Posts Categorized: Students

CivMin grad students in team placing second at Water Environment Association of Ontario design competition

Left to right: Menghong (Freya) Wu (CivE MASc candidate) and Yucong Shi (ChemE 1T9 + PEY, CivE MASc candidate) with Yourong Li (ChemE MEng candidate) and  Shuyi (Yvonne) Zhang (ChemE 1T9 + PEY, MIE MEng candidate)

A multidisciplinary team of U of T Engineering alumni and students, including two graduate students from CivMin, placed second in the 2021 Water Environment Association of Ontario student design competition.

Menghong (Freya) Wu (CivE MASc candidate) and Yucong Shi (ChemE 1T9 + PEY, CivE MASc candidate) with Yourong Li (ChemE MEng candidate) and  Shuyi (Yvonne) Zhang (ChemE 1T9 + PEY, MIE MEng candidate) took high honours against schools from across the province to address a real-world challenge: retrofitting the Port Dalhousie Waste Water Treatment Plant to prevent the release and overflow of untreated sewer water.

To address this challenge, the team proposed implementing storage tanks for overflows in the treatment plant and identified locations for constructing catch basins and a storm water management pond in the upstream collection system. The design is flexible, economically feasible, and eliminates the threat of combined sewer overflows at the Port Dalhousie Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This story originally posed by ChemE.

Meet Chitra Raj Singh Chowhan, President of the Graduate Students’ Association

Tell us about yourself:
I’m a second year MEng student in Civil Engineering with my focus in building science. I’m an international student from India and I moved to Toronto last year.

Do you have any hobbies?
I really like playing basketball and I took a bartending course at a school in the Distillery District. I’ve really been enjoying the new skill, especially during the lockdown.

What are some of your goals for this year, either personal or as President?
As the president of the CivMin Graduate Student’s Association (GSA) my goal is to have our Industry Night run as effectively as possible. The main goal of the event is to get students in touch with industry professionals, and get that initial conversation going before formal interviews start. To have that event in an online platform presents some challenges so my goal is for the event to go as smoothly as possible.

My personal goal is to get my LEED Green Associate Certification.

How did you get involved with the GSA?
I got involved with the GSA because I’m an international student and, when I came to Toronto, I didn’t really know anyone. My primary goal in getting involved with the association was to get to know as many people as possible. The first event organized was a Halloween pub night and it was a really nice way to get to know people. I was there to help with the organization and even at the end of the night, after cleanup, all the organizers sat down and had a really nice night together. As I mentioned, my main goal was to get to know as many people as possible and getting involved with the association was the best way to do it, in my experience.

Tell us about the GSA, what does it do?
The GSA has two main goals – first, to represent CivMin grad students in as many committees as we can; secondly, is to enhance student experience for our graduate students. We do that with two types of events, social events and professional development events.

What kind of events are the GSA doing?
For our social events, this year we have virtual coffee breaks every other week and we also have an ongoing challenge. The aim of the challenge is to get people out of their desks and into fresh air. We know for grad students, it’s really difficult to find time to get out of your desk while everything is online. The first November challenge was to encourage students to go out for a walk or run and try to rack up five km and submit their distance. We got 12 people participating in that challenge and all of us combined achieved a total distance of 650 km. For December, we are doing a holiday themed challenge. We are asking people to go out and hug a snow man or build a snow man and submit a photo. And if you are in a place where there is no snow we encourage students to get creative- draw a snowman or hug a cardboard cut-out.

Now that everything is virtual how have you adapted your events? Any challenges?
I would say the participation has been low compared to last year especially with events like coffee breaks. We used to have coffee breaks in the grad lounge and everyone would come out from their offices or labs and come out for a coffee for half an hour. But using an online platform, it’s harder to get the same attendance. We are encouraging people to show up by giving out prizes and raffles, but we are still working on it. However, in other social events we do see a lot of participation, like in our outdoor challenges.

We also have a mentorship program going on and we will have a lunch at the end of year, but this program has worked really well for us in an online platform. We were able to match up 20 mentors with their mentees. We took some notes from the chem department because they have been running their mentorship program for years. This was our first year, but we’ve already seen a lot of success in doing it. We’ve had requests to do another mentorship program in the winter semester but because this was our first year, we are unable to offer the program in the winter. In the 2021/2021 academic year we will try to incorporate the mentorship program into both fall and winter semesters.

