Meet Our New Grads: Maeesha Biswas & Aleisha Reese Cerny

With U of T Engineering’s convocation ceremonies on June 20, 2023, our students mark the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

Having enriched the U of T Engineering community as undergraduate and graduate students, they will join our vibrant, global network of Skule™ alumni, where they will continue to address pressing challenges around the world and inspire the next generation.

The profiles of featured MIE students are below – read the full article to learn about the faculty’s other outstanding students!


Maeesha Biswas (IndE 2T2 + PEY)

“U of T has empowered me to learn more about how the world works and my place in it,” says Biswas.

During her time as an undergraduate industrial engineering student, Biswas’ academic interests were focused on health-care systems, human factors, technology and design geared at understanding people better.

She also devoted more than 2,000 hours to various activities and organizations, including planning the Undergraduate Engineering Research Day (UnERD) in 2020 as co-chair; and co-founding and co-hosting 1% Inspiration, a podcast that features stories and wisdom from the U of T Engineering community, including faculty, alumni and current students.

“After UnERD 2020 — which was held online due to the COVID-19 lockdown — we observed some students miss out on career development and networking opportunities due to a lack of on-campus interactions,” she says. “We created the podcast in response and since it launched, it has received over 1,100 listens over 22 episodes.”

As an extension of the podcast, Biswas collaborated with Skule™ to launch student initiatives, such as the “Dear Frosh” campaign that features letters from U of T Engineering students and alumni to their first-year selves.

After graduation, Biswas is looking forward to working on a startup with some of her fellow graduates to build generative artificial intelligence tools for media creators.

“I began learning to be a software developer during my PEY Co-op at PocketHealth — a company which helps patients share their diagnostic imaging records and own their medical information,” she says. “This experience gave me an appreciation for the huge scale of impact software can have on people’s lives.

“I want to continue to enrich human lives and experiences through software technology, and I believe my most important life’s work will be here.”


Aleisha Reese Cerny (MIE MASc 2T3)

Cerny says that pursuing research at U of T Engineering has empowered her to discover new ways of thinking and approaching problems.

For her thesis, she worked on developing conductive polymer composite materials for humidity sensors that can be used in the energy sector, as well as new materials for a component of hydrogen fuel cells called bipolar plates.

“By improving upon certain components of fuel cells, we can accelerate the mainstream adoption of this technology for a carbon-neutral future,” she says.

One of Cerny’s most rewarding experiences of the past two years was working as a teaching assistant.

“Teaching students, answering their questions and being a pillar for advice has been invaluable,” she says. “These students give me hope for the future.”

After graduation, Cerny will be working on a new startup that she co-founded with support from The Entrepreneurship Hatchery called Sustain Hydro. The team also includes Professor Olivera Kesler (MIE), who specializes in materials science, electrochemistry and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs); as well as two other colleagues that she met in Kesler’s lab.

Sustain Hydro’s initial target market will be freight and heavy-duty trucks, as they contribute to over 10% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our goal is to develop our own SOFCs for use in energy and transportation applications,” she says. “We have an exciting opportunity to really revolutionize traditional diesel engines, which can effectively lower environmental pollution and improve public health in our country.”

Beyond this endeavour, Cerny hopes to continue to incorporate her materials and engineering background into many avenues for climate justice.

“Thank you to Professor Hani E. Naguib (MIE, MSE) and all my colleagues and friends in the TSMART Lab. Professor Naguib has supported and encouraged my research endeavours on clean energy topics since the start. Any big idea I had was met with enthusiasm, guidance and support. He has built and fostered a lab with brilliant scientists who are willing to help and lift each other up when needed. Starting this degree in the pandemic was challenging, but the support and connection from other students and colleagues helped immensely.”

– These profiles extracted from the article originally published on the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering News Site on June 2, 2020 by Safa Jinje & Tyler Irving.

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