Posts Categorized: Awards & Honours

Yu Sun recognized with 2021 CSME Mechatronics Medal

Professor Yu Sun is the recipient of the 2021 Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME) Mechatronics Medal. The society distributes these technical awards biannually to CSME members that have made outstanding contributions to specific areas of mechanical engineering in Canada. The Mechatronics Medal recognizes the recipient’s “exceptional contributions to robotics and automation at micro-nano scales”.

Professor Sun is a Tier I Canada Research Chair, and the founding Director of the UofT Robotics Institute. His Advanced Micro and Nanosystems Laboratory specializes in developing innovative technologies and instruments for manipulating and characterizing cells, molecules, and nanomaterials. He was elected Fellow of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), NAI (US National Academy of Inventors), AIMBE (American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering), CAE (Canadian Academy of Engineering), and RSC (Royal Society of Canada) for his work on micro-nano devices and robotic systems.

-Published November 5, 2020 by Lynsey Mellon,

Professor Cristina Amon receives Engineers Canada Gold Medal Award

Professor Cristina Amon (MIE), Alumni Distinguished Professor in Bioengineering and Dean Emerita of U of T Engineering, has received the 2020 Engineers Canada Gold Medal Award. This is Engineers Canada’s most prestigious honour, recognizing outstanding engineering achievements and leadership in the Canadian engineering community.

A distinguished scholar in mechanical engineering, devoted educator and innovative academic leader, Cristina Amon served as Dean of U of T Engineering from 2006 to 2019. During that time, she established the U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering as a world leader in multidisciplinary engineering research and education while making incredible strides in advancing gender equity, diversity and inclusion.

Under Amon’s leadership, the international profile of U of T Engineering and Canadian engineering programs rose tremendously; the Faculty is now acknowledged as one of the world’s top public engineering schools in all international rankings. This is in large part due to her unwavering commitment to creating innovative educational programming, establishing structures to ensure student success, fostering multidisciplinary research and strong partnerships with industry, and promoting Canadian engineering internationally.

Amon’s research pioneered the development of Computational Fluid Dynamics for formulating and solving thermal design challenges subject to multidisciplinary competing constraints. She has made ground-breaking contributions to concurrent thermal designs, innovation in electronics cooling, optimization algorithms for renewable energy, design of biomedical devices and, most recently, transient thermal management of electrical vehicle batteries and fast chargers.

Cristina Amon has served the engineering profession with distinction and dedication. She was the founding Chair of the Global Engineering Deans Council and the Chair of the Research Committee for the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science, and has served in numerous leadership and committee roles both in Canada and abroad.

Amon has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Royal Academy of Spain, Royal Society of Canada, and National Academy of Engineering, and is a fellow of all the professional and technical societies in her field. She has received the highest honours for Canadian engineers, including the Ontario Professional Engineers Gold Medal and the Engineering Institute of Canada Sir John Kennedy Medal.

“Cristina Amon has advanced engineering education and the engineering profession nationwide through her visionary leadership. She is indeed an inspiring role model,” says U of T Engineering Dean Chris Yip. “On behalf of the Faculty, my warmest congratulations to her on this prestigious and well-deserved honour.”

-This story was originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on June 11, 2020 by Carolyn Farrell

Professor Goldie Nejat wins OPEA Engineering Excellence medal

A U of T Engineering professor and two alumni have been honoured by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) with Ontario Professional Engineers Awards.

Professor Goldie Nejat (MIE) won the Engineering Excellence medal, recognizing overall excellence in the practice of engineering. Alumnus Howard Goodfellow (ChemE 6T4) received the Management Medal, for innovative management contributing significantly to an engineering achievement. Alumna Yin Yu (Rachel) Zhang (BME 0T8) garnered the Young Engineer Medal, for an early-career engineer who has demonstrated professional excellence as well as service to the community.

“These awards demonstrate how U of T Engineers at every career stage are using their skills and talents to make an impact on society that extends well beyond the engineering field,” said U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip. “On behalf of the Faculty, my warmest congratulations to the recipients on this well-deserved honour.”

