Congratulations to professor Solomon Boakye-Yiadom who will lead the York efforts as a part of a 5-year 3.2M+ NSERC Alliance Program that involves three universities (UAlberta, UBC, York), a governmental research agency (DRDC), and two industrial partners in the defence industry (GDLS-C, NP Aerospace). The ultimate objective of this partnership is to develop new Canadian-made ceramic-based add-on armour solutions for Light Armored Vehicles against STANAG 4569 Level 6 medium threats.
The designation of Fellow honours individuals who have demonstrated noteworthy service to engineering education, engineering leadership, or engineering design education through their work with CEEA-ACEG.
This story originally appeared on YFile on July 18, 2021
When Freire-Gormaly discovered that, like her research lab, Academics Without Borders was committed to improving access to education in order to improve society through high-quality research and education, she knew she had found a perfect outlet for her interest in knowledge sharing and building capacity. AWB’s mission is to help developing countries improve their universities, enabling them to train their own experts and conduct research that assists with their country’s development.
“When Academics Without Borders put out the call to develop an engineering program to build capacity in research, I was really excited,” said Freire-Gormaly, whose own research focuses on the development of new technologies and materials for energy sustainability, safe and healthy indoor environments considering COVID-19 aerosol transmission, and sustainable water treatment systems.
Freire-Gormaly signed on to become AWB’s inaugural co-lead for the new Strengthening Engineering Education and Research (SEER) program that aims to enhance teaching and research capacity in low- and middle-income settings through training and mentorship. (Although AWB’s programs generally employ an in-person model, it was decided that SEER would be delivered remotely, given the constraints of the pandemic.)
The SEER program began at MUST, a young university, with an ongoing relationship with ABW. SEER offered MUST engineering faculty a series of online workshops to train them in all aspects of research and education. Guest speakers from universities worldwide gave talks at each workshop, addressing key topics such as mentoring students, doing literature reviews, designing research projects and writing funding proposals. Once they were exposed to the fundamentals, the MUST faculty formed transdisciplinary teams to create their own research proposals for short-term projects that could be done locally.
“It was a hands-on learning experience that took our participants from ideation to systematically planning their research, justifying their budget and making their outcomes real and achievable, given the team’s expertise,” said Freire-Gormaly. “They then have a model they can refer to for future research projects.”
A volunteer committee of peers is reviewing the 12 team proposals and a number of them will be supported by AWB. The other teams will be able to use the feedback they receive to refine their proposals and submit them to others for funding. The MUST faculty created proposals for: a livestock monitoring system; water treatment using peeling from matoke fruit (East African highland banana); improving solar street lighting; and finding a way to provide hospitals with a more stable system for providing oxygen.
The workshops lasted for about six months, and volunteers will continue mentoring faculty for a year. Freire-Gormaly is one of the mentors, but she was also an instrumental member of the team that developed the curriculum and organized the seminars, creating a model for an ongoing, replicable program that AWB hopes to repeat four times a year.
“Once we have a robust curriculum and mentorship process, we’ll be able to have a much broader impact,” she said. “Eventually, our trainees will develop their own community of practice and also collaborate among themselves. Training the trainer is the key; we want our trainees to lead their own projects and do knowledge mobilization locally and independently.”
Freire-Gormaly also discovered the online model had strengths of its own, allowing for more breadth in guest speakers, since faculty from around the globe weren’t required to travel to the location or to commit two weeks of their time. She says future iterations of SEER might incorporate a hybrid model, allowing for some faculty to assist on site and others to contribute remotely.
AWB applauded her commitment in bringing SEER to fruition. “York’s Professor Marina Freire-Gormaly has been a key leader from day one of the Strengthening Engineering Education and Research program,” said Western University Professor Emeritus Greg Moran, who is the executive director of Academics Without Borders. “Without her leadership the program would not have been possible.”
The dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering also applauded the initiative and Freire-Gormaly’s participation. “As a proud partner of Academics Without Borders, we are delighted to collaborate with Uganda’s Mbarara University of Science and Technology to help advance the faculty of engineering’s teaching and research expertise,” said Jane Goodyer, dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University.
“This program, co-led by Professor Marina Freire-Gormaly, has made great strides, with both faculty mentees and mentors learning from each other to create positive change. Thank you to all those involved for fostering global fluencies and cross-cultural knowledge, which will drive socially responsible action.”
As a researcher focused on technology with a societal impact, Freire-Gormaly was delighted to point other researchers in a similar direction and to enlarge her own network of researchers. It also sparked some ideas for her own research lab. Although she was the only York engineering faculty member working on the project, she would love to have colleagues join her. “This has been a great community to be part of, and to know I can really help people in their daily lives motivates my research,” Freire-Gormaly said.
For more information about York University’s involvement with AWB, email York International at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Elaine Smith, special contributor
Winner of Provost Dissertation Scholarship
The Provost Dissertation Scholarship is awarded to assist outstanding doctoral students in their final year of doctoral study to concentrate exclusively on and complete their dissertations. It is designed for students who have made significant progress on the research and writing of their dissertations to facilitate timely degree completion.
Winner of Susan Mann Dissertation Scholarship
The Susan Mann Dissertation Scholarship is awarded to assist outstanding doctoral students in their final year of doctoral study to concentrate exclusively on and complete their dissertations. It is designed for students who have made significant progress on the research and writing of their dissertations to facilitate timely degree completion.
