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The National Academy of Engineering has honoured two University of Toronto undergrads, Clara Stoesser (Year 4 IndE) and Rachel Andrade— with a first-place award for their video “Refugee Crisis,” which explores how systems engineering can be applied to the plight of refugees.

Stoesser and Andrade, a third-year student in media studies at U of T Scarborough, examined how engineers can help improve everything from conditions in refugee camps to supports for newcomers in host countries.

The award was announced in Washington, D.C. The theme of the contest was Mega Engineering. Competitors were asked to submit 1- to 2-minute videos, introducing a particular mega-engineering project and highlighting its significance and contribution to society. They also had to suggest ways to further develop the project. Approximately 300 videos were submitted in four categories: middle school and younger (K-8), high school (grades 9-12), postsecondary (2-year college through graduate school) and the general public. Andrade and Stoesser won in the postsecondary or “tertiary education” category, receiving $5,000 for their efforts.

A judging committee chaired by Rob Cook, Pixar Animation Studios’ emeritus vice president of advanced technology, selected the winning videos based on the following criteria: creativity in the selection and presentation of content, anticipated breadth of public appeal and interest, and effectiveness in describing a mega-engineering project and its impact on people and society. The People’s Choice Award was chosen by the public through voting on the NAE website.

“It is so inspiring to see what students created for this year’s Engineering for You Video Contest,” said NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr. “The diverse projects and solutions touched the human spirit of engineering and its work on the world’s greatest challenges.”

This story originally appeared on U of T News.

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Fahad Pinto
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