Nejat holds the Canada Research Chair in Robots for Society and is pioneering the development of assistive robots that meet the increasing care needs of an aging population, search for victims in harsh and time-critical disaster environments, and help in both the home and workplace.

Over the past 15 years, she has established a successful research laboratory, trained the next generation of robotics engineers, developed and taught undergraduate/graduate courses, and has been recognized with many honours. Her leadership has led to several collaborations with governments, industry partners in the robotics, healthcare and manufacturing sectors, and healthcare centres and first responder services, who have sought her expertise to improve quality of life and keep people safe.

Nejat has provided distinguished service to numerous international and Canadian engineering organizations. She is heavily involved in knowledge translation and regularly engages in public outreach. She is also a role model and mentor to students and young engineers, and shares her passion for engineering and innovation with them through hands-on training in her lab, workshops, talks, and live demonstrations of her robotics technologies.

Nejat has given a number of keynote and invited talks around the world on her transformative robotics research. She regularly advises government agencies to enable access to the latest advances in robotics and artificial intelligence to help people in their everyday lives. She has received the Ontario Professional Engineers Young Engineers Medal and the Engineers Canada Young Engineer Achievement Award.

As a global leader in clean technology, Dr. Howard Goodfellow has led a number of successful. businesses over the course of his career that provided critical guidance in environmental management and control.

As President of Tenova Goodfellow Inc., he became known internationally for the Goodfellow Expert Furnace System Optimization Process (EFSOP®), technology he developed and commercialized in 1998. This extractive analytical and control system optimizes the furnace process in steel manufacturing and is the basis for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions due to its worldwide application in more than 100 plants. Its use is now being extended to other combustion-intensive industries to improve energy efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Goodfellow is a global authority on industrial ventilation and clean technology; through his design guidebooks and technical publications in international journals and conference proceedings, he pioneered new standards for industrial ventilation. He is currently Editor-in-Chief for the second edition of the Industrial Ventilation Design Guidebook, scheduled for publication in 2021.

Goodfellow is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and Engineers Canada. He is a recipient of the Ontario Professional Engineers Entrepreneurship Award and the Canada Award from the Society of Chemical Industry.  The companies he has led have received the Ministry of Energy and the Environment Award of Excellence, the Canada National Energy Efficiency Award, and the Financial Post Environmental Award for Business, among many others.

Yin Rachel Zhang is a clinical engineer at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, with a focus on developing specifications of clinical equipment.

She is a key contributor in the development of the Ontario Neonatal Transport Incubator, a mobile intensive care unit designed to transport newborns safely to the nearest acute care facility. A result of a collaboration with multiple Ontario hospitals, the transport system is equipped with the latest medical technology that meets Canadian air and ground ambulance transportation regulations.

Zhang also managed a hospital-wide patient monitor system upgrade and provided clinical training of nurses and physicians with an 80 per cent completion rate. She co-led multiple teams on hardware and software installation and conversion. This has made a significant impact on the improvement of communication, collaboration and streamlined processes within departments, resulting in improved patient care.

She presented her approach at the European Medical and Biological Engineering Conference and won the Outstanding Teamwork Award from the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering’s Clinical Engineering Division for her Clinical Engineering Department.

Understanding the importance of encouraging young professionals in the STEM field, she participates in conferences, gives guided tours to students at her workplace and mentors young interns into the field of clinical engineering. Zhang was also featured in an Engineering Dimensions article, “Reaching 30 by 30”, as an example of women working in engineering.

-This story was originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on April 7, 2020 by Carolyn Farrell

Jason Bazylak receives U of T’s Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award

The University of Toronto is honouring U of T Engineering’s Jason Bazylak (MIE) with the Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience award. This award recognizes a member of the U of T community who goes above and beyond the requirements of their job, resulting in a broad and long-term positive impact on the quality of the student experience at the University.

Bazylak, a Métis engineer from Saskatchewan, is known for his efforts to address the underrepresentation of Indigenous people and women in engineering, leading reconciliation initiatives and his award-winning first-year design course.

