Story by Tyler Irving & Liz Do, U of T Engineering News
With the University’s virtual Convocation ceremony on June 2, 2020 U of T Engineering students mark the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Graduating in the midst of a global pandemic, the Class of 2020 will long be celebrated for its tenacity, resilience and spirit.
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.
Meet this year’s ChemE Grads to Watch:
SOLAR ENERGY PIONEER
Esmeralda Bukuroshi (ChemE PhD 2T0)
Bukuroshi’s thesis focused on carbon-based molecules that can transform light into electricity. They could one day lead to solar cells with very different properties than those in use today: for example, they could bend or twist, enabling them to be sewn into wearable technology.
A highlight of Bukuroshi’s program was the six months she spent at the University of Copenhagen studying with Professor Mogens Brøndsted Nielsen, an exchange facilitated by a Mitacs Globalink Award.
“I was able to live abroad for half a year while learning and practicing new chemical techniques,” she says. “My efforts there expanded the range of possible applications for my materials, and fostered new collaborations with my home research group at U of T Engineering.”
As co-chair of the Chemical Engineering Graduate Students’ Association, as well as the co-founder and vice-chair of the Graduate Engineering Council of students, Bukuroshi focused on helping her fellow graduate students to enhance their professional skills. She created the ChemE poster exhibition, and coordinated student volunteers for the Engineering Graduate Career Fair, both of which are now annual events.
Following graduation, Bukuroshi plans to work as a policy analyst in the federal or provincial governments, leveraging her research and leadership skills to ensure that government programs are equitably beneficial to Canadians.
“I am looking forward to learning about the data-informed decision-making policy process and the mechanisms that governments follow to invest in innovative research and development while enriching my ability to communicate a wide breadth of issues,” she says.
Wei Cheng Hooi (ChemE 2T0)
Hooi says that if she could describe her time at U of T Engineering in one word, it would be “priorities.” For Hooi, that meant focusing on sustainability research, and taking advantage of opportunities to go global.
Last summer she worked alongside graduate students at the University of Edinburgh as part of a summer exchange, supported by her department’s Dorothy Meldrum Szymaszek Student Exchange Award. She and her team investigated new candidates to replace the current three-way catalyst in catalytic converters for gasoline engines.
“I was involved in most parts of the project, from reviewing papers, to selecting potential candidates, to performance testing,” says Hooi. “I learned recently that these experiments are completed, and I’m now involved in writing the research paper.”
It was a busy summer for Hooi, who also travelled to Vienna, Austria to take part in a one-week artificial intelligence course run by the non-profit Board of European Students of Technology.
“It was an extremely precious experience to be able to attend a course with 40 students from all over Europe,” says Hooi. “I had the chance to learn about different cultures, explore a new city and make new friends from a lot of different countries. It was a totally unique experience, and one I might not have the opportunity experience again.”
During the school year, Hooi’s priority was to not only excel academically but to improve as a leader and communicator. She took part in student clubs such as U of T Toastmasters to practice public speaking and in leadership labs run by Troost ILead.
As a new alumna, Hooi plans to begin her experience in sustainability to the oil and gas industry in her home country of Malaysia.