What are some of your most memorable moments of the GSA?
My most memorable time was the first GSA event I went to, the Halloween pub night. It was for all the engineering departments, so I got to meet a lot of people. It was really fun and we had a cool costume contest. I would say last year’s Halloween event was the most memorable.

What are you most excited for this year?
Industry Night. It’s our premier event and last year it was really good. Last year’s event was live and now that we are trying to do it online, we’ve been making a couple of changes to the whole mindset behind the program. Last year, we invited many companies we had different sponsorships but this year we are trying to focus on building individual relationships between industry professionals and our graduate students. So we are not trying to target companies but individuals. From our experience, building those individual relationships help students more. This year we are trying to get as many industry professionals as possible, if they want to represent their companies that’s fine but we want to target individuals.

If someone wanted to get involved with the GSA, how can they do that?
We have elections at the beginning of September, every year. Every year we have an orientation event with the department. For those joining us in the winter semester, you can still get involved. You can just get in touch with any of the members of the association and we’d be happy to get help. We are a student association and we recognize getting as many people involved in events and discussions will only help us more in making better decisions for our students.

What is the best way for students to stay up to date with the GSA?
The communications directors send out a monthly newsletter from the GSA to all graduate students, so if you pay attention to the newsletter, that is the best way for students to stay in touch. We also have a Facebook page for students who want to get more involved with the community.

Anything to add?
If anyone wants to organize an event or get involved, please contact me or any of the associations members and we’d be happy to help.

Four U of T transportation students win WTS Toronto area chapter scholarships

Four U of T transportation students, three from CivMin, have been awarded “Advancing Women in Transportation” scholarships by the WTS Toronto area chapter. From top left, clockwise: Felita Ong (CivE MASc candidate), Mahia Anhara (CivE third year), Alaa Itani (CivE PhD candidate), and Joanna Ilunga-Kapinga (MScPl candidate).



University of Toronto students Mahia Anhara (Year 3 CivE), Joanna Ilunga-Kapinga (MScPl candidate), Alaa Itani (CivE PhD candidate), and Felita Ong (CivE MASc candidate) have been awarded “Advancing Women in Transportation” scholarships by the WTS Toronto area chapter.

The scholarships were announced at the WTS Virtual Conference on Wednesday, December 3, 2020.

head shot of Mahia Anhara

Mahia Anhara

Mahia Anhara is an undergraduate Civil Engineering student at the University of Toronto with a keen interest in transportation engineering. After completing her third year, she began working as an Engineering Intern in the Vision Zero Projects Unit at the City of Toronto, as a part of her Professional Experience Year. Currently in this role, Mahia is helping to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries by designing safer streets and intersections for all road users. She was also involved in designing temporary bike lanes on a major road in her neighbourhood, which enables her to bike conveniently and safely to stores, the library, and parks.

At U of T Mahia is very involved in U of T Engineering clubs. She is currently the PEY Representative and a mentor in the Civil Engineering Discipline Club. She is also a Project Manager in the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA) – U of T Student Chapter.

Mahia believes that roads should not only be designed for motorists, but for all road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users so that everyone can access amenities and opportunities safely and equitably.

She wants to pursue a career in developing transportation systems that provide people from all walks of life with improved transit access and safer streets for biking and walking. She looks forward to being an agent in transforming cities to become more resilient and vibrant.

In her own words:

“Many North American cities have been designed in a way to prioritize automobiles. This has led to the rise of inequality, degradation of physical and mental health, and the exacerbation of climate change. I’m inspired to study transportation to help address these issues and make cities more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly.”

Mahia believes, like WTS, that supporting female transportation professionals is important:

“It’s important to have more women in the transportation industry as they can bring alternative perspectives to the table and voice their own experiences of using the transportation system. This will lead to better-informed decisions that reflect the needs of diverse users.”

head shot of Joanna Ilunga-Kapinga

Joanna Ilunga-Kapinga

Joanna Ilunga-Kapinga is currently a graduate student in the Masters of Science in Planning program at the University of Toronto. Her CIP supervisor is Professor Matti Siemiatycki.

In 2019, Joanna completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction, with a double major (Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies, and Political Science).

