Since then, each sub team was hard at work developing retrofits that could realistically be implemented to improve the facility’s energy performance as well as generate energy on-site. The main goal is to find cost-effective ways to achieve net-zero energy, in which the facility generates as much or more energy as it uses. Some retrofits the team focused on include efficient boilers, light shelves, and a roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system connected to the grid.

The unique challenge this year was the outreach portion of the project. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team could not carry out their energy awareness campaign in person at the school; instead, they took a more creative approach with virtual learning. NLS created a series of remote lesson plans for both elementary and intermediate level students at the school.

“Our team has put together lesson plans, videos, blog posts, and an online game with the themes of energy, building materials, and how the indoor environment impacts human wellbeing,” said Chan. “It’s been fun for us to create and we hope the students learn to do their part for the environment right from home. We really appreciate the support from the school staff and parents in delivering this material”.

NLS wrapped up their proposal for the June 1st GEC deadline. They are determined to top their second place finish last year for their work at Armour Heights Presbyterian Church in North York. Back in September 2019, they got the exciting opportunity to present that project and be recognized at the NECA Convention in Las Vegas. This year, if selected as a top team, NLS will get to present their proposal in Chicago!

“We’d like to thank Professor Brenda McCabe (our faculty advisor), the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, and our industry connections at CECA for the amazing support and resources they provide us with each year. We plan to continue working hard to help our local communities!” said Cassidy.

Prof. Jeffrey Siegel | Why some Toronto businesses are betting improved ventilation will cut the risk of COVID-19

May 25, 2020 | CBC News

Forward Thinking: CivMin Discussion Series

Announcing the Forward Thinking: CivMin Discussion Series - a series where guest speakers share their perspective on the impacts of COVID-19 on their area of expertise.


Friday, July 17 at 2:30 p.m.

Guest speakers include U of T COVID-19 Student Engagement Award winners:

  • Lisa MacTavishPedro Torres-Basanta and Daniel Tse, a team from CivE MEng CEM
  • Saeed Shakib (CivE PhD candidate) with project partner Ramtin Mojtahedi (BME PhD candidate)
  • Lilian Kabelle (CivE MEng candidate) with Marie Merci Ishimwe (ECE MEng candidate) and Ngone Lo (Faculty of Information)
  • Priyanjli Sharma and Michelle Nurse from Life Sciences and Avani Bhardwaj from Physics (project partner Emma Sas, a CivE undergrad is unable to attend)



Marianne Hatzopoulou | Professor; Associate Chair - Graduate Studies, Civil & Mineral Engineering
Evan Bentz | Professor; Associate Chair - Undergraduate Studies for Civil Engineering


Friday, July 17 at 2:30 EDT


How to Join:

CivMin graduate students and post-doctoral fellows may join directly on the CivMin Grad Hub via BB Collaborate

Others may RSVP and a link will be sent prior to the event


The following discussion will take place on Friday, August 7.

Prof. Daniel Posen | Happy Earth Day! The planet’s air is cleanest in years, but will it last?

April 22, 2020 | CBC Kids News

Prof. Ron Hoffman | Can masks be sterilized, reused in fight against coronavirus? Experts say yes

April 6, 2020 | Global News Online

Important Notice re Survey Camp

Dear CIV & MIN 2T2s,

It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to let you know the Department has taken the difficult decision to cancel CME358 (a.k.a. Survey Camp) for the summer of 2020.

I know this may come as a disappointment, but in light of the accommodations and facilities at camp, the unknown trajectory of this public health crisis, and an unwavering commitment to the health and safety of our students and instructors, we feel it would not be responsible to proceed with Camp this year.

Though Camp is usually scheduled in August, four months from now, our Department is making this decision now because it takes many months to prepare the site for Civil and Mineral Practicals (CAMP), including: opening the site after the winter, scheduling faculty/instructor availability, booking catering/meal service, acquiring adequate survey equipment, and ensuring a clean and safe water supply.

What does this mean for you?

CME358 is a requirement for Civil and Mineral Engineering students. It is a core component of the curriculum and we are committed to ensuring you will be able to complete this requirement prior to graduation.

CME358 gets much of its value from being an in-person, field-based course, so alternate delivery methods (including online delivery) are not an option for this course. As a result, we are looking into rescheduling the course. We are exploring all options. The option currently being considered is the following:

  • the class of 2T2 would attend camp in the summer of 2021 with half of the class of 2T3
    • any 2T2s that go on PEY would have the option of deferring to summer 2022 if they wish
  • the other half the 2T3 class would go to camp in summer 2022 with the class of 2T4

We will consult with students and in particular the classes of 2T2 & 2T3 before making a final decision, which will hopefully happen in the fall after we return to campus.

We want to hear from you. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please reach out to myself ( or Shayni (

I wish you and your families good health during this difficult time.


Brent Sleep
Chair, Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering

Be sure to check the U of TEngineering and CivMin website for the most up to date information related to COVID-19

© 2021 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering