Posts Categorized: Beyond the classroom

U of T student team helps local church achieve sustainability and reduce its energy footprint

During the energy audit at AHPC, Noah Cassidy (left) recorded window temperature with a thermal imaging camera while Niloufar Ghaffari (right) recorded lux readings for lighting retrofits.


July 2019 Update:

The U of T CECA student chapter team placed first in the initial round of the Green Energy Challenge. They now have to create a video and present their project at the NECA convention in Las Vegas in September.


With energy costs on the rise, organizations all over Canada are looking to reduce their energy consumption wherever possible — and these U of T Engineering students are helping to make that possible.

Northern Lights Solutions (NLS) is a design team within the student chapter of the Canadian/National Electrical Contractors Association (CECA/NECA U of T). The group works with client organizations to create retrofit plans, which aim to reduce the client’s overall energy consumption and promote onsite power generation.

As a part of their 2019 submission to the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge, NLS is working with the Armour Heights Presbyterian Church (AHPC). They have conducted an energy audit that assessed electricity usage, lighting, building enclosures, and mechanical systems at the facility. The team is developing a retrofit proposal that will improve AHPC’s building performance and will achieve a net-zero energy footprint.

In addition to the energy audit, NLS introduced an energy conservation awareness campaign for young children at the church through the Sunday School program and Mission Possible Kids Night.

“It means a lot for us to be able to connect with the tight knit community at Armour Heights,” said Dorothy Liu (CivE Year 3), President of CECA/NECA U of T. “It was rewarding to inspire the children to take care of the environment each and every day. It made us appreciate our technical work and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the incredible church community!”

During the energy audit at AHPC, Noah Cassidy (left) recorded window temperature with a thermal imaging camera while Niloufar Ghaffari (right) recorded lux readings for lighting retrofits.

NLS will submit its retrofit proposal as a part of their entry into the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge. If selected as a top team, NLS will travel to Las Vegas this fall to present their proposal.

This competition allows students to expand their knowledge of sustainable buildings and make meaningful contributions through volunteering.

“The Green Energy Challenge bridges theory and application by providing students with the opportunity to use their knowledge to help their community,” said Professor Brenda McCabe (CivMin), the team’s faculty advisor. “By entering this international challenge, students gain exposure to the industry and have an opportunity to create connections with current CECA/NECA members.”

“As a testament to the achievements of this student group, two of the four projects they have previously proposed have been implemented by the client organizations, who were inspired by the team’s work,” continued McCabe.

Since 2015, NLS has grown to a team of diverse students from various STEM programs, brought together by their passion for sustainable buildings, green energy, and leadership development. Currently, the team includes: Noah Cassidy (CivE Year 4) (Project Manager), Jacqueline Lu (CivE 1T8) (Finance/Audit), Yuexin Liu (Mathematics Year 1) (Building Performance), Niloufar Ghaffari (CivE Year 4) (Lighting), Fariha Oyshee (CivE Year 2) (Solar), and Lauren Streitmatter (ChemE Year 1) (Community Engagement).

“The entire NLS team would like to thank the University of Toronto Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering for providing us with the resources and support, empowering us to make an impact on organizations in our community,” said Liu.


Originally published on April 23, 2019. Updated on July 31, 2019


Reconciliation through engineering

Professor Jennifer Drake (CivMin) presents to Indigenous leaders from across Ontario at the Sioux Lookout Innovation Station. The event is part of the Reconciliation Through Engineering Initiative, a collaboration between Indigenous communities and U of T Engineering’s Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN). (Photo: Shakya Sur)

Professor Jennifer Drake (CivMin) presents to Indigenous leaders from across Ontario at the Sioux Lookout Innovation Station. The event is part of the Reconciliation Through Engineering Initiative, a collaboration between Indigenous communities and U of T Engineering’s Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN). (Photo: Shakya Sur)

Researchers at the Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) are collaborating with Indigenous communities to address pressing infrastructure challenges facing geographically disparate communities across Canada.

CGEN’s Reconciliation Through Engineering Initiative (RTEI) will identify six projects that aim to improve access to clean drinking water, food security, housing, health care, transportation and communication systems from a multi-disciplinary and holistic perspective.

Since December, CGEN’s approach has been to first listen, learn and gather perspectives before defining any projects, says RTEI program lead Sonia Molodecky and research associate Shakya Sur.

“Our first step was to meet with Indigenous elders, youth, men and women to really understand — first and foremost — how we may approach a collaborative research relationship founded on respect and reciprocity,” says Molodecky. “We recognize that there are 10,000-plus years of knowledge and expertise that Indigenous Peoples have about their communities, relationships with the natural environment, and the interconnection and interdependence of all things. There is a lot we can learn. We are embarking on a co-learning journey.”

Two projects are in their early stages of development: one in northern Ontario and the high Arctic will focus on optimizing transportation routes to ensure timely delivery of food and supplies to communities. This work will have a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including professors Chris Beck (MIE), Chi-Guhn Lee (MIE), Shoshanna Saxe (CivMin), Tracey Galloway(Anthropology) and Michael Widener (Geography).

The second project will focus on developing a framework for designing building ventilation, envelope and integration of landscape-design features to mitigate mold, a significant concern for many Indigenous communities in Canada, says Sur.

“This work will lead to producing a set of housing guidelines that will inform the building of safer and healthier homes in the long term,” he says. “In addition to focusing on ventilation and building envelope design, the project will utilize landscape-design principles and an understanding of the relationship of the house to natural environment, to augment the overall performance of the house, as well as strengthen the residents’ connection to the land. Ultimately, this will contribute towards the long-term sustainability of the overall research outcomes.”  This project will involve professors Marianne Touchie (CivMin), Bomani Khemet (Architecture) and Liat Margolis(Architecture).

On June 17 and 18, CGEN co-sponsored the First Annual Innovation Station Event in Lac Seul First Nation, where they met with Indigenous leaders representing 21 communities serviced by the Sioux Lookout area, in order to understand their needs and priorities and identify future partnerships. Among those present were former Chief Clifford Bull, Special Advisor on Indigenous affairs to the Ontario government, Doug Lawrance, Mayor of Sioux Lookout as well as a number of local industry and service providers.

Researchers in attendance included, professors Arthur Chan (ChemE), Jennifer Drake (CivMin), Jeffrey Siegel (CivMin), as well as Galloway and Bonnie McElhinny (Anthropology). Faculty members presented on their research expertise and learned about the communities’ challenges to better pinpoint potential areas for collaboration.

Also joining them was Elder Whabagoon, who stepped on the soil of her home community of Lac Seul First Nation for the first time since being taken away almost 59 years ago during the ‘Sixties Scoop’. Elder Whabagoon presented an initiative she co-created in partnership with University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design (FALD) and First Nations House (FNH) and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA), called Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag. This program works with Indigenous youth to re-connect their spirit with the land through the design of green infrastructure, architecture and land-based teachings.

“It was a very emotional experience coming home. My heart and feet felt grounded for the first time. My heart is full and I am so very grateful for the opportunity. I am very hopeful for the work going forward with my community and see real change being possible through this initiative” said Whabagoon.

Over the next twelve months, Molodecky and Sur will finalize the six research projects, secure further funding to support community participation, and host workshops at the university to give U of T Engineering students an opportunity to learn about the challenges facing Indigenous communities as well as the robust knowledge systems that they are using to address these challenges.

“We’re looking at the full picture. This is an opportunity for us to do things in a much more sustainable way, and the right way, thinking about many generations down the road,” says Sur. “The way to do that is to involve the youth — in our community and in Indigenous communities — so we can carry this effort forward, past the duration of the projects themselves.”

By Liz Do

 

This article originally posted on Uof T Engineering News


REEDDI: Putting power in the hands of the people

Photo of Olugbenga Olubanjo holding two Reeddi Capsules, with quote "The impact it can bring really drives me."

Olugbenga Olubanjo holding two Reeddi Capsules. Photo: Phill Snel, Civil and Mineral Engineering/ U of T

 

A hearty “Yah!” accompanied by a fist-pump of victory, is what Olugbenga Olubanjo (CivE MASc Candidate) remembers best about Victoria Day.

While the rest of the country was enjoying an extra day off as part of the holiday long weekend, Olubanjo heard of his startup’s latest prize – an award of US$10,000 as a runner-up in the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge. This is the third award the startup has received in 2019, as well as a provisional patent.

Olubanjo and his team at Reeddi Inc (pronounced “ready”) want to bring clean, affordable and portable power to the people of Nigeria, giving them autonomy over their otherwise expensive and unpredictable energy grid.

Many new inventions are conceived in the pursuit of solving a problem. In this case, the seed was sown in 2017 while in Toronto and the frustration of often being suddenly disconnected while talking to friends or family back home by phone. He would later usually find out the disconnection was the result of an all-too-frequent power outage.

Olubanjo recalls being “at Massey College at night with light everywhere,” and couldn’t imagine returning home where it was like “going back to darkness.” Growing up in Nigeria with sometimes only two hours of electricity a day, he set out to find a solution to a daily problem faced by many back home. The MASc student’s very personal irritant was the spark, which lead to a solution for a much broader issue.

The statistics are staggering. Some 600 million Africans live without access to electricity, with 70 million Nigerians among them. Alternatives for household lighting, cooking and other needs can be dangerous and expensive. Kerosene lanterns used inside create health risks, as well as the need to travel great distances to obtain costly fuel.

Vast amounts are spent on creating electricity from polluting sources, further adding to the poor air quality in Nigeria. The patchwork energy system is simply unreliable and dirty; a better way to serve the multitudes is still desperately needed. Olubanjo had a “lot of sleepless nights.” And added what “kept me going was the possibility of having an impact on millions of lives.”

Armed with the idea to create a solar “umbrella” capable of charging mobile phones, discussion with friends and engineering colleagues led to developing something of a somewhat larger scale. The road to this point began with friends and colleagues, but also with assistance from the U of T’s Hatchery NEST. Some 3D printing, acute business questions and collaboration has driven the idea along while Olubanjo completes his graduate studies in civil engineering.

Olubanjo is clear he’s had a lot of help. Ideas, prompts, expertise and questions from friends, colleagues and faculty led to the development of the project so far. Prof. Yu-Ling Cheng (ChemE, CGEN) acted as advisor and mentor along with Bill Nussey (CEO of Solar Inventions); Prof. Ireh Iyioha, Founder of PEIFFUND; Omozaphue Akalumhe, Director Prividia Energy UK; M.K Balaji of Delloite, and Okide Ezigbo of Ontario Power Generation. The team at Reeddi includes U of T’s Osarieme Osakue (CivE MEng Candidate) as Director of Communications and Joshua Dzakah (MechE 1T9) at the post of Mechanical Engineer, along with Olamide Oladeji as Director of Strategy & Analytics, Olatunji Oladipo and Azeez Oluwafemi. 

 

So how will Reeddi make an impact?

A Reeddi Energy Station

A Reeddi Energy Station

With the current project proposal, a large standalone, solar-powered structure, about half the size of a bus shelter, would have interactive screens at eye-level that control the user experience and provide access to the removable Reeddi Capsules. Each watertight Reeddi Capsule, about the size of a long 12-pack of soft drinks, is comprised of an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery (LIB) with external USB and AC plug.

Customers would pay a nominal rent of up to US$0.50 per 24 hours for a 250 watt-hour (Wh) capsule. A standard 250Wh capsule is enough to provide a combined seven hours of lighting via two 150 lumen LED bulbs, fully-charge three mobile phones (3W) and provide four hours of laptop power (30W). Capsules can also be connected and scaled up in a modular fashion; doubled-up it would create a 500Wh unit, and so on, for greater power needs such as appliances.

Reeddi Capsule features include 250Wh/Capsule, power output of 220V/50HZ AC and 5V DC. Each capsule has an expected lifespan of eight years.

Reeddi Capsule features include 250Wh/Capsule, power output of 220V/50HZ AC and 5V DC. Each capsule has an expected lifespan of eight years.

The capsule(s) can be returned within the rental period, or when depleted before the return period. As an incentive, when a return is made on time the customer is awarded points to be used towards future exchanges .

“The impact it can bring really drives me and makes me excited,” said Olu. The very clean, affordable and dependable power would give households stability of their power needs, as well as provide scalable options.

As proof of concept, Reeddi created a mock-up prototype of one capsule in December 2018, then created a working prototype for a capsule as a contest entry. They are on track to running a micro-scaled pilot with five Interactive working Reeddi Capsules prototypes by August 2019 in Nigeria.

Some investments will be required in running a pilot test for the innovation making it possible to deploy working capsules to the field. A long-term plan for Reeddi would see the project expanded for medium power uses as a dispatchable power source for e-scooters, electric motorcycles and tricycles and large power uses (full home needs).

The idea has potential for use in Canada, and North America, as well. Whether for hikers taking trips to remote sites, or where disaster has disrupted power grid. Anywhere there’s a need for getting clean and affordable power into the hands of the people is a potential market.

Since January 2019, Reeddi has been internationally recognized for its innovative technology and business model. In February 2019, it won the North American Regional Award for the Best Emerging Startups in Decentralised Energy Track at the IEEE Empower a Billion Lives Challenge held at Georgia Tech, and in April, Reeddi Inc was won the MIT 2019 Clean Energy Prize (National Grid Energy Delivery Track).

Olugbenga Olubanjo (Olu), the founder of Reeddi started the company when he arrived in Toronto. Prior to starting Reeddi Inc., Olu was a Winner of the 2017 University of Toronto Hult Prize Competition representing UofT at the Regional Finals  . He was also awarded the RBC Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (People’s Choice Award) for VECO, the company that transitioned into Reeddi Inc. Olu is also a Junior Fellow at Massey College. His MASc thesis, Embodied Emissions in Rail Infrastructure: A Critical Study, is supervised by Professor Shoshanna Saxe. He expects to graduate the fall of 2019.

By Phill Snel

 


Lassonde Mineral Engineering Students take gold – 4 oz of gold

Winning Lassonde Mineral Engineering Team (Zawwar Ahmed (MinE Year 3), Dalton Veintimilla (MinE Year 4), Ice Peerawattuk (MinE Year 4) and Jihad Raya (MinE PEY)) with Candace MacGibbon, CEO of INV Metals (at centre).

This weekend, Zawwar Ahmed (MinE Year 3), Ice Peerawattuk (MinE Year 4), Jihad Raya (MinE PEY) and Dalton Veintimilla (MinE Year 4) successfully defended their first place title in the Goodman Gold Challenge (GGC) in Sudbury.

The GGC is a competition at Laurentian University that invites undergraduate students to assess three gold companies as investment opportunities. In teams of four, students recommend one of the three companies to a top-tier client.

The Lassonde Mineral Engineering team won the cash equivalent of four ounces of gold for their outstanding use of their academic and practical skills at the GGC.

Congratulations from the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering. Keep up the good work!

 


U of T Students are connecting communities around the world, one bridge at a time

In June 2018, the University of Toronto Engineers in Action team (formerly Bridges to Prosperity) constructed a 64-metre suspended footbridge over the Gonchu Mayu river in Bolivia, their third bridge project since 2016.

The project began in January 2018 when Engineers in Action was asked to design and build a bridge for Tablas Monte, a village of 140 families located on the tropical slopes of the Andes. Community members had difficulty crossing the nearby river of Gonchu Mayu to reach agricultural lands. The unsafe access has resulted in three fatalities over just three years.

To complete the bridge, the team’s most ambitious and difficult project to date, students faced a long 40-minute commute to the site, requiring them to wake before sunrise and work until after sunset each day. Other challenges include a river profile, which varied greatly from the survey that they originally received; and the necessity to use a deadman anchor in dynamited rock. Despite these challenges, the team completed a bridge of great quality as scheduled, working alongside a local engineer and masons.

The team of six University of Toronto students and three Western university tag-along students completed design, construction, and community engagement plans for the project with the assistance of the parent organization’s technical advisory board. Additionally, engineers from Arup acted as technical supervisors and provided assistance throughout construction.

The teams were fortunate enough to spend the six weeks together with the community of Tables Monte, bonding over and building on the international network of engineers working to solve global infrastructure problems.

“We arrived at the community with a warm-hearted welcome, and an invitation to stay in their old schoolhouse,” said one student organizer.

While in Bolivia, the University of Toronto Chapter worked with teams from Duke University and University College London (UCL), who were constructing a bridge located 15 minutes away from the Gonchu Mayu site.

