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Twenty-five faculty and staff members were honoured for their outstanding contributions with teaching, research and administrative staff awards.

The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering recently honoured 25 faculty and staff members for their outstanding contributions with teaching, research and administrative staff awards. These awards recognize exceptional faculty and staff for their leadership, citizenship, innovation and contributions to U of T Engineering’s teaching, service and research missions.   

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge our professors and staff who contribute to making U of T Engineering Canada’s top-ranked school for engineering education and research,” says Christopher Yip, Dean of U of T Engineering  

“My congratulations to all the awardees, and my heartfelt thanks to all our faculty and staff members for their continued excellence.” 

The award recipients are:  


Rosemary Guido

Rosemary Guido  

Agnes Kaneko Citizenship Award   

Recognizing a staff member who has served with distinction and made contributions to the faculty’s mission above and beyond their job description over a long period of time. 

Rosemary Guido is the associate director of admissions for the faculty, having been with the admissions team since its inception in 1999. In that time, she has worked tirelessly to create a culture of support, collaboration and continuous improvement.  

Guido has been the driver of several important initiatives, most notably the alumni assessor program. As the key architect of this program, she is responsible not just for identifying and recruiting alumni assessors but also for ensuring that they receive the appropriate training so that their assessments are fair and equitable. Working with the alumni office, Guido grew this program from an initial cohort of less than 20 to more than 100 volunteers. She has also worked to make this opportunity accessible to alumni globally through virtual training.    

Over the years, Guido has been involved in hiring and supervising casual staff to help during the peak admissions period. She provides them with exceptional training and often continues to mentor them as they move on to other roles. Across the faculty and the university, there are many recruiters, academic advisors and admissions staff who launched their careers thanks to her support. 

Elizabeth Whitmell

Elizabeth Whitmell  

Harpreet Dhariwal Emerging Leader Award 

Recognizing a staff member who leads by example in their dedication to the faculty’s mission and demonstrates potential to assume a more senior leadership role. 

Elizabeth Whitmell joined the Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education and Practice in 2019 as operations manager. Since then, she has been integral in shaping its vision, creating and improving its procedures and processes, and building a sense of community among students, staff and faculty members. She has been one of the main forces in shaping the institute from a collection of disparate units into a unified whole.   

In her role, Whitmell supports the finance, budgeting, administrative and advising needs of ISTEP. She has worked tirelessly to improve these processes, building and implementing new practices to better support the institute’s diverse activities. Processes that she has significantly improved include submission of expenses, new and reoccurring contracts, annual reports and space distribution. 

As the institute has grown, she has mentored and trained new personnel and worked to create an inclusive and positive environment, instituting community-building initiatives such as the weekly newsletter ISTEP Forward. Whitmell is exceptionally supportive of her team members and consistently goes above and beyond to ensure the well-being and success of her colleagues. She has become the first person ISTEP members look to for assistance, guidance and leadership, and her impact can be seen in every facet of the institute.  

Estelle Oliva-Fisher

Estelle Oliva-Fisher  

Catherine Gagne Sustained Excellence in Leadership Award 

Recognizing a staff member who has demonstrated leadership in supporting the faculty’s mission over a sustained period. 

Estelle Oliva-Fisher has shown exceptional leadership in a series of progressively more responsible roles since joining the faculty in 2010 as a leadership education specialist in the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (Troost ILead).  

She played a central role in building the ILead community and was recognized for her contributions by being named a co-recipient of the 2014 Alan Blizzard Award for Collaborative Teaching. Oliva-Fisher joined the Office of the Vice-Dean, Undergraduate in 2014 as the assistant director, student experience and teaching development. Her leadership was crucial in the creation of the Engagement & Development Network and the Centralized Process for Student Initiative Funding, and she played a key role in the Decanal Task Force on Mental Health.  

In 2017, Oliva-Fisher left the faculty to join University of Toronto Scarborough, returning in 2019 as the inaugural director, student development & career programming in the Engineering Career Centre. In this role, she oversaw the creation of a new program to better prepare students for their Professional Experience Year Co-op. In 2022, she returned to Troost ILead as managing director. Since then, she has been instrumental in situating ILead as an integral part of the Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education & Practice (ISTEP). 

Alan McClenaghan (photo by Elise McClenaghan)

Alan McClenaghan
Quality of Student Experience Award for Behind-the-Scenes Staff 

Recognizing staff members who have made significant contributions to the quality of student experience in the faculty through the creation or improvement of programs or services. 

