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From left: Lilian Kabelle (CivE MEng candidate), Marie Merci Ishimwe (ECE MEng candidate) and Ngone Lo (Faculty of Information). The team is building an “engineering think tank” to counteract the impact of COVID-19 in East Africa. (Photos courtesy of Lilian Kabelle)

As the COVID-19 pandemic rearranged the plans of students across U of T Engineering over the past few months, one question was on many minds: what can I do to help?

Now, dozens of students are taking action.

The U of T COVID-19 Student Engagement Awards were created to fund inspiring innovations designed to respond to the COVID-19 crisis to take flight. Across the University, more than 150 multidisciplinary teams have received up to $3,000 each to support development of their projects over the next three months.

A total of 47 U of T Engineering undergraduate and graduate students are leading or contributing to these teams. The Faculty has invested an additional $54,000 total to support the engineering projects, which address a wide range of issues, from hand hygiene to reduce the spread of the virus, to strategies to maintaining good mental health while in isolation.

“I feel very thrilled, grateful and inspired. As a team we are honored to have U of T’s support in our endeavours to make a difference,” says Lilian Kabelle (CivMin MEng candidate). Her team’s project envisions an “engineering think tank” which will bring together engineers of various disciplines to consider and counteract the impact and challenges of COVID-19 in East Africa.

Kabelle, who grew up in Kenya, believes this coordinated approach could identify and develop viable engineering solutions for issues that are complicating the fight against the virus.

“I have a burning desire to be a causative change agent for positive development in my home region, to whatever degree possible,” adds Kabelle, whose team also includes Marie Merci Ishimwe (ECE MEng candidate) and Ngone Lo (Faculty of Information).

Their team is currently building the think tank platform, gathering data to finalize the challenges to be tackled in the think tank, and confirming commitments from volunteer engineers to engage in the project.

The complete list of U of T Engineering projects includes:

    • The future of protein design: a machine learning approach to COVID-19 outbreak — Tianyu Lu, Joseph Bellissimo, Hannah So, Rochelle Wang, Shea-sarah Garcia, Danielle Serra, Rose Talebi, Edward Shen, Xiaotong Wang (ChemE), Adriana Díaz Lozano Patiño (EngSci), Gamen Liu (ChemE)


    • A proposal for the development of an App for self-reporting of COVID-19 associated symptomsSulaiman Jalloh (ChemE MEng candidate), Abhinav Mohan (MIE MASc candidate), Leticia Nndagang (MEng candidate), Kuda Masalila


    • The Global Artistic Manifestations of COVID-19Ben Sprenger (MechE), Ally Fraser (MechE)


    • Tackling Shortages of N95 Masks with a Simple, Effective, and Removable Desiccant Strip DesignZiting (Judy) Xia (ChemE), Purushoth Thavendran (ChemE), Amro Aswad (ChemE), Jingyi (Jenny) Wei (MechE), Xiaoou (Bessie) Li (IndE)


    • Assessing the Effectiveness of Videos for Exergaming Technology for use with Isolated Older Adults During COVID-19 PandemicSharon Ferguson (MIE MASc candidate), Chelsea Ferguson (MechE), YouZhi Hu (MIE MASc candidate)


    • Knowledge Without BordersSongeun You (CompE), Daniel Lu (CompE)


    • UnityOR: a digital assistant for the operating room — Ingrid Grozavu, Daniel Szulc (BME PhD candidate), Brandon Ho


    • Environmental Impacts of Hand Hygiene Practices: Handwashing with Soap and Alcohol-Based Hand Rubbing Daniel Tse (CivMin MEng CEM candidate), Pedro Torres-Basanta (CivMin MEngCEM candidate), Lisa MacTavish (CivMin MEngCEM candidate)


    • Survey: Impact of COVID-19 on Graduate Students in Canada — Sivani Baskaran, Frank Telfer, Maegan Ong, Dawn Bannerman (ChemE PhD candidate), Caroline Pao, Samantha McWhither, Bryony McAllister, Isabella Lim, Vidhant Pal (BME PhD candidate), Farah Qaiser, Kali Iyer


    • Agent-Based Modelling in Global Health: An Analysis of Various Social Distancing Policies using COBWEB — Adebisi Akande, Dina Bernstein (MechE), Leshi Yang, Muhammad Anas Ansar, Yi Yue Jiang, Yuzhou Pan


    • COVID-19 Crisis Management: a 360 Perspective — Priyanjli Sharma, Michelle Nurse, Avani Bhardwaj, Emma Sass (CivMin)


    • Assessing the Need for Virtual Medical Care in Canadian Communities Using Machine Learning Models and Predictive Analysis — Abdula Maher, Esmat Sahak (EngSci), Ahmed Kaimkhani


    • Analysis of Economic Impact Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic and Comparisons to that Caused by Past Public Crises — Weiqing Wang, Zhiya Lou, Guanyao Liang, Jincheng Leng, Ziyi Wang, Jiaru Li (IndE), Xiaoli Yang


    • Healing by the Arts — Nahyun Lee, Junhyeok Hong (ECE), Chaemin Kim


    • Flatten the NegativityKarishma Shah (ECE), Nimit Vediya


    • Documenting the Post-COVID City — Jillian Sprenger, Katy Tiper (BME PhD candidate)


    • COVID19RecoveryLeo Zhu (ChemE MASc candidate), Julia Lee, Grace Guo, Sissi Zhu, Juliana Lee


    • Engineering Think TankLilian Kabelle (CivMin MASc candidate), Marie Merci Ishimwe (ECE MEng candidate), Ngone Lo


    • Easing the burden: A dashboard to track COVID-19 financial aid across the globe — Adam Lam, Mubtaseem Zaman (CompE)


    • Together we Learn: Fostering an online learning community in an Engineering Science undergraduate course Rubaina Khan, Nikita Dawe (PhD candidate)


    • Projecting the supply and use of pristine and reprocessed N95 respirators in a hospitalPaul Chen (ChemE PhD candidate), Matthew Yau, Tommaso Alba, Krish Bilimoria, Shangmou (Samuel) Wu


    • Home-based COVID-19 Self-care SystemRamtin Mojtahedi (BME PhD candidate), Saeed Shakib (CivMin PhD candidate)


    • Studio Babble: Creative Engagement in the Age of COVID-19 — Gemma Robinson, Aisling Beers, Declan Roberts, Jay Potts, Savanna Blade (EngSci), Sheetza McGarry


    • The COVID Action Hub — Denise Lee, Melanie Seabrook, Emma Seabrook, Shiyi Zhang (CompE)


    • Mitigating stigmatization, ensuring food security and preventing the transmission of COVID-19 in Bangladesh and Canada — Tahsin Reza Tasnim Reza, Mahiya Nasrin, Nithila Sivakumar, Clara Chick, Thanoshan Ariyanayagam (CompE)


    • Dear Uni to Be — Brandon Yu, Ahmedullah Shah, Alessia Priore, Theodora Girgis (EngSci)


    • Equipment trade website business model and interface designTianyi Yu (CompE), Minjing Xu


    • Get educated on the subject, stop with the misinformation — Rosa Yang, Yinghui Liu, Yihe Zhang, Tianyi Tang, Xinyu Zhou (MSE)


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