Alumnus elected to U of T Governing Council

Chirag Variawa to serve as first graduate student governor from U of T Engineering

Variawa, Chirag (MSE 0T9, IndE PhD Candidate)

Photo: alumnus Chirag Variawa (MSE 0T9, IndE PhD Candidate)

March 28, 2011

Alumnus Chirag Variawa (MSE 0T9, IndE PhD Candidate) has become the first graduate student governor from the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, winning his seat in the 2011-2012 Governing Council elections. As of July 1, 2011, Variawa will represent graduate students from across the University’s Constituency II, which includes Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering (School of Graduate Studies Divisions III & IV).

Variawa credits the Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow program as his platform and motivation to pursue a role in university governance. “As the current co-chair of the graduate constituency of this program, I’ve experienced first-hand how leadership affects team dynamics, communication and growth,” he said.

“Coupled with my other extra-curricular and sports activities [he is an avid scuba diver], it helped me develop an ability to find and troubleshoot problems that I would have otherwise overlooked.”

Now an industrial engineering PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Variawa believes that his current research in artificial intelligence for engineering education will benefit from his involvement with Governing Council. His research objectives are to identify and mitigate learning barriers by investigating inaccessible language and disabling learning environments.

Together with co-supervisor Professor Susan McCahan (MIE) and other committee members, Variawa hopes that Governing Council can act as a medium through which to apply his research findings and contribute to making U of T a better learning environment for his peers.

“I’m pleased to see Chirag has taken an active interest in academic governance,” says Professor Jun Nogami, Chair of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. “I know from his past efforts on behalf of MSE and the Leaders of Tomorrow program that he will be an effective advocate for graduate students on Governing Council.”