The bridge was inaugurated with speeches, the traditional breaking of chicha (corn liquor vases), and a night of Bolivian music and dance. The community’s celebration included participation from the governing municipality of Colomi, a locality in Bolivia.

The achievements in Tablas Monte showcase the University of Toronto Chapter’s resilience. Though the club is transitioning from working with Bridges to Prosperity to working with Engineers in Action, the missions and values will remain the same.

The University of Toronto Engineers in Action Chapter is a student organization working to raise awareness for global development and provide students with opportunities to become responsible,

professional engineers through bridge projects. They have previously completed bridge projects in Patzula, Guatemala and Chillcani, Bolivia.

The University of Toronto Chapter will be continuing their mission this year. The students will be working with Western University to build their fifth bridge in Lipez, Bolivia, between May and June 2019. The bridge will be located near a community of 1,000 people, and will help some of the locals reach their farmlands during the rainy summer season. If you would like to be part of our initiative, feel free to contact them at eia.uoft@gmail.com. We are also accepting donations to fund their impactful project through the University of Toronto donation page. Go to https://donate.utoronto.ca/give/show/5, and enter “Engineers in Action – University of Toronto Chapter” in the “Additional Information” box before you check out, and you will receive a tax receipt for your kindness.


NSBE Fall Regional Conference builds new pathways for Black engineering grad students at U of T

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) U of T Chapter receives Chapter of the Month honours for September at the NSBE Fall Region 1 Conference. From left: Rukayat Balogun, NSBE Region 1 Chair; Mikhail Burke, Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity Initiatives and Student Inclusion & Transition Mentor; Shane Arnold (CivMin MEng); Portia Deterville (ChemE Year 4 + PEY), NSBE East Canada Zone Chair and Joy Aso, Membership Chairperson for NSBE Region 1. (Photo courtesy of Mikhail Burke)

When Shane Arnold (CivMin MEng) saw that U of T Engineering was offering travel grants to attend the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Fall Region 1 Conference (FRC) in Danvers, Mass., he got a second chance to connect to an organization he’s always admired.

“I didn’t realize until my final year of undergrad at McMaster that they had a NSBE chapter,” said Arnold. “Now as a graduate student at U of T, and seeing this opportunity to go to the conference — it opened the door to connect with the U of T chapter, as well as the chapters throughout the U.S.”

Arnold was among three U of T Engineering graduate students who attended the NSBE FRC in November. Delegates got to build their professional leadership skills, gather career advice, participate in case competitions and network with nearly 1,000 engineering students from across the east-coast regions of the U.S.

The trip was funded by U of T Engineering and initiated by its graduate office as well as Mikhail Burke (MSE 1T2, IBBME PhD 1T8), Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity Initiatives and Student Inclusion & Transition Mentor.

Burke, who travelled alongside the students, not only saw a wonderful career advancement opportunity for students but an opening to recruit prospective graduate students to U of T Engineering.

Shane Arnold and Mikhail Burke meeting with students interested in learning about graduate studies at U of T Engineering.

As Burke guides efforts to increase Black representation in the Faculty, he says the conference is just one example of how U of T Engineering can build new pathways towards this goal. “There’s a need here to have more Black students, postdocs and faculty consider U of T Engineering as a space to study and work,” said Burke.

“It’s hard to get them to consider U of T if we’re not in the room. It’s important for U of T to be intentional in terms of how we build relationships, and it’s important to be present for the discussions that need to be had.”

Burke says that by the end of the conference, there were American students who were interested in applying to U of T Engineering, who hadn’t previously considered it before. “It was nice to be able to be in a space where it’s primarily Black students who are involved in engineering, some of whom are interested in graduate school and be able to reach out to them and build that notion of U of T in their mind,” said Burke.

Furthering that notion was when NSBE U of T Chapter members got to accept Chapter of the Month for September honours at the conference. Joining them on stage was Arnold, who is now actively involved in NSBE U of T.

“Since the conference, I’m now mentoring two engineering students,” said Arnold. “I hope more graduate students join me in taking part in NSBE U of T and in building those connections with the Black engineering community.”


This story originally posted on U of T Engineering News.


From experience to employment: How industry-sponsored projects helped these students land dream jobs

MechE student David Pecile (right), who is currently completing his PEY at MDA Corporation, works on part of the Next-Generation Canadarm project alongside MDA employee Lauren Haensel (left) at MDA Corporation’s offices in Brampton, ON. (Credit: Laura Pedersen)

Gaining engineering experience beyond the boundaries of a university campus gives students an employability advantage after graduation. U of T Engineering is home to several programs that open pathways for undergraduate and graduate students to collaborate directly with external partners on practical engineering challenges, including:

  • Engineering Strategies & Practice, a first-year course taken by all students in the Core 8 disciplines, through which student teams partner with local clients to address challenges. Students in the Engineering Science program complete a different course called Praxis, which also includes a sponsored project.
  • The University of Toronto Institute for Multidisciplinary Design & Innovation (UT-IMDI), which facilitates industry-sponsored projects on a yearly basis, including through the fourth-year course APS 490 Multidisciplinary Capstone Design;
  • The Professional Experience Year Co-op (PEY Co-op) Program, which for more than 40 years has enabled students to spend up to 16 months working with leading companies worldwide before completing their undergraduate studies.

Participation in these programs often leads to full-time employment with the partner companies or organizations. Meet five recent U of T Engineering graduates who landed jobs as a result of an experiential learning opportunity:

Sarah Penwarden (CivE 1T7 + PEY), Ferrovial

Sarah Penwarden

Sarah Penwarden

Penwarden completed her PEY Co-op at Ferrovial, a company that operates large-scale infrastructure and municipal services. During her 16 months at the company, she worked on procurement for the extension of Highway 407, a private toll road north of Toronto.

“PEY Co-op was the best thing I did during my education,” says Penwarden. “There is a lot of stuff that you learn in class that is kind of abstract until you get to a job site and you see how it really works. It made civil engineering a lot more real for me.”

Having completed her degree, Penwarden is now back at Ferrovial. She is still working on the 407 extension, with a new focus on cost control.

“It helps a lot with the learning curve to come back into a project that I had already worked on,” she says. “But the major reason I returned was the excellent work environment. Those 16 months showed me how much I loved this part of construction.”

Kostandin Nino Dhimitri (MIE MEng 1T8), DECA Aviation Engineering

Kostandin Nino Dhimitri

Dhimitri completed two UT-IMDI projects with a different aerospace company before landing his current role in the field. Both projects were key to developing professional connections, he says.

“During my UT-IMDI internship, I dealt with many departments within the company,” he says. “This enabled me to form a wide-ranging network. My IMDI supervisor was a strong advocate, supporting me with stellar references to department managers.”

As an alumnus, Dhimitri sees himself as an ambassador for the program, and it forms a key aspect of his mentorship of current undergraduate students. “I have encouraged students to apply and potential supervisors to submit new projects,” he says. “I benefited a great deal from this program. Now, I hope to use my position to give back to the U of T Engineering community.”

Gani Ablachim (MIE MEng 1T6), UTC Aerospace Systems

Gani Ablachim

Gani Ablachim

In 2016, Ablachim spent four months with UTC Aerospace Systems, building and improving computer models used in the design of key components of aircraft landing gear. Today, he is a performance engineer with the company, responsible for landing simulation and retraction extension analysis.

“The project pushed me to make use of specific programming skills and knowledge fundamentals that I gained during my degree,” says Ablachim. “I think what made the difference is that I achieved solid results in my projects very quickly, which doesn’t always happen with research and development.”

Ablachim says mentorship was another valuable component of the experience. “I currently sit beside one of my former supervisors and still occasionally pester him for assistance,” he says. “My UT-IMDI experience was instrumental in opening the door to this exciting industry.”

Spencer Canner (IndE 1T7 + PEY), Shopify

Spencer Canner

Spencer Canner

During Canner’s PEY Co-op at Shopify, he explicitly expressed his intent to return after graduation.

“I worked with my lead and mentor to create actionable items to work on throughout my PEY Co-op,” said Canner. “These goals were set up to demonstrate that I could make an impact in line with the company’s expectations and to show a personal alignment and commitment to Shopify’s values.”

Canner’s persistence and hard work paid off. He is now a full-time user experience (UX) developer for the company, focusing on improving accessibility to ensure a positive experience for all users.