Joanna’s research focuses on transit-oriented development, vertical housing, mixed-use buildings, and city accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Her specialties include policy development and analysis, project management, transportation and urban planning, research analysis, stakeholder engagement, community building, and strategic planning. Joanna is also very interested in the Belt and Road Initiative happening in the Global South. This interest influenced and pushed her to pursue a degree in planning. She believes that good transportation improves access to economic and social qualities of life for all.

Joanna currently serves as the 2020-2021 Urban Land Institute Representative for the second year cohort in the Department of Geography and Planning on the ULI Student Committee, and as a Compliance Director for the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto.

When she’s not in class, Joanna enjoys creating curated playlists on Spotify, reading, watching foreign films, interior designing, and exploring the city for the most creative built forms and the best pastries.

Joanna says:

“I want to be part of the movement that includes women and people of colour with opportunity to be part of the projects and changes that shape neighbourhoods. I am extremely interested in transportation projects and making improvements to the current systems we have in place and I want to be part of identifying problems and devising more accessible transportation routes. I am very passionate about policy and I want to be involved and learn from the best on how to plan, learn and activate change.”

head shot of Alaa Itani outside on U of T grounds

Alaa Itani

Alaa is a second-year PhD student at the University of Toronto Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering specializing in public transit operations and research under the supervision of Professor Amer Shalaby. She is interested in the field of bus-hailing, dial-a-ride, and flexible transit services where her research focuses on planning and understanding the policies and guidelines of these services in this era of emerging technology and automation.

She obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Toronto in 2019 and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon in 2017.

An active volunteer, Alaa is currently Administrative Officer of the University of Toronto ITE Student Chapter. She also executed multiple volunteer roles at the recent TransitData 2020 online international symposium.

Since January 2020, Alaa has presented her research at four public forums, beginning with the prestigious Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in January. In April, she presented at Esri Canada’s “GIS in Education and Research Conference.” In June, Alaa presented at both “Transformative Transportation ’20” and the “iCity Research Days Webinar Series.”

In addition to volunteering and presenting her research, Alaa also participated in a hackathon on urban transit data, and most recently, in the 2020 ITS Canada Essay Competition where she won second prize.

Alaa is motivated by her personal, lived experience. She explains:

“I have a passion for transit and I will continue working towards more equitable transportation options, as I grew up in a city that did not have a public transport network, and I struggled a lot getting around in my own city.”

head shot of Felita Ong

Felita Ong

Felita Ong is an MASc student at the University of Toronto Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering under the supervision of Professor Khandker Nurul Habib. She obtained a BASc in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has experience in transportation planning and operations through her work in both the public and private sectors.

Felita’s research focuses on investigating the demand competition between ride-hailing services and public transit to help transit agencies make evidence-based policies and planning decisions.

Felita is passionate about introducing young students to STEM, including transportation engineering. She is currently a high school mentor through the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) U of T Chapter, and was previously an instructor for the UBC Geering Up Engineering Outreach, a non-profit organization that promotes STEM to young students throughout British Columbia.

Felita is proud that her research has real-world benefits. She says:

“Transportation is a multidisciplinary field that has a direct impact on everyday lives. I hope to contribute to a sustainable, equitable, and efficient transportation system.”

WTS Toronto area chapter scholarship announcement

About WTS

The scholarship donor organization, WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar) International, was founded in 1977 by a group of pioneering women in transportation who realized that women’s careers would benefit from professional development, encouragement and recognition to support their advancement in transportation professions. It is a member organization with chapters worldwide, including the WTS Toronto Area Chapter established in 2013.

By Pat

This story originally posted by UTTRI

Majed Karam, CivE MASc 2T0, wins ACI 123 Poster Award

Majed Karam (CivE MASc 2T0)

Majed Karam (CivE MASc 2T0) won first place at the American Concrete Institute’s poster competition with Assessing the Differential Fluid-Penetration Resistance in the Concrete Cover Through Formation Factor Mapping. Karam presented his poster during the ACI 123 Concrete Research Poster Session at the Fall 2020 ACI Virtual Convention.

Currently, Karam is working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as Concrete materials & NDT engineer at e.construct.

