2015-16 LOT and Grad Award winners

On April 1, students, faculty, staff, alumni and industry friends came together to enjoy the 31st Annual Chemical Engineering Dinner. Several students were recognized throughout the evening for their extracurricular and/or academic achievements.

Leaders of Tomorrow Award Winners

The Class of 5T9 Leaders of Tomorrow Award

katieKatie Dritsas (1T7) strives to cultivate leadership potential and confidence of current U of T Engineering students by providing opportunities for them to grow, develop and act as student leaders. She served as the Chair for the Association of Leadership in Chemical Engineering (AlChemE) this past year, hosting several events such as Networking Tutorial, Ace the Interview and Alumni Breakfast. Katie also represented the Faculty, as a Student Ambassador for the Engineering Recruitment Office, facilitating events for incoming high school students, and developing promotional strategies for recruitment initiatives.

The Class of 8T2 Emerging Leaders Award in Chemical Engineering

mollyMolly Gorman (1T8) has been passionate about expressing her leadership throughout the U of T Chemical Engineering community over the past two years. Molly believes true leaders foster environments in which those around them may reach their full potential. She has taken many leadership roles, such as participating in multiple mentorship programs and holding executive positions in our student chapter of Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE), which offers professional, social and academic development opportunities for U of T Chemical Engineering students.

The ERCO Worldwide Leaders of Tomorrow Award

nikolaNikola Andric (1T5 + PEY) is a passionate and motivated student leader. This past year, he was the Chair of the Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Council (Chem Club), the Co-Chair for the 31st Annual Chemical Engineering Dinner, both a Graditude and Iron Ring representative for the Department, and a cast member on Skule Nite 1T6. He is a strong believer that important knowledge and skills can be learned outside of the classroom and hopes to continue encouraging students to get involved.

The Professor Douglas Reeve Leaders of Tomorrow Award

jeremyJeremy Dang believes that leadership is important for the success and growth of any organization. He has learned and developed this skill largely through his experiences in academia, industry and the community. Over the past four years, Jeremy has been an active member of the Chemical Engineering Graduate Students’ Association (CEGSA), holding multiple positions which include the Co-Chair, Athletics Director and Co-Director of Revenue. In 2013, serving as the Co-Chair, he led a team of 12 executives in conducting the duties of the Association with the primary aim of maintaining and preserving the strong social culture within the graduate student body. His commitment and contribution herein has developed a trust with the Department leaders, resulting in his further involvement in the representation and promotion of the Department at key events across the faculty. Jeremy is a PhD candidate supervised by Professor Tim Bender.

lockeLocke Davenport Huyer co-founded the IBBME Discovery program for high school students and commits time out of the academic environment coaching high school rowing athletes. He believes a good leader must look to progress an organization forward by sticking to a long-term vision while utilizing a data driven approach to problem solving. Locke is a PhD candidate supervised by Professor Milica Radisic

The Professor James W. Smith Leaders of Tomorrow Award

tylerTyler Choi (1T8) enjoys working in teams and inspiring change. He believes that everybody can be a leader and strives to push his colleagues to develop their leadership potential. His role on AlChemE (Association of Leadership in Chemical Engineering) has improved his leadership and communication skills. His past experience as a science tutor has also helped him become a better mentor to his colleagues. He has demonstrated his leadership qualities in areas such as the University of Toronto Engineering Competition (UTEK) and the workplace.

The Troost Family Leaders of Tomorrow Award

oyinOyinkansola Romiluyi (1T5+PEY) has a variety of experiences, ranging from work, teams, academia, mentorship and leadership that have molded her into the person she is today. Alongside being a student leadership lab facilitator for Troost ILead in her fourth year, she served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for APS100: Orientation To Engineering. For her 16-month PEY term, she worked for ConocoPhillips Canada as an Operations Engineering Intern and, in previous summers, as a Process Design Engineering Intern for ExxonMobil and a Robotics Trainee Instructor for LEGO. Her mission statement is to work with brilliant, enthusiastic and creative people on world-changing initiatives that will better humanity, specifically in the area of energy generation – whether it be nuclear, fossil or sustainable. In light of the leadership development and personal growth she’s undergone, she believes that leadership does not come through a role or position that can be occupied, but from within and through each person’s authentic leadership style and charisma.

Graduate Award Winners

Diran Basmadjian Graduate Scholarship in Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry

oliviaOlivia Molenda is a PhD candidate in the Department since 2011. Under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Edwards, she studies bioremediation – using bacteria and other microorganisms to degrade soil and groundwater pollutants. She is passionate about teaching; currently enjoying her fifth year as a TA in the Department.

Eco-Tec Founder’s Fellowship

jonJon Obnamia is a PhD candidate under the guidance of Professors Brad Saville and Heather MacLean. His work enables him to determine the sustainability aspects of emerging biofuels and energy technologies. He is devoted to investigating the environmental and techno-economic benefits and limitations of biofuels over conventional fuels. He is dedicated in teaching and engaging with undergrads, having been a TA in Reactor Design and Engineering since his MASc. Jon has been actively involved in the graduate chemical engineering community, this year as the Co-Chair of CEGSA.

nazNaz Orang is a PhD candidate working under the supervision of Professors Honghi Tran and Andy Jones. She is passionate about sustainable energy from renewable sources, and this is echoed in her research on biomass boiler optimization specifically for the pulp and paper industry. She is also involved in several extra-curricular activities; she was the co-chair for Troost ILead:Grad for 2015-16 and has been the co-founder and co-chair for PAPTAC (Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada) student community which focuses on bridging the gap between research and industry specifically for the forest sector.

shirleyShirley Lam is a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Elodie Passeport. Her research is about the fate and removal of triclosan from a wetland environment. The overall goal of her research is to design an optimized wetland system that is capable of removing various emerging contaminants.  Her research is focused on triclosan removal.