Bazylak is a Dean’s Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives, the principal investigator at the Centre of Indigenous Research into Cultivating Engineers and co-chairs U of T Engineering’s Eagles’ Longhouse steering committee. He has championed the Faculty’s work toward rebuilding relationships between engineering and Indigenous communities and greater inclusivity of Indigenous people, particularly students, in U of T Engineering.

Bazylak’s commitment to inclusivity is reflected in the Indigenous speaker series he launched, the mentorship he offers Indigenous students, as well as his involvement in the Engineering Positive Space committee, the Engineering Equity Diversity and Inclusion action group and a student allyship group.

He is also the co-ordinator and instructor for the award-winning first year design course, Engineering Strategies and Practice, that each year introduces approximately 1,000 engineering students to their future careers. Leveraging the active-learning capabilities of the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship, he redesigned this course to introduce technologies to improve communication in large classes, creating new inter-faculty course collaborations and more opportunities for practical, hands-on experiences.

Bazylak’s research focuses on identifying barriers to entry in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), especially for women and Indigenous students. He looks at approaches designed to remove those barriers, such as designing more welcoming student experiences and using technology to improve student engagement. Bazylak holds a Hart Innovation Teaching Professorship, which further supports this research.

Outside of U of T, Bazylak is a widely respected thought leader and founding member of both the Canadian Indigenous Science and Engineering Society and the Canadian Engineering Education Association.

“On behalf of the Faculty, I want to extend my enthusiastic congratulations to Jason for this well-deserved recognition,” says U of T Engineering Dean Chris Yip. “His dedication to welcoming and supporting our students, and both strengthening existing and creating new relationships with the Indigenous community, is key to our efforts in building a more inclusive and equitable future here in the Faculty.”

-This story was originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on March 27, 2020 by Lynsey Mellon

Cristina Amon receives Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award

The University of Toronto is celebrating Professor Cristina Amon (MIE), Dean Emerita of U of T Engineering, as its 2020 Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award recipient. The accolade recognizes a faculty member each year as an exemplary university citizen for his or her leadership and meaningful contributions in diverse spheres of the University. 

Throughout her remarkable tenure as Dean at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Amon established U of T Engineering as a world leader in multidisciplinary engineering research and education while making incredible strides in advancing gender equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Under Amon’s leadership, U of T Engineering has become a global hub for interdisciplinary research and education and is renowned for its innovative educational programming, student success, multidisciplinary research and outstanding professors. Her commitment to outreach and diversity set a new standard for Engineering schools worldwideDuring her deanship (2006-2019), U of T Engineering has made tremendous strides in gender diversity, increasing the first-year engineering student cohort from 20% to 42% women and the number of women faculty from 19 to 57, while 13 major leadership roles have been held by women.   

 “The impact of Cristina’s legacy on our Faculty is evident in every facet of our world-leading research enterprise, innovative educational programs and vibrant community,” says U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip. “Her visionary leadership has truly transformed our Faculty, and it is with gratitude and pride that I congratulate her on this richly deserved honour.” 

During her term as Dean, Amon diversified Engineering’s curriculum, initiating undergraduate minors and certificate programs in collaboration with other Faculties to expand students’ educational opportunities. She also led a new emphasis on design education, establishing the Institute for Multidisciplinary Design & Innovation and a number of multidisciplinary capstone team design initiatives in partnership with industry. In addition, Amon revitalized engineering graduate education by introducing innovative professional Master’s programs and PhD programs, and fostered partnerships with universities worldwide to provide students with rich opportunities for international experiences. 

Beyond the classroom, Amon created programming to enrich the student experience and enhance experiential learning. U of T Engineering now offers students opportunities to develop the leadership, communicationbusiness and entrepreneurial competencies to be at the forefront of societal and technological change. She spearheaded the creation of the Entrepreneurship Hatchery, the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead)and the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, among others. 

Prior to her deanship, Amon was the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems at Carnegie Mellon. A graduate of MIT, her research pioneered multidisciplinary thermal designs and made ground-breaking innovations to transient thermal management, optimization algorithms for renewable energy, nanoscale transport in electronics and biological systems. Her scholarly contributions are published in 16 book chapters and more than 350 articles in education and research literature. 