Here is some info regarding the poster:

  • Event: American Concrete Institute Fall Convention
  • Session: Research in Progress (a session where research in progress is presented, not a formal competition)
  • Link to the ACI website with the virtual “award ceremony”:
  • Goal of research work: There is a lack of rapid test methods for accurately assessing the impact of curing on the differential hydration through the depth of the concrete cover as well as the impact on chloride penetration resistance. In the absence of adequate performance assessment tools, prescriptive curing specifications have been adopted for concretes exposed to chlorides and other exposures. There is a desire to switch to a performance specification for curing, particularly by the precast concrete industry, that could be used to assess the impact of using of accelerated heat curing methods widely used to obtain high early-strength gain and maturity. The work presented presents an electrical-impedance-based approach forquantifying curing effects in the concrete cover. The analytical formulations and experimental validations lay the ground for a potential real-time concrete production optimization tool.


Majed Karam (CivE MASc 2T0) won first place at the American Concrete Institute’s poster competition with Assessing the Differential Fluid-Penetration Resistance in the Concrete Cover Through Formation Factor Mapping. Karam pesented his poster during the ACI 123 Concrete Research Poster Session at the Fall 2020 ACI Virtual Convention.

Full poster PDF

U of T CECA/NECA wins second in the 2020 Green Energy Challenge

The Northern Lights Solutions (NLS), a student design team in CECA/NECA U of T at Orde Street Public School (OSPS) in Toronto.

The University of Toronto student chapter of the Canadian/National Electrical Contractors Association (CECA/NECA) has overcome the challenge of working during the pandemic and won second place in the 2020 ELECTRI International/NECA Green Energy Challenge.

The Northern Lights Solutions (NLS) is a student design team in CECA/NECA U of T. Each year, the team takes part in the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge (GEC) to propose retrofits and implement an energy awareness campaign that helps a local community facility to reduce its overall energy consumption.

This year, the team partnered with the Orde Street Public School (OSPS), located right by the U of T campus in downtown Toronto, to design an energy retrofit plan. OSPS serves a diverse community by providing a range of educational services to over 450 students from more than 30 countries. The team conducted an on-site energy audit and use collected data (electricity usage, building enclosures, and mechanical systems) in combination with insights from resident interviews to recommend and design improvements for the buildings’ performance with detailed implementation plan and budget analysis. The team proposed retrofits that could reduce 80% of OSPS’s current energy consumption, with further guidelines to help achieve net-zero consumption.

The 2020 GEC team leads include: Noah Cassidy (CIV 1T9), previous President of CECA/NECA U of T, Rose Zhang (CivE Year 3, Co-Project Manager); Adrian Sin (CivE PEY, Co-Project Manager); Mahia Anhara (CivE PEY, Project Management); Bo Zhao (CivE Year 2, Building Energy Performance); Ziyi Wang (CivE Year 3, Lighting), Keziah Nongo (CivE Year 3, Solar), and Kin Hey Chan (CivE Year 2, Community Engagement).

Due to COVID-19, in-person volunteering at OSPS was cancelled. However, the team successfully launched the online energy awareness campaign for students. “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 to students from different ages,” said Chan. “We hope the students enjoy their learning and become stewards of the environment right from home”.

“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 continuous support and resources they provide us with each year. We plan to continue working hard to help our local communities!” said Noah (CIV 1T9).

By Kin Chan




Trio of PhD candidates win international honours in video thesis competition

Video thesis competition winners CivE PhD candidates (L to R) Moniruzzaman Moni, Pedram Mortazavi and Xuguang Wang.

Three PhD candidates from the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering (CivMin) at the University of Toronto have won honours for their video thesis entries in an international competition.

Moniruzzaman Moni, Pedram Mortazavi and Xuguang Wang, all civil engineering PhD candidates, won three out of the 10 honours awarded for the “3-minute Thesis” video competition held by Multihazard Engineering Collaboratory on Hybrid Simulation (MECHS). MECHS, funded by the National Science Foundation in the U.S., made the announcement with a full list of categories and winning videos online.

All three U of T winners have Professor Oh-Sung Kwon as a supervisor, with Mortazavi having co-supervisors Professors Constantin Christopoulos and Kwon.

CivMin Professor Oh-Sung Kwon

CivMin Professor Constantin Christopoulos

One of the main research interests of Professor Kwon’s research group is on the development and application of hybrid simulation methods where diverse experimental specimens and numerical models are integrated to accurately simulate responses of structures subjected to extreme loads. As part of the research program, the research group has developed the UT-SIM (Simulations for Structural Resilience​) framework through which various numerical and/or experimental tools can be seamlessly integrated.