As a senior machinist in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering’s machine shop, Alan McClenaghan has been supporting undergraduate and graduate students since joining the department in 1990. He has been instrumental in setting up and refurbishing both teaching and research labs and played a key role in overhauling the department’s geotechnical labs. He also teaches, mentors and guides students through the process of understanding and using the equipment, while continuously improving and refining the labs to better meet their needs.   

McClenaghan has a deep understanding of the design process and imparts that knowledge to the students he supports, whether they’re an undergraduate student working on a class project or a graduate student creating a custom device for their research. He works closely with students throughout the design process, from ideation to completion, taking the time to understand their unique challenges and providing constructive advice to optimize their designs. 

McClenaghan knows that the students are here to learn, so he ensures that their involvement is hands-on, training them to use basic machine shop tools so they can do as much as possible independently. In this way, he not only helps the students with their designs, but he also helps them to become better future engineers.  

Left to right: Mark Dennis, Colleen Kelly, Pauline Martini, Alison Morley and Phill Snel

Mark Dennis, Colleen Kelly, Pauline Martini, Alison Morley and Phill Snel   

Barbara McCann Quality of Student Experience Award for Frontline Staff 

Recognizing a staff member or team of staff who has made significant contributions to the quality of student experience in the faculty through their outstanding frontline service.  

The CivMin student services team works together seamlessly, each member going beyond their individual portfolio to ensure that students are consistently supported across all dimensions, from recruitment to graduation and beyond.   

The team has worked together to streamline processes, create new communication platforms and events, and continually improve the student experience. From routine progress tracking to navigating crises, staff in the student services office work together to ensure that every student gets the support they require. All team members have developed insight into the work of the others, allowing them to fill in for each other to ensure that there are no gaps in services.   

Since the pandemic, the team has seen a surge in demand for student counselling and referrals to various support services, and they have ably taken on this additional demand, working together to ensure that day-to-day processes aren’t affected when other team members are focused on helping a student in need. The team creates a friendly, fun atmosphere, and they go out of their way to ensure that students feel welcomed and supported, and that they have everything they need to succeed throughout their time at U of T.   

From left to right, back row: James Zhan, Allison Van Beek, Inga Breede and Cheryl Lee. From left to right, front row: Anna Limanni, Marisa Curmi, Maggie Laidlaw, Irina Belaya (photo by Aaron Demeter)

Irina Belaya, Inga Breede, Marisa Curmi, Maggie Laidlaw, Cheryl Lee, Anna Limanni, Allison Van Beek and James Zhan  

Innovation Award  

Recognizing a staff member or team of staff who has shown innovation in developing a new method, technology or system, or improving an existing system, to the benefit of the faculty.

This team, making up the faculty’s Education Technology Office (ETO), is being recognized for their development of a new formalized Digital Learning Experience Production Process to support the creation of online learning experiences.   

Since the start of the pandemic, the demand for digital learning experience projects has exploded. To meet this demand, the ETO team grew from two staff members to eight. As the team’s capacity to support multiple projects increased, they were motivated to improve operational efficiencies to ensure that they can deliver as many quality digital learning experiences as possible.  

To achieve this, they developed a comprehensive, whole-project, whole-team approach to the design process. This involved improving overall project management by creating detailed milestone tracking tools using the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, and streamlining project design and production through the creation of design guides, storyboarding and video design templates, video production and editing tools, and individual module roadmaps.   

As a result, the ETO has significantly improved the effectiveness and efficiency of this major component of their portfolio, seeing a 30% decrease in production process time.  


Chi-Guhn Lee

Chi-Guhn Lee (MIE) 

Safwat Zaky Research Leader Award  

Recognizing leadership in innovative interdisciplinary and multiple-investigator initiatives that have enhanced the faculty’s research profile. 

Over the past decade, Chi-Guhn Lee has led large-scale research initiatives that have benefited many students and faculty members and significantly raised the profile of U of T Engineering.  

He has taken over the leadership of the Centre for Maintenance Optimization and Reliability Engineering (C-MORE), which was founded 30 years ago by Professor Emeritus Andrew Jardine (MIE) but began to stagnate when he retired. Under Lee’s leadership, C-MORE has steadily grown, supporting more diverse research activities and educational opportunities.  

