Three ChemE students receive U of T leadership award

UTSLA 2023
L-R: Ramin Farnood (Chair), Jennifer Farmer (Associate Chair, Undergraduate Student Experience), Kimberly Watada, Gehna Karani, Purushoth Thavendran, Christopher Yip (Dean), Will Cluett (Associate Chair, Undergraduate Curriculum Development), photo taken by Liz Intac

Three exceptional students from the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto have been recognized for their leadership and commitment to the university. Graduating fourth-year students Gehna Karani, Purushoth Thavendran, and Kimberly Watada were among the 18 U of T Engineering students who received the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award for 2023.

The award recognizes outstanding student leaders who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the university and its community through their leadership, service, and dedication. The recipients come from diverse backgrounds and have engaged in a range of co-curricular activities, including heading up organizations, leading design teams, participating in athletics, and contributing to financial literacy.

Gehna Karani has been recognized for her work with WISE and Chem Club, where she has advocated for student development and built a strong sense of community among her peers. She founded and served as President for Skule French-speaking Society, an organization that connects Francophone students in engineering and provides them with a platform for growth and development.

Purushoth Thavendran co-founded the Skule Financial Literacy Club. He recognized a need among his peers and took action to address it, helping countless students develop an essential life skill. But his contributions don’t stop there. As the current Chair for Chem Club, Purushoth has dedicated himself to providing his fellow students with a diverse range of social and professional opportunities.

Kimberly Watada, as Chair of the U of T student chapter of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, has provided numerous professional development opportunities to students, including organizing a trip to a national conference, providing career resources, and hosting annual events. Her dedication to her peers and to her profession is an inspiration to all who know her.

Dean of U of T Engineering, Christopher Yip, highlighted the important role that student leaders play in the educational experience at U of T, noting that the skills they have gained through their activities will serve them well as they become the next generation of global engineering leaders.

The University of Toronto Student Leadership Award continues a long-standing tradition of recognizing exemplary student leadership and service. Established in 1994 by the University of Toronto Alumni Association in honour of former Vice-President, Development and University Relations Gordon Cressy, the award has celebrated the contributions of over 4,000 students to date.

U of T Engineering congratulates Gehna, Purushoth, and Kimberly on their well-deserved recognition and wishes them continued success in their future endeavors. Their vision and leadership have inspired others to get involved and make a difference, and they are true assets to the university.