In the early development, the main focus of the framework was to simulate structures subjected to earthquake excitation. In the past five years Prof. Kwon’s research group has expanded the framework such that structures subjected to fire or wind loads can be simulated. Some of the work is performed within the Department’s large indoor Structures Lab, which enables full-scale testing of building components.

CivE PhD candidate Moniruzzaman Moni‘s entry, titled “Real-time aeroelastic hybrid simulation of a base pivoting model building in a wind tunnel,” was selected from a large pool of entries as a winner in the “Creativity” category.

CivE PhD candidate Pedram Mortazavi‘s entry, titled “Four-Element Hybrid Simulations on a Steel Structure with Cast Steel Yielding Connectors,” was selected as a winner in the “Novelty” category. Mortazavi’s work is in collaboration with Cast Connex.

Mortazavi has been honoured with awards before, and was just last fall awarded the G. J. Jackson Fellowship Award from the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction at the Canadian Steel Conference and awarded the Donald Jamieson Fellowship from the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering at the CSCE annual conference,


CivE PhD candidate Xuguang Wang‘s entry, titled “Development and Applications of Hybrid Simulation Method for Fire Testing, was selected as a winner in the “Technical” category.

While having three out of 10 winners of the competition from Professor Kwon’s group is impressive, he also had a hand a fourth winner’s work. A winner from Seoul National University in Korea is co-supervised by Prof. Kwon for his work on aeroelastic hybrid simulation of a bridge deck.


By Phill Snel

How U of T Engineering students are keeping Skule™ F!rosh traditions alive, virtually

More than 800 F!rosh Kits were mailed to incoming U of T Engineering students around the world for this fall’s virtual orientation week. (Photo courtesy Dana Kokoska and Gabe Sher)


Yellow hard hats and purple paint — two colourful symbols that signal the longstanding traditions of U of T Engineering F!rosh Week. Although the class of 2T4 won’t be together in-person this fall, the organizing team is on a mission to make sure first years won’t miss a beat.

“It’s been incredibly tough, but easily the most rewarding thing I’ve done,” says Gabe Sher (Year 4 ElecE), Orientation Chair. “It’s an opportunity for us to really focus in on the core of F!rosh Week: helping students make friends and get excited for their undergrad journey. Moving to virtual forced us to rethink F!rosh Week at the micro and macro levels and build it back up from scratch with those goals in mind.”

Happening September 7 to 13, the Orientation team plans to welcome more than 800 incoming U of T Engineering students, logging into all-virtual events.

“A big challenge throughout the summer has been making sure that everyone can access F!rosh Week, regardless of where they are in the world,” says Sher. “Having accessibility be a central tenet of our planning has been a good way to centre ourselves in making this all happen.”

“Our team completely rebuilt the Orientation Week website with a robust infrastructure that can handle redirecting Zoom calls, video hosting, everything that’s happening, our site will be the hub for that week,” says Dana Kokoska (Year 4 ElecE), Orientation Vice Chair, Marketing.

Sher adds that a benefit of hosting F!rosh Week virtually this year is that students can participate at their own pace. “You’re in the comfort of your own home or residence, and you can engage exactly as much as you want to,” he says. “Of course, we want that to be more than less, but if you need a break, it’s easy to just close your webcam and go grab a snack.”

Events include virtual drop-in hours to meet student Leedurs [sic] and new classmates; matriculation and tours of the campus; a space-themed design challenge, an online scavenger hunt; and even the instantly recognizable purple paint.

Purple face paint, along with a yellow Skule™ hard hat, t-shirt, backpack, stickers and other F!rosh Kit items were mailed to students across the globe, from Vancouver, B.C. , to Yangon, Myanmar, to Lagos, Nigeria.

F!rosh Kit items (dog not included). (Photo courtesy Caitlin Chee-Kirkpatrick)

The team have blocked a time — dubbed the Dye Station — for students to all get together on Zoom and paint their faces with natural dye included in the Orientation kits. “It’ll be different than previous years, but it’ll still be fun. It’s amazing we found a solution to keep this tradition going,” adds Kokoska.

For students like Caitlin Chee-Kirkpatrick (Year 1 EngSci) who live in the Toronto and GTA, some kits were personally delivered by team members wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.

