Madhushan Perera (ChemE 1T6+PEY) has only been out of Skule for a few years, but in that short time has already experienced so much. He has held sought-after consulting positions at both Deloitte (his former PEY Co-op employer) and Isaac Operations; and most recently, on October 26, graduated from the MPhil in Energy Technologies program from the University of Cambridge, UK. This master’s degree is designed specifically for people who want to learn more about the fundamental science and technologies involved in energy utilization, electricity generation, energy efficiency, and alternative energy – making it a perfect fit for Perera who is passionate about climate change and sustainability.
Perera humbly admits the he wouldn’t have achieved all that he has if it weren’t for his undergraduate education. “ChemE gave me all the basic tools I needed to succeed at the graduate level. In fact, my graduate program required a solid grasp of chemical engineering concepts such as thermodynamics, and heat and mass transfer. My undergraduate experience also allowed me to build a strong work ethic, which allowed me to meet tight timelines and tackle challenging course material. The energy-related courses I took in third and fourth year also provided me with great initial exposure; and the overseas research experience I undertook during my undergraduate education has proved invaluable as well,” says Perera.
During the summer of 2015, Perera moved to Glasgow thanks to funding from the Dorothy Szymaszek Student Exchange Fund, which gave him the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Stratchclyde in Scotland.
“I had the privilege to work under the supervision of Dr. Ashleigh Fletcher,” Perera recalls fondly. “My research focused on analyzing the kinetics of a carbon capture process. I was responsible for modeling the rate of adsorption of gaseous carbon onto a uniquely-synthesized porous material. This research opportunity wouldn’t have been possible had Professor Graeme Norval not brought it to my attention.” Perera counts Professor Norval along with Professor Arthur Chan from ChemE as two exceptional coaches.
“Professor Norval was always open to giving me advice and guidance, and Professor Chan gave me the opportunity to pursue my first research experience. Even though I was just an undergrad, Professor Chan and his group made me feel like an equal as we conducted hands-on research together on chemical aerosols and air quality. I gained valuable experience and knowledge inside and outside the lab from working with Professor Chan’s group. It was a really exciting time for me that I’ll never forget.”
Today Perera is a low-carbon consultant for Element Energy, a dynamic energy consultancy firm based in London, England. Grateful for the people he met, and the quality of teaching and support he received while at ChemE, Perera is happy to mentor current students through U of T Engineering Connect, the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering’s exclusive social media platform. To join, visit uoftengineeringconnect.ca.