With the University’s virtual Convocation ceremony on June 2, 2020 U of T Engineering students mark the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Graduating in the midst of a global pandemic, the Class of 2020 will long be celebrated for its tenacity, resilience and spirit.
Having enriched the U of T Engineering community as undergraduate and graduate students, they will join our vibrant, global network of Skule™ alumni, where they will continue to address pressing challenges around the world and inspire the next generation.
Meet this year’s MSE Grads to Watch:
ADVANCED MATERIALS EXPLORER
Brittny Eileen Carter (MSE 1T9 + PEY)
Carter grew up in Russia and British Columbia and is the first engineering student in her family.
“When I came to U of T, I felt disconnected from my support network,” says Carter. “It was a weird time, but I found a second family in MSE.”
The MSE Club — which Carter volunteered for every year of her program — unites students and faculty members across the small department. She also led materials design for the Concrete Canoe team, designed a new logo for the Skule™ Archives and drew a regular comic strip for one of the Skule™ newspapers.
Carter is grateful for the research experience she gained under two MSE professors. She worked with Gisele Azimi on acid leaching of rare earth elements from industrial waste. With Uwe Erb, she studied how pine needles interact with water and ice, a property engineers could one day mimic to prevent ice buildup on airplane wings.
“Professor Azimi has been a huge inspiration to me, both as a top researcher and as a confident and successful woman in engineering,” says Carter. “Professor Erb not only taught his students how to conduct professional research, but always found time to discuss personal issues with kindness and understanding. He inspires me to try to be better than I was the day before.”
After her third year, Carter did two internships through the PEY Co-op program, one at Environment and Climate Change Canada, where she learned about how various emissions regulations are enforced, and one at Integran, an advanced materials company that Erb co-founded.
“At Integran I worked on researching and developing different nanocrystalline metal coatings for all sorts of applications, from hockey sticks to aerospace components,” says Carter. “I was doing the full range of tasks, from grinding and polishing samples in the lab to developing new engineering solutions. I learned what it really takes to be an engineer.”
Carter is still weighing options for next year. “I have a very long list of different things I would like to do as an engineer, ranging from doing fieldwork somewhere in Northern Canada, to building a bridge to helping make Toronto an even better city than it is,” she says. “I think my degree has prepared me to adapt to any challenge.”
“I would like to thank the MSE department staff for always having my back, for never minding my laughter in the Wallberg corridors, and for their enthusiasm in making sure MSE students are always doing well. The students really appreciate you and everything you do. From the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you very much.”
Hao-Ting (Howard) Kung (MSE MASc 2T0)
After working as a consultant in the oil and gas industry, Kung wanted to broaden his horizons by learning more about nanotechnology and electronic materials. He describes his experience at U of T Engineering as “eye-opening.”
“I had the opportunity to learn about the cutting-edge research conducted by various groups,” he says. “I was truly amazed by researchers’ ability and foresight to develop innovative solutions for today and tomorrow’s challenges.”
Kung’s thesis project focused on oxide materials that are found in various types of electronic devices, including everything from high-resolution display screens to new forms of solar cells. These materials are both complex and tuneable — by changing their electronic and chemical structures, they can be optimized for different applications. These materials help create new high-performance devices.
By the time he graduated, Kung was the lead author or co-author on five scientific publications, with two more under review. His next move will be to OTI Lumionics, a company founded on U of T Engineering research. As a process engineer, he will develop advanced materials for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.
Kung says the biggest lessons he learned had to do with trusting his own problem-solving ability.
“Conducting research is like solving a puzzle,” he says. “It is crucial not to panic when facing unknowns. By staying calm and searching for answers to questions, challenges can eventually be overcome.”
“I would like to thank my supervisor, Professor Zheng-Hong Lu, who provided me with guidance and the opportunity to be exposed to various research areas outside of my thesis topic. I would also like to extend my appreciation to my groupmates, Peicheng Li and Antoine Dumont, for all their support.”