The Orientation team delivered F!rosh Kits personally to local students, including first-year engineering science student Caitlin Chee-Kirkpatrick (right). (Photo courtesy Caitlin Chee-Kirkpatrick)

“My Leedurs [sic] were so kind, and chatted with me about academics and social life at U of T. I really appreciated the warm welcome extended to me,” says Chee-Kirkpatrick. “Even though this is a highly unusual year, everyone at U of T Engineering has really gone out of their way to welcome us to the engineering community — receiving this package in person is like the icing on the cake.”

With F!rosh Week just days away, Sher and the team are putting the finishing touches on their site and event plans. His advice to students participating: “Everyone else is feeling the same excitement and nervousness for school as you are, so take time to see what you’ve got in common with the people you meet in F!rosh Week. You’ll be surprised just how many great people you meet.”

By Liz Do

This story originally publishing by Engineering News

INTRODUCING: Civ Club Chair Karen Chu

Civ Club Chair Karen Chu (CIV 2T0 + PEY)

Introducing Karen Chu (CIV 2T0 + PEY) going into fourth year this September. is your Civ Club Chair for 2020-2021.

Here are some fun facts about Karen!

Hobbies: working out/volleyball, window shopping, and bartending. I also enjoy listening to country music.

Goal: My goal for the year is to enhance the student experience by highlighting our community’s talents and ensuring that we provide support to ALL students during this uncertain time.



What is Civ Club?
The Civil Engineering Club, aka Civ Club, is your student body representation between the students, department, and faculty. Throughout the year, Civ Club organizes various events from social to academic to strengthen our tight-knit community. Our goal is to promote student interaction and participation to provide you with the best student experience possible.
What does Civ Club do?
We host events like annual semi-formals (Dinner Dance), holiday themed activities, exam de-stressors, course review sessions, and much, much, more. Civ Club also sells civ-related merchandise as well as lockers located in the civil engineering building.
How did you get involved?
This will be my third year on Civ Club! I was interested in Civ Club since the start of my undergraduate career and joined to take on a leadership role while giving back to the community. I met most of my friends due to Civ Club and I wanted to return the same hospitality. Being a part of Civ Club has allowed me to develop my soft skills and help strengthen our civil community.
Right now, everything is online/virtual. What is Civ Club doing differently to engage students?
Civ Club is working hard to ensure your undergraduate experience is equal if not better than it ever was before. We have tons of virtual events lined up to keep students engaged and connected during these times. Our first event is on Wednesday, September 9 and it will be a great chance to meet fellow classmates. We are also working on in-person events with safety measures in place. Civ Club has also improved our mental health and wellness resources and website/social media presence to help create the feeling of community and sense of belonging.
Once we’re all able to get back to campus, do you have any must-see or must-do suggestions? What about any helpful hints for new students? Or hidden gems near to campus?
U of T St. George campus is right in the heart of the city and there’s plenty to do! There’s a great outdoor area to sit on the grass and hang out with friends by King’s College Circle. Another great space is GB123 (Galbraith Building), our Civil common room. This is where most civil students lounge in between classes or to study. It’s also where we host all our events! We also have the Galbraith Quad where you can sit outside and enjoy the weather. [ED NOTE: Civ Club Common Room is currently closed. as is the Galbraith Building.]
For food, College St has a great variety (sushi, pubs, shawarma) and it’s less than 5 mins from engineering buildings. Einstein (229 College St) is a common place for engineering students to go to on Tuesdays for their $2 appetizers menu. Campus is also close to Spadina St where there are plenty of restaurants from bubble tea to dumplings. Kensington Market and Baldwin are also two neighbourhoods close by that bring plenty of food options for whatever you’re craving!
A great hidden gem is “The Village by the Grange”. The food court in the mall across from OCAD University has the greatest meals for the best deals. Find full meals for all under $10 and even some for under $5! Only a short 10 mins walk from campus.
If you feel like visiting a museum, the ROM (Royal Ontario Musuem) is FREE for students on Wednesdays! Eaton Centre, one of the largest malls, is only 15 mins away and filled with countless stores and offerings!
How can students get involved?
Simply coming out to our events can make a real difference in your university experience! You’ll get a chance to meet other exec members as well as students from all years. If you’re interested in becoming an exec on Civ Club and taking on a leadership role, then the First Year Civil Rep position is just for you! Stay tuned in September for more updates on how you can apply!
Finally, where can students find out more about Civ Club and upcoming events? (website, social media profiles, etc):
Check us out on our website and social media pages to stay up to date on all our events and announcements.
Follow us on
Instagram: @civclub
Twitter: @civclub