The Mechanical Engineering MECH 6000 Seminar Presentations occurred on May 6th and May 7th, 2021. The event consisted of a total of 23 MASc and 24 PhD presentations that occurred over 16 sessions with 3 presentations per session. Presentations in each session were evaluated by a panel of 3 randomly chosen judges that were selected from the Mechanical Engineering Department’s Awards Committee and invited MECH faculty, with careful consideration given to avoid conflict-of-interests. Each presenter was evaluated over 11 different metrics assessing a breadth of qualities such as explaining research topic, results and interpretation, future work, and presentation qualities. Each of the qualities were scored between 1 (poor) and 5 (excellent). The scores from the 11 different metrics were totaled together. The totaled score from each judge were normalized against their highest given score. Each candidate’s normalized score was then averaged amongst the 3 judges and thus became their final score. Standard deviations were also computed and most candidates had a low standard deviation, with no one exceeding 20%, indicating a good agreement amongst the judges.
The top presenter in each category, as chosen by the Awards Committee, are as follows:
Matteo Timpano – Supervisor: Thomas Cooper
His presentation was titled:
Deployable Solar Collectors Enabled by Pneumatic Soft Robotics
Joshua Marques –
Jiefeng (James) Qiu –
Germiel Cacho –
Daniel Daramsing –
Milad Shakeri – Supervisor: Alidad Amirfazli
His presentation was titled:
Dropwise Condensation Shedding by Airflow in Microgravity
Vahid Nasr Esfahani –
Alireza Zabihi –
Arsalan Nikdoost –
Mohamed Abdelhamid –
The top presenter in each category, as chosen by their peers, are as follows:
- People’s Choice Award – MASc – MohammadJavad FarschiHeydari
- People’s Choice Award – PhD – Milad Shakeri
Congratulations to Prof. Freire-Gormaly whose nomination to the annual Lassonde Innovation Award competition has been successful. Nominations were evaluated by the sub-committee of PARR, Grants adjudication committee and they were selected as the inaugural winner of the 2021 Lassonde Innovation Award – Media Outreach Award.
The award will be announced at the annual Lassonde Awards Gala (Fall date to be confirmed).
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Francis Beamish Tetteh, a PhD student and a member of the Mechanical Engineering community at Lassonde. Francis passed away peacefully on Saturday April 10, 2021. In his year-long battle with cancer, the mechanical engineering community at Lassonde and especially his friends and research group, opened their hearts to support him and stayed with him in every step. He was just 27 years old and will be missed sorely by his family, friends, and supporters.
Francis completed his Bachelor of Science degree with First Class (Honours) in Materials Science and Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology – Kumasi in Ghana. He was awarded the Best Material Engineering graduating student in 2015-2016.
His love for higher education had led him to Canada in 2018. His objective for seeking post-graduate studies was based on “teamwork, hard work capability, good delivery, self-discipline, leadership and willing to learn”. He was admitted to the MSc program in Mechanical Engineering at York University under the supervision of Dr. Solomon Boakye-Yiadom. With his hard work and dedication, Francis was transferred to PhD program due to his excellence in both academics and research. Francis did not allow his cancer to slow him down; as he was going through treatment and surgery, he passed his qualifying examination, authored research papers, and fulfilled his Teaching Assistantship duties. Francis is truly an inspiration to us all.
Francis was one of the nicest humans to walk this Earth. He was gracious and humble and was always willing to help a friend.
Rest in Peace, Francis. You are forever in our hearts.
Further information about memorializing Francis Tetteh will be forthcoming.
The Office for Student Counselling, Health & Well-being has put together the following information for grieving
the loss of a loved-one/friend. Please reach out to them should you need to talk to someone.
Nakisa Samadi entered the MASc program in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 after completing an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering at Sharif University of Technology (Iran). During her tenure at the Hybrid Biomedical Optics laboratory, she co-developed a low-cost and portable photo-thermal sensing technology for detecting Cannabis consumption at roadside and workplace. She is currently pursuing the translation of her research outcomes into market through Lab2Market and University of Toronto Early Stage Technology (UTEST) entrepreneurship programs, leading to incorporation of a startup company named AfimaCheck (https://afimacheck.com/). Nakisa’s research has been published in prestigious scientific journals in the field (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-64796-6; https://doi.org/10.1364/BOE.388990), secured the second-place award in the prestigious nationwide City MOGULS startup pitch competition (www.citymoguls.com/moguls-in-the-making), and awarded York University’s FGS Thesis & Dissertation Prize.
Congratulations to Dr. Rezai and the ACµTE Lab. Their paper “Electric egg-laying: a new approach for regulating C. elegans egg-laying behaviour in a microchannel using electric field” has been chosen as the cover article for the next edition of the journal “Lab on a Chip”. This work is co-authored by Dr. Rezai’s PhD student, Khaled Youssef, and ME undergraduate student, Daphne Archonta.
The paper, which deals with the novel effect of electric field (EF) on adult C. elegans egg-laying in a microchannel can be found here. We offer our warmest congratulations to Dr. Rezai, Khaled, Daphne and the rest of the lab for this accomplishment.