She has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, Royal Academy of Spain and Royal Society of Canada, and is an elected fellow of all major professional societies in her fields. Amon also received the Ontario Professional Engineers Gold Medal in 2015—the most prestigious honour for engineering public service, technical excellence and professional leadership. 

Her colleagues sum up Amon’s leadership of the Faculty as transformative, pointing to increased retention and graduation rates, improved international rankings and her tireless fundraising for a much-needed building. She is universally recognized as  model of a “citizen leader” who empowers others around her to effect positive change. 

-This story was originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on March 12, 2020 by Carolyn Farrell

Who is U of T? What a combined 65 years of service looks like

Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Jim Wallace PhD, P.Eng., FSAE, FCSME, FEIC, FCAE (left) and Provost’s Chief Administrative Officer, Catherine Gagne MI, C.Mgr (right). While reflecting on their individual careers, they regularly add to each other’s answers to trumpet their partner’s accomplishments. Photo by Luke Ng.

September 19, 2018 — This fall, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Division of the Vice-President & Provost, Catherine Gagne, and her husband, Engineering Professor Jim Wallace, will each receive the University of Toronto (U of T) Long Service Award, for 25 and 40 years of service respectively. A look into their combined 65 years reveals much of what defines U of T’s excellence: its people.

A President’s Teaching Award winner and member of the Teaching Academy, Prof. Jim Wallace is a distinguished educator motivated by his students. He is full of anecdotes of chance encounters with graduates he taught, from pilots to home inspectors — after 40 years of teaching, hearing “Professor Wallace!” while out and about is not uncommon.

Wallace started at U of T as a professor in Engineering in 1978. Both teaching and research benefitted from the wonderful practical experience gained during a meaningful stint in the US Navy. Though his heart is in the classroom and in his research lab, he has also served in various administrative roles, including as the Chair of the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering from 1998 to 2003. U of T offers exceptional opportunities for research collaboration with outstanding colleagues and graduate students.

“One of the best parts of the job is working with graduate students; the quality of students here is amazing,” says Wallace. “It’s been my good fortune to work with a whole crop of wonderful people over the years and that has really kept me renewed and rejuvenated.”

Gagne has held multiple administrative positions at the University, spanning both central and divisional operations. She welcomes opportunities for occupational renewal and has embraced it as part of her professional philosophy. This has given her a unique understanding of U of T’s ins and outs, which she has shared throughout her career to foster leadership and teamwork.

Gagne began at U of T in 1993 with a serendipitous start covering a maternity leave for a Business Officer position, thinking it would be a short stay in a job history that already included working in the Alberta oil patch, a two-year project with Microsoft, and administration of the Canadian Kennel Club. She’s since stayed at U of T because of the many professional development opportunities and her brilliant colleagues.

“The beauty of working at U of T is that you can maintain a relationship with an employer that invests in you for the long term; there’s so much opportunity to move around, it makes it easy to stay for many years and still grow,” says Gagne. “The other thing is the quality of my colleagues. I’m surrounded by the most interesting and intelligent people. To be challenged and to be engaged as part of this exceptional community is extremely rewarding.”

The two met 18 years ago, when Gagne interviewed for her third role at U of T—Wallace was on her Search Committee. As a potential romance discretely blossomed, their work supporting University staff, students and faculty remained paramount.

So many years later, it feels particularly special to celebrate and share their career milestones at U of T together. “The Long Service Award is something to be extremely proud of; it’s important to mark these milestones,” says Gagne. “When we realized our years of service had aligned in this way, we thought it was pretty neat and very much worth celebrating.”

Wallace was on the Con Hall stage when Gagne graduated with a Masters of Information in 2017.

This is not the first time their U of T paths have crossed for a momentous occasion. As a member of the academic procession, Wallace was on the Con Hall stage when Gagne graduated with a Masters of Information in 2017, making it very special for her.

From the start, the two have and continue to contribute to enabling the University’s mission of excellence in education in their own ways. Whether in the classroom, or working behind the scenes, they see their lasting marks as inherently tied to the people who comprise the U of T community. Their career highlights are rooted in learning from and working with others.