How to work effectively when your team is both global and virtual

A steel-tethered airship, known as an aerostat, designed by Solar Ship, Inc. The company is one of several clients whose projects are facilitated by U of T Engineering’s International Virtual Engineering Student Teams (InVEST) initiative. (Photo: Solar Ship, Inc.)


Last January, U of T Engineering launched a new program focused on using online collaboration tools to build effective, multidisciplinary design teams with members all over the world. Its creators could not have known how timely their efforts were.

“Prior to the pandemic, utilizing virtual-international teams was seen as a time and cost- saving approach to harness talent and maximize efficiency,” says Professor Elham Marzi (ISTEP). “In the present state, we are seeing organizations left with little choice but to embrace virtual-international teams as the best way forward.”

There are signs that the shift online caused by COVID-19 may continue even after the virus subsides. Already, major technology companies such as Twitter, Shopify and Facebook have told their employees that they can keep telecommuting indefinitely.

“This is the new global reality our graduates need to prepare for,” says Marzi.

The International Virtual Engineering Student Teams (InVEST) initiative facilitates virtual and cross-cultural collaboration by connecting U of T Engineering students with their peers at partner universities abroad.

Student teams undertake technical projects under the supervision of faculty members at partner universities. They also participate in value-added learning activities on technology use, effective teamwork and intercultural communication and understanding.

Together, these international, multidisciplinary teams complete design projects, sometimes for an external client, using a suite of software tools to communicate and track their progress.

InVEST is delivered by a team that includes:

  • Professor Elham Marzi (ISTEP), InVEST Director & Principal Investigator
  • Rahim Rezaie, InVEST Assistant Director
  • Debbie A. Mohammed, University & Industry Liaison
  • Anuli Ndubuisi (OISE), Research and Program Manager
  • Oluwatobi (Tobi) Edun, Operations & Research Manager
  • Patrick Ishimwe, Website & Social Media Developer

“Some of our students already travel abroad at some point in their degree programs,” says Rezaie. “But travel is expensive, and the students usually can’t stay away for more than a few weeks. Virtual collaboration offers a more scalable way for the university to enhance international experience for graduates.”

InVEST, which is supported by the Dean’s Strategic Fund, was designed to be compatible with existing experiential learning activities, such as fourth-year capstones courses, MEng research projects, or independent project courses.

However, at the request of U of T’s Centre for International Experience, the team has added a number of summer research exchanges that were moved online due to travel restrictions.

“What this program provides is the ability to have eyes and ears in more than one country,” says Edun. “This leads to a bigger and more diverse set of ideas around the table, and a richer experience for everyone involved.”

Jeff Mukuka (Year 4 CivE) is one of the participants. His project is a design exchange internship with Solar Ship, Inc., a company that designs tethered and mobile airships, known as aerostats, for applications ranging from tourism to freight transportation.

“Through InVEST, I’ve had the privilege of working with people from many countries, including the U.S., U.A.E., Nepal and Zambia,” says Mukuka. “The experience working with such a diverse team was transformational and I have made many lifelong friends.”

In addition to their design work, students in InVEST engage with educational modules that help them address some of the issues that come up during extended online collaboration.

“These days, we’re all learning that Zoom etiquette is important, that we need to be respectful when having a meeting that essentially lets your co-workers inside your home,” says Marzi. “That’s true whether you’re in Ecuador, Canada or Africa, but how it is perceived may vary from place to place, so we’re getting the students to think through that.”

Students and staff from three InVEST projects participating in an intercultural learning session held July 16, 2020. Left to right, top to bottom: Tobi Edun, Professor Elham Marzi, Anuli Ndubuisi, Malama, Laura Williams, Mohamed Mbarouk, Matt Jagdeo, Sampanna Bhattarai, Chao Wang, Maryam Naqi, Rayni Li, Ali Khan, Carlos Qixiao, Jenny Li. (Photo courtesy Elham Marzi)

“I learned a lot from the modules: intercultural communication skills, group conflict resolution, and how to use software tools for virtual collaboration,” says Mukuka. “The skills I have acquired are invaluable, especially now that the future is projected to have more remote work even after COVID-19 ends.”