Canner believes that without the PEY Co-op experience, he would not have had as clear of a perspective of his career path. “It helped guide me toward UX development, allowing me to explore various areas of software development which led me to figure where to focus my career moving forward.”

Holly Johnson (MechE 0T9 + PEY), MDA

Holly Johnson

Holly Johnson

Johnson has worked at MDA, Canada’s largest space company, since her days as a PEY Co-op student — and has risen to become one of its youngest managers. Since graduating in 2010, Johnson has propelled herself into leadership roles, helping to apply space technology to applications in medical, nuclear and advanced manufacturing.

During her time at MDA as a PEY Co-op student she worked on the Canadarm operations team, honing her problem-solving competencies and gaining practical insights into real-world applications.

“My professional development during my PEY Co-op, largely supported by a few key mentors, put me in an ideal position to return to MDA after graduation to continue my dream of working in the space industry.”


Story originally posted on U of T Engineering News


Professor Brent Sleep Reappointed as Chair!

Effective July 1, we are pleased to announce that Professor Brent Sleep has been reappointed for another 5-year term as Chair of the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering by Dean Cristina Amon. Professor Sleep joined the Department in 1990, being promoted to Associate Professor in 1995 and Full Professor in 2000.

Under Professor Sleep’s leadership, the Department name has changed to Civil & Mineral Engineering to reflect the community of students in the Department from the Civil Engineering and the Lassonde Mineral Engineering Programs. Several new outstanding faculty members have joined the Department since 2013 and graduate enrolment and research funding have increased. On behalf of the Department, we would like to congratulate him on his reappointment to this role and are looking forward to the next five years!


U of T CECA/NECA Competes in the 2018 Green Energy Challenge

Aiming to best their third place honours received last year, the University of Toronto student chapter of the Canadian/National Electrical Contractors Association (CECA/NECA) is competing in the 2018 ELECTRI International/NECA Green Energy Challenge.

Leading up to the Green Energy Challenge, the team has hosted several events to spread awareness about sustainable buildings among U of T students.

“Our club has become smarter about the way we explain our work to others,” said President Sneha Adhikari (CIV 1T8+PEY). “Throughout this school year, we have implemented activities to get people engaged in sustainability and make this competition more approachable, allowing our team to grow.”

The U of T team leads include: Rashad Brugmann (CIV 1T9), Noah Cassidy (CIV 1T9), Dorothy Liu (CIV 2T0), Niloufar Ghaffari (CIV 1T9), Shambhavi Niraula (CIV 2T0), Nasteha Abdullahi (CIV 1T9), and Pavani Perera (CIV 1T9).

For this competition, the team is partnering with the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre (CRWC) in Toronto to design a net-zero energy retrofit for their buildings. CRWC is an emergency shelter that warmly welcomes about 300 refugees from around the world each year. This organization is driven by its mission to offer hope and dignity and allow each person they serve to thrive. U of T CECA/NECA is working to contribute to this mission by creating a proposal to both provide cost-saving improvements and to enhance the living experiences of new Canadians. Also, the team is volunteering at CRWC’s children’s programs to get younger generations engaged in becoming stewards of the environment.

The team has conducted an energy audit on site at CRWC. They are using this data (measuring electricity usage, building enclosures, and mechanical systems) in combination with insights from resident interviews to recommend and design improvements for the buildings’ performance. Recently, several members joined CRWC’s Children’s Literacy Program to teach a group of eight children about energy saving, renewable energy, and waste reduction through interactive activities.

Rashad Brugmann (CIV 1T9) expressed the challenges and rewards of his role as Project Manager. “Our work has a strong purpose in terms of sustainable development and green buildings,” he said. “The new focus on net zero energy retrofits has allowed our different subteams to work more collaboratively. We want to create a proposal that will not only do well in the competition but also be valuable and feasible for CRWC.”

The team is currently working hard on finalizing their design proposal for the April 30th deadline, ahead of the 2018 NECA Convention in Philadelphia this fall, where the top teams will present their proposals. Last summer, U of T CECA/NECA’s 2015 Green Energy Challenge design entry was in fact implemented by client, the Good Shepherd Ministries.

They would like to thank the following Faculty members for their continuous support and encouragement: Professor Brenda McCabe, Professor Jeffrey Siegel, Professor Marianne Touchie, and Professor Kim Pressnail.


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