After a combined 65 years of service, their dedication to the U of T is an integral part of their relationship The couple works on balancing their professional and personal lives but admits, at times, they are married as much to their work as they are to each other. It’s clear though, that their admiration and love for one another is the foundation for all they do.

This story originally appeared on the U of T Human Resources & Equity site.

Michael Carter elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Professor Michael Carter (MIE) has been elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the country’s highest health-related scholarly body. He becomes the first industrial engineer to hold the rank. (Credit: Brian Tran)

September 14, 2018 — For more than 30 years, Professor Michael Carter (MIE) has led the way in improving health-care delivery in Toronto. In recognition of his decades of service, Carter has been elected Fellow of the country’s highest health-related scholarly body, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS).

Carter is the first industrial engineer inducted into the CAHS, joining fellow U of T Engineering professors Paul Santerre (IBBME) and Molly Shoichet (ChemE, IBBME).

Over the past three decades, Carter has followed his former students’ careers. More than 150 of his undergraduate, masters and PhD students — whom he calls his “academic children” — work in the health care sector. Many of his former students are now health care leaders or distinguished academics.

“Most of the hospitals in Toronto hire my students. They’ve been working their way up to positions of senior leadership and their work is making a significant difference to our health care system. Witnessing their many achievements is one of the high points of my career,” said Carter.

He was one of the first academics in industrial engineering  to see the need to study the way health care works in hospitals in order to find ways to deliver better care and reduce costs. Carter’s first foray into health-care research was during his PhD studies when he examined nurse schedules.

“Professor Carter is a pioneer in his field. He saw before others how industrial engineering techniques could make health care work better for everyone. He’s contributed so much to the Department and the Faculty,” said Professor Markus Bussmann, Chair of MIE.

Today, industrial engineers regularly team up with health-care centres. This was not the case in the 1980s, when engineers were seen as curiosities in the hospital context.

“I was one of the few researchers then. Today there are probably a hundred professors across Canada who focus on process improvement in healthcare. It was an uphill battle, but this work is now a respected and increasingly popular focus of engineering research and practice,” said Carter.

During the 1990s, with health-care costs an increasing line item in provincial budgets, governments became increasingly weary of pumping more money into the system and seeing only marginal improvements in patient experience. This meant that hospitals felt the squeeze to do more with existing resources. Most health care professionals and government policy makers didn’t have the training and expertise required to solve the problems.

The perceived wisdom was, and continues to be, that in order to improve quality of health care, government simply needs to pour more money into the system. But Carter cites just one example of how improving a single aspect of health-care delivery, such as scheduling of surgeries, can result in better resource management without costing taxpayers a dime.

“Thirty years ago, operating rooms were relatively quiet Friday afternoons because few doctors scheduled surgeries then. Staff scheduled Fridays experienced lower workloads, while working overtime during the rest of the week. No one was looking at the balance between supply and demand,” said Carter. This is no longer the case in many academic health centers.

In the 2000s, he was instrumental to launching the Centre for Healthcare Engineering (CHE) — then known as the Centre for Research in Healthcare Engineering — where he served as founding director.

Today, CHE provides a home for industrial engineering researchers to connect, share research, and intensify their collaboration. Under Carter’s leadership, CHE grew into a thriving research institute, one that will be holding its 10-year celebration at the Myhal Centre for Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation on October 1, 2018.

While CHE’s leadership has passed on to Professor Timothy Chan (MIE), Carter’s research continues to forge ahead. “Professor Carter’s work is legendary in the field. His engineering-based approach has touched on virtually all aspects of the health care system, from patient scheduling to health policy,” said Chan. “He is highly deserving of being named a Fellow of CAHS. I know he’ll bring a strong industrial engineering voice to the table.”

For more information or to register for the Centre for Healthcare Engineering’s 10-year celebration, please contact Shannon Osborne at

Honourary Member, Engineering Alumni Network
Iain Currie

2018 IEEE C.C. Gotlieb Computer Award
Yu Sun

Fellow, Combustion Institute
Murray Thomson

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