Six ChemE Graduands Receive Student Life Catalyst Awards at Virtual Convocation Celebration

On Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021, six ChemE graduands received Student Life Catalyst Awards presented by the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at the 2021 Virtual U of T Engineering Convocation Celebration held in

Nora Alganabi (ChemE 2T1), Samantha Cheung (ChemE PhD 2T1), Madison Desembrana (ChemE 2T0+PEY), Amirhossein Foroozan Ebrahimy (ChemE PhD 2T1), Alicia Hill-Turner (ChemE 2T0+PEY), and Saif Rjaibi (ChemE 2T1) were recognized with Student Life Catalyst Awards for their significant contributions to student life in the Department, including undertaking formal leadership roles, acting as role models and mentors to their fellow students, and developing and initiating social and professional programming throughout their degrees.

The 2021 U of T Engineering Convocation Celebration was attended by over 100 ChemE graduating students, faculty, and staff, with Faculty-wide attendance exceeding 750! This virtual event, a first of its kind, helped to bring the U of T Engineering communities together on this important day to celebrate all graduating students while in-person gatherings are not possible due to restrictions on campus as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


More About the 2021 ChemE Student Life Catalyst Award Winners

Nora Alganabi (ChemE 2T1)

Nora has led initiatives through Chem Club for several years, most recently with the Chemmunityof Giving campaign which raised $1400 and an additional $2000 in alumni donations. She organized the past two Iron Ring Parties, created a virtual Escape Room which was used during the ChemE Dinner, Alumni Reunion, and Convocation, started a free breakfast program, and created the Wellness Wall with mental wellness resources for ChemE students. In her previous roles in CSChEas a class rep, EngSoc Social Media Project Director, and Head Leader for Orientation Week, she supported society activities and new students with a mentorship-to-friendship approach.



Samantha Cheung (ChemE PhD 2T1)

Samantha has an HBSc in Biotechnology and Environmental Science from UofT and is currently completing her PhD research on growing algae for sustainable fuels and products in ChemE. She has implemented numerous initiatives in the university such as founding a research grad student mentorship program and organizing the first ever virtual UofT Engineering Research Conference in response to the lab shutdowns. She plans to pursue a career in the biotech industry and contribute to a more equitable and sustainable future.




Madison Desembrana (ChemE 2T0+PEY)

Madison has been an active member of the Chemmunityin her various roles within Chem Club as a 2nd Year Representative, Academic Director and Chair. In each role, she has encouraged those around her to give their academic feedback, seek leadership opportunities and take ownership in their work. Outside of involvement in ChemE, Madison has participated in FASE Orientation activities as group Head Leader and Social Media Co-Chair to facilitate a welcoming environment for incoming 1st year students.




Amirhossein Foroozan Ebrahimy (ChemE PhD 2T1)

Amir has contributed to several Departmental and University-wide initiatives during his time in ChemE, including mentoring newcomer graduate students, anddesigning, budgeting and organizing various social, cultural and networking events. Amir has been a ChemErep with GSAC which was instrumental in the creation of the Graduate EductionInnovation Fund, Treasurer of CEGSA, and an organizer of the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.





Alicia Hill-Turner (ChemE 2T0+PEY)

Alicia served on various clubs such as You’re Next Career Network (YNCN), Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), and as a Subcommittee Co-Chair for Orientation Week. She was also heavily involved in the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineers over the past four years.As President of the club Alicia led a team of 15 to provide professional development opportunities to 670+ chemical engineering students. After graduation Alicia will begin work as a Consultant for ZS Associates with future aspirations to one day complete an MBA and start her own company.




Saif Rjaibi (ChemE 2T1)

Saif is passionate about student mentorship and fostering student community. He has been actively involved in ChemClub, serving as the Vice-Chair, Mentorship Director, First Year Class Representative, and Community Outreach Director. Most recently, he spearheaded the 2020-2021 ChemE Time Capsule “Stuck With Chem,” a video bringing together over 100 students, staff, and faculty, and showcasing the strength of our Chemmunity even during the pandemic. Saif aspires to continue catalyzing new bonds as he pursues graduate studies in chemical and biomedical engineering.




Congratulations to this year’s ChemE Student Life Catalyst Award winners and to all graduating students on your tremendous accomplishments.

If you were unable to attend this year’s celebration, the ChemE virtual lounge will remain open to be explored for the foreseeable future.