Lee was also instrumental in developing U of T’s research partnership with LG, beginning in 2018 when he invited the President of LG CNS to visit the faculty. An official agreement between LG and U of T was signed in 2019, bringing in $3 million. Lee then worked closely with LG CNS to initiate a second funding program, effectively doubling LG’s investment.  

In 2023, LG Electronics announced the renewal of their partnership with U of T for another five years.   

Lee played an important role in creating an International Doctoral Cluster for the exchange of graduate students with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Under his guidance, the program has facilitated substantial research collaborations and cultivated a vibrant academic community. 

Omar Khan (photo by Neil Ta)

Omar Khan (BME) 

McCharles Prize for Early Career Research Distinction 

Recognizing exceptional performance and distinction in research by a pre-tenure faculty member. 

Omar F. Khan is a professor in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and he holds the Canada Research Chair in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics. After receiving his PhD in chemical engineering from U of T in 2011, Khan became a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he developed a leading RNA delivery platform technology, which he commercialized by forming Tiba Biotech in 2018. Khan’s delivery technology enabled leaps forward in the field, allowing him to develop the first fully protective self-amplified RNA lipid nanoparticle vaccine against the Ebola virus.  

Since joining U of T in 2020, Khan continues to innovate by developing new RNA nanoparticles that improve potency with heteroatomic tuning, safety via rapid hydrolysis, and accessibility by eliminating cold storage requirements. He established a strategic alliance with Moderna to develop next-generation RNA technologies and launched a new company, Azane Therapeutics, to continue his lab’s commercialization of lipid nanoparticle products for the global market.   

As an expert on RNA technology, Khan played an important role in educating the public about the COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic — he participated in hundreds of interviews and articles on this topic in Canada and around the world.    

Nicolas Papernot

Nicolas Papernot (ECE) 

McCharles Prize for Early Career Research Distinction 

Recognizing exceptional performance and distinction in research by a pre-tenure faculty member. 

Nicolas Papernot is a professor in The Edward Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, cross-appointed with the department ofcomputer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science. He holds a Canada CIFAR AI Chair at the Vector Institute and is a faculty affiliate at the Schwartz Reisman Institute.  

After obtaining his PhD in 2018, he spent a year at Google Brain as a research scientist, and was then recruited to U of T as part of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The focus of Papernot’s research is the security and privacy of deep learning models in machine learning.  

Soon after he joined U of T, his group released a paper on machine unlearning, which was an important milestone in defining how machine learning models could be made to forget data used to train them. Through this work, Papernot has established himself as an important contributor to discussions around the ethics and societal impact of machine learning.   

He has been consulted on these issues by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the United States Department of Defense, among others. Some of the approaches to privacy-preserving machine learning he developed are being deployed by companies such as Google to protect the privacy of billions of users. Papernot has received a Sloan Research Fellowship and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists & Scientists  


Katie Allison

Katie Allison (MIE MASc student)
Teaching Assistant Award  

Recognizing a TA who demonstrates excellence in classroom teaching, working with students, and the development of course materials. 

Katie Allison, a mechanical engineering MASc student, has served as a teaching assistant in two foundation year courses in the Division of Engineering Science, ESC101: Praxis I and ESC103: Engineering Mathematics and Computation. This means that students encounter her during their often-challenging transition to university.   

Allison’s style of teaching and her approach to engaging with students helps them to build confidence in their skills and knowledge as they progress through their first term. Her commitment to students does not end when the course does; she continues to mentor and advise many students in her classes throughout their time at U of T.  

Allison also played a key role in the development of ESC204: Praxis III, starting with her involvement on the course development team as a fourth-year EngSci student. Since then, she has taken on various roles in the course, including TA, senior TA and course instructor. Allison developed a more than 200-page prototyping handbook that serves as a reference for students to extend their learning, as well as hands-on Prototyping Bootcamp materials that she has created and refined through several iterations of the course. As ESC204 has developed, she has been instrumental in collecting feedback and responding to student concerns to improve their experience.  

Katia Ossetchkina

Katia Ossetchkina (CivMin MASc student)
Teaching Assistant Award 

Recognizing a TA who demonstrates excellence in classroom teaching, working with students, and the development of course materials. 

Katia Ossetchkina, an MASc student in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering and a 1T8 CivE alumna, was a teaching assistant across five undergraduate and graduate courses, serving as a lecturer, seminar facilitator and head TA. 

