Grads to Watch: Meet global engineering leaders

May 25, 2017 | By Tyler Irving

At Spring Convocation on June 13, 2017, more than 1,800 U of T Engineering students will mark both the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Having enriched the U of T Engineering community as undergraduate and graduate students, they will transition into our vibrant, global network of Skule™ Alumni, where they will continue to address pressing challenges around the world.

This year’s “Grads to Watch” embody the spirit of U of T Engineering. Selected by their home departments and institutes, they demonstrate the engineering values of creativity, innovation and global impact. Watch their next steps!

Read about all 14 grads to watch at U of T Engineering News

Ivan Matijevic (MSE 1T3 + PEY, MASc 1T7)
Forensic engineering expert

Ivan Matjevic operating a scanning electron microscope at Falconmet.

Matijevic’s graduate work focused on solder materials used to bond various structural and electrical components in the aerospace and defense sectors. Through electron microscopy and mechanical tests, he characterized the changes these materials experience as they age in order to better understand how and when then fail.

The work is very applicable to his current job at Falconmet Engineering and Laboratories Inc., where he does forensic engineering and failure analysis for aerospace companies. By looking for the tell-tale signs of aging in broken components, Matijevic can help companies enhance their design and maintenance procedures to improve safety and save lives.

“Many of the courses I took as an undergrad are directly applicable to my work from a technical perspective,” he says. “I also learned time management and a ‘self starter’ mentality that lends itself very well to the industry I am in.”

Matijevic served as the head copy editor at the Toike Oike, U of T Engineering’s humour newspaper, and he has some advice for future students. “Cultivate friendships and pursue your interests,” he says. “Don’t let this short opportunity pass by in a whirlwind.”

Shout out: “I would like to thank everyone in the MSE department for all of their help and support over the past seven years. I would still be working on my project without the many individuals who selflessly offered their time and help.”

Parisa Najafi (MSE 1T6 +PEY)
Virtual reality consultant

Parisa Najafi with a virtual reality headset. (Photo: Marit Mitchell)

“I believe we come to U of T not to find ourselves, but to make ourselves,” says Najafi. Over the course of her undergraduate degree, Najafi found many opportunities to put her philosophy to the test. She completed a PEY internship at Celestica, an electronics manufacturing services company, and spent a part of her summer working for Metavrse, a virtual reality startup. “Startups are generally a fast-paced environment, and this was on hyper drive,” she says. “The field is so new that we were constantly learning about the VR industry and its future.”

Najafi also believes in being a role model to others. She volunteered with the outreach organization nanOntario to creating learning modules that can be used to teach nanotechnology concepts to high school students. She also served as a mentor at ZerotoStartup, a 13-week program that helps youth between the ages of 12 and 17 discover their personal strengths and ignite a passion for technology through hands-on learning.

After graduation, Najafi will begin working as an analyst at the technology consulting company Accenture. “I faced many challenges throughout university, but each time I overcame one, I came out a better person,” she says. “This is a lesson I will take with me to my future endeavours.”

Shout out: “I’d like to thank my classmates and friends in MSE, I could not have done this without your help and friendship. I’d also like to thank my mom for being my rock throughout the entire experience, I wouldn’t be here without you.”