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MacEngineer Fostering the next generation of biomedical engineers

What is biomedical engineering? WHEN ENGINEERS, BIOLOGISTS, mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, physicians and medical researchers work together, they are able to better understand how the human body works and consequently create clinical solutions. This interdisciplinary collaboration, broadly termed as biomedical engineering, improves healthcare and eases aging. The field has led to advances in diagnostics such as imaging, materials that form the basis of implants and prosthetics, and therapies for drug delivery, which use novel electronics and manufacturing. Biomedical engineers have improved the quality of life for countless patients by making hospitals cleaner and safer, enhancing public health. Among the earliest modern practices of biomedical engineering include the development of the stethoscope exactly 200 years ago in 1816 and the use of X-rays for imaging. The respirator was developed in 1927, blood banks were established in the 1930s, heart lung bypass was first used in 1939, and cardiac catherization and angiography was introduced in the 1940s. Biomedical engineers brought the electron microscope into medicine, particularly pathology, in the 1950s, which lead to the development of imaging devices, such as body scanners using radioactive techniques to detect tumours. Today, these engineers manipulate and