The ChemE graduate office is now a more efficient and productive environment, and this is largely thanks to Iliana Sztainbok’s vision and hard work. In January 2022, when Iliana joined the department as its new Graduate Administrator, she observed that graduate-student data was being stored in multiple locations. She realized that this was hindering the productivity of the office, and it was time to take a different approach. After careful consideration and research, she decided to develop a database that consolidated all the information in one place, accessible by all members of the graduate office.
The database was designed using FileMaker Pro, and it included biographical information, academic progress, supervisory committee information, historical registration data, and student funding. She showed the team how the database allowed them to quickly identify a student’s demographics, time-to-completion progress, eligibility for awards and scholarships, terms for leaves and guaranteed funding, and contact and career information upon graduation.
The team was impressed with the database’s capabilities, and they realized that it could help them operate much more efficiently. Iliana’s innovation had solved a longstanding problem that had been holding back the ChemE graduate office. The database was quickly implemented, and everyone could immediately see the positive impact it had on their work.
The ChemE graduate office could now provide better support to their graduate students, which has resulted in meaningful opportunities and connections for the students. Through the database, the department was also able to identify students eligible for scholarships and awards, which increased the number of students receiving financial support.
Iliana’s innovation has been recognized by the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering through its 2023 Innovation Award for administrative staff. Her database is now being expanded to include MEng students, and she continues to work on improvements to further enhance its capabilities.
Her innovative database has had a lasting impact on the department, and it will continue to benefit the graduate students, faculty, and staff for years to come.