Edward Jarvis Tyrrell Fellowship

lockeLocke Davenport Huyer is a PhD candidate in the lab of Professor Milica Radisic, the Laboratory of Functional Tissue Engineering (LFTE). His work is focused on the development of novel functional polyester materials for use in health applications. The functional property optimization includes improvement elastic material properties for cardiac tissue engineering applications and the facilitation of drug delivery.

davidDavid Josey is a PhD Candidate supervised by Professor Tim Bender. His work is focused on improving the performance and stability of organic solar cells through the investigation of new organic materials and fabrication techniques. David is also developing techniques to evaluate lab-scale organic solar cells under real sunlight and environmental conditions.

nimalanNimalan Thavandiran is a PhD candidate working on the design of human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac microtissues for drug cardiotoxicology screening in both the labs of Professor Milica Radisic and Professor Peter Zandstra (IBBME). His drug-screening platform is being further developed for industry and research applications at the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). Nimalan is a senior resident advisor of the Engineering Living and Learning Community at New College. He is the co-president of the University of Toronto chapter of Engineering World Health, an organization that aims to inspire and mobilize the University of Toronto community to tackle challenges in health care in low- and middle-income countries. He is also interested in effective methods of improving accessibility of science education.

Frank Howard Guest Bursary

darrenDarren Rodenhizer is a PhD candidate in the lab of Professor Alison McGuigan, working to develop tools to disassemble the complex interactions of tumour cells and their environment that lead to disease progression and therapy resistance in cancer. An aspiring entrepreneur, Darren is working closely with MaRS Innovation to develop and commercialize his drug screening tools for industry and research. In alignment with improving youth science literacy, Darren teaches a second year chemical engineering communications course, and has volunteered with Youth Science Canada.

aliAlinaghi Salari is a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Eugenia Kumacheva. His research background includes Microfluidics and Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). He is currently working on polymer adsorption to microfluidic channels under flow condition which can be useful for the study of undesirable platelet aggregation and thrombus formation in blood vessels.

Helen L. Cross Memorial Graduate Scholarship

hanyaHanya Hemasian Ettefagh joined the Department in 2013 under the supervision of Professor Ramin Farnood completing her MASc study in the application of low consistency refining pulp in producing multi ply folding boxboards. This research project aimed to improve the board’s mechanical properties, as well as reducing considerable energy requirement in the pulping procedure.

Irving O. Shoichet Graduate Scholarship

anastasiaAnastasia Korolj (1T4 + PEY) is fascinated by the development of useful tools out of living systems, so she is happy to be working on her research in the Radisic Laboratory for Functional Tissue Engineering. She has done research in laboratories in Sweden, Belgium and Hong Kong, but Toronto remains her favourite place to study.

stephanieStephanie Fisher is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor Molly Shoichet. Her research focuses on developing hydrogels for studying breast cancer cell invasion. These hydrogels mimic features of breast tumors and provide a tool for studying how mechanical properties, growth factors, and other cell types present in the tumor influence breast cancer metastasis.

Professor William F. Graydon Memorial Graduate Fellowship

mabelMabel Wong is a PhD candidate under the co-supervision of Professors Emma Master and Elizabeth Edwards in the BioZone Centre for Applied Bioscience and Bioengineering. Dedicated to environmental sustainability, her work focuses on the discovery of novel wood-transforming enzymes in the digestive systems of Canadian beaver and North American moose for the efficient production of renewable chemical precursors in biorefinery. Mabel is also committed to several leadership roles in graduate student and research body committees, teaching undergraduate engineering communication class as a teaching assistant, as well as scientific outreach in the community through Let’s Talk Science and Research Matters.

R. E. Jervis Award

antoineAntoine Boyer is a MASc candidate under the supervision of Dr. Elodie Passeport. His work is characterizing the interactions of radioactive contaminants in natural systems to aid in the development of new management practices for contaminated areas. Antoine is also passionate about teaching both in the department and the wider Toronto community; he has been a TA for Environmental Chemistry and Nuclear Engineering and is a Nature Interpreter at High Park in Toronto.

silviaSilvia Zarate-Munoz is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor Edgar Acosta in the laboratory of Colloid and Formulation Engineering (LCFE). Her research involves the characterization and formulation of biocompatible
surfactant and microemulsion -based polymer systems for drug delivery applications and iron nanoparticle synthesis for groundwater remediation. She has also provided teaching support for Process Engineering and Heat and Mass Transfer, been involved in mentorship activities for Woman in Science and Engineering (WISE) and the Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP).


Numaira Obaid is a PhD candidate under the co-supervision of Professors Mark Kortschot and Mohini Sain in the Advanced Materials Group. Her research focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of the viscoelastic behavior of composites for various applications. In the future, Numaira hopes to pursue research in the area of biological composites. Numaira also has a passion for teaching and has served as a teaching assistant for various courses throughout the Department of Chemical Engineering and in other faculties.

W. H. Rapson Memorial Award

geannaGeanna Hovey is an MASc candidate supervised by Professor Tran. Her research addresses issues surrounding the disposal of biosludge from pulp and paper mills, specifically drying. The aim of this research is to overcome the challenges with respect to biosludge drying in order to make biosludge a more attractive fuel source for the mills.

ericEric Jin is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor Honghi Tran. His research is in the area of energy and chemical recovery in the kraft pulping industry, particularly the interaction between high temperature molten smelt and water. This research will improve the safety and efficiency the kraft recovery process in the pulp mills. Eric currently holds the position of Student President of PAPTAC Student Community.

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