Ossetchkina’s teaching aims to bridge the gap between engineering theory and practice, using systems thinking and storytelling to draw connections to industry. Her most significant impact has been in APS106: Fundamentals of Computer Programming, a mandatory first-year course where many students face programming for the first time, which can make teaching coding particularly challenging. To address this, she co-created weekly one-hour Design Problem lectures, where students programmed solutions to real-world problems, from simple linear solvers to coding Wordle from scratch. She designed and delivered these lectures, which have since been integrated into the course curriculum. 

Ossetchkina also led the development of the Data Analytics and Visualizations for Educators (DAVE) platform, a data-driven framework for weekly student feedback. DAVE supplied near real-time insights about student learning and comprehension, allowing the teaching team to quickly pivot and adapt their teaching. She presented DAVE at the 2023 EdTech Symposium and co-authored a paper with the Canadian Engineering Education Association.  

Sarah Haines

Sarah Haines (CivMin) 

Early Career Teaching Award  

Recognizing an early career educator who has demonstrated exceptional classroom instruction and teaching methods.  

Since joining the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering in 2021, Sarah Haines has developed a graduate course on indoor air quality, redesigned two undergraduate courses, served as a capstone supervisor and contributed to the civil engineering two-day camp experience.  

Haines’ redesign of CIV440H1: Environmental Impact and Risk Assessment has led to it becoming a favourite among students, with enrollment doubling in the past three years. In this course, Haines uses active learning and real-world examples, inviting students to think critically not just about the presented problems but about their proposed solutions. Additionally, her graduate courses provide a much-needed emphasis on building science to explore the implications of indoor air quality on human health, emphasizing its impact on our most vulnerable communities.   

Haines is a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment’s Climate Change and Sustainability Teaching & Learning Subcommittee and the Engineering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Group. As director of the From Harvest to House program, she has incorporated teaching techniques such as storytelling and rich pictures into workshops, engaging community members in knowledge translation to co-develop equitable housing solutions in First Nations communities 

Peter Lehn

Peter Lehn (ECE) 

Faculty Teaching Award   

Recognizing a faculty member who demonstrates outstanding classroom instruction and develops innovative teaching methods.  

Since joining the faculty in 1999, Peter Lehn has taught a variety of electrical engineering undergraduate courses and established a reputation for teaching excellence. He receives high praise from students for his engaging lectures and innovative teaching methods and has equipped hundreds of students with the skills necessary to lead the transition to net-zero emissions.   

Lehn believes that experiment-based learning forms a key part of engineering education, and he has made it his mission to ensure that U of T offers the best undergraduate lab experience in energy systems in North America. His development of custom laboratory hardware has allowed students to visualize, in real-time, the electromagnetic interactions internal to electric machines, providing a foundation for the development of high-performance motor drives as found in electric vehicles, wind turbines and electric aircraft.  

His efforts have extended beyond his own courses — a few years ago, he embarked on a project to completely redesign the energy systems lab, securing state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure. The unique lab infrastructure that Lehn enabled was recently leveraged by colleagues to develop a new graduate course on electric vehicle systems and will soon support a faculty-wide undergraduate course on the same topic.  

Bryan Karney

Bryan Karney (CivMin) 

Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award 

Recognizing a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching over the course of at least 15 years.  

Since joining the faculty more than 35 years ago, Bryan Karney has been an outstanding teacher, a thoughtful mentor and a leader in engineering education. As chair of the Division of Environmental Engineering and Energy Systems, Karney oversaw the conversion of the environmental engineering collaborative program into two new minors: environmental engineering and sustainable energy. He also chaired the creation of the energy systems major in the Division of Engineering Science and the minor and certificate in sustainable energy.   

Karney served as associate dean of cross-disciplinary programs from 2009 to 2021, overseeing the creation of eight minors and nine new certificates. Over that period, growth in student completion of minors exploded, from 8% of the graduating class in 2009 to 48% in 2021, with over 70% of the 2021 class completing at least one minor or certificate program. Karney was also part of the team that created the Prospective Professors in Training program, providing, for the first time, teaching training to PhD students.   

Karney has received CivMin’s Professor of the Year Award twice, as well as U of T Engineering’s Faculty Teaching Award and the University of Toronto’s Northrop Frye Award, for excellence in the integration of teaching and research. 

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