Mukuka’s project is one of four completed over the last several months, with others ongoing, involving a total of 24 students. These include 13 students from partner universities such as University of Johannesburg in South Africa, and the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.

Heading into the fall semester, the team will expand the program with more projects.

“We are in contact with more than fifteen universities around the world at the moment,” says Edun. “Some of the projects I’m excited about for the fall include one about biogas production, in partnership with Covenant University in Nigeria, as well as one about making power grids more resilient to lightning strikes, with Brazil’s Federal University of Minas Gerais.”

All members of the InVEST team agree that while online collaboration across cultures was already emerging as a critical skill for engineering graduates, the current situation has accelerated the trend.

“When we started out, we heard from partners that online collaboration would be complicated and cumbersome,” says Rezaie. “Our goal was to de-risk this approach, to show people that there was value in this kind of engagement. That value proposition has become a lot clearer over the past few months, which has led to much more interest.”

By Tyler Irving

This article originally published by Engineering News


Visit the InVEST website to learn more about the program.

Survey Camp construction underway




Construction underway for new facilities at Survey Camp July 2020. (Photo by Brent Sleep)



A ceremonial groundbreaking at the U of T Survey Camp on Gull Lake, near Minden, Ont,. as part of Centennial celebrations on September 7, 2019, for the upcoming construction of the new HCAT Bunkhouse and MacGillivray Common Room. With spades (L to R): Brent Sleep, Chair, Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering; Georgette Zinaty, Executive Director, Advancement & Alumni Relations; Scott MacGillivray (Civ 8T2), Alumnus & Donor; Christopher Yip, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering; Robert MacGillivray (Civ 8T5), Alumnus & Donor; Brenda McCabe (Civ 9T4), Faculty and Project Lead.(Photo by Phill Snel, CivMin)

Construction of new facilities at Survey Camp is now underway. A century after the first group of University of Toronto Engineering students used the site, located on the north shore of Gull Lake near Minden, Ont., a modern and flexible-use building has been planned. The new HCAT Bunkhouse and MacGillivray Common Room are some of the new facilities being built during the centennial year.

While no course is actually taking place on the grounds this summer, as precaution during this public health crisis, the construction is proceeding and had been reported ahead of schedule as of a mid-July report. The land clearing and grubbing was completed, as well as several concrete pours for footings and some boreholes for testing the hard clay base.

Purchased in 1919, the first cohort of U of T students took classes on the site in 1920, with the 2019 class becoming the 100th consecutive year to attend Survey Camp – now known as Civil And Mineral Practicals (CAMP). Centennial celebrations included the ceremonial groundbreaking for the construction of two new connected buildings, a bunkhouse and common room, on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The campaign is appropriately called CAMP100.

Planning for a new building requires a dedicated approach, many opinions sought, several committees to meet with and hoops to jump through. “What we want is for it not to stick out (compared to the other buildings); it’s about the place, not about the building,” said Professor Brenda McCabe, who is acting as the faculty lead on the project.

Among the considerations, with feedback from students and alumni, was the new building should create continuity with existing structures, recognize the character and culture of survey camp, and maintain the existing site topography. Other considerations include the need for accessibility under the Accessibility Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), giving wheelchair access to bedrooms, washrooms, and the common room.


Rendering of the HCAT Bunkhouse and MacGillivray Common Room (Credit: V+A Architects)

Floor plan of the new complex (With files from V+A Architects)













Centennial CAMP100 celebration and images

Read about and look inside the new Survey Camp buildings




Leave your own mark on Camp:

The ongoing Centennial Campaign for Camp offers alumni an opportunity to once again ‘leave their mark’ on camp, and bolster the success future generations of Civil & Mineral students. All Donations are matched dollar-for-dollar as we work toward a goal of $1.5 million (we’ve reached 70 per cent to date!). Donors are gratefully acknowledged on the campaign website. Those who contribute $1,000 or more will be recognized on a permanent donor wall. In addition, bunkbeds can be named for $5,000, built-in benches for $10,000 or even rooms for $25,000 and above.

Direct link to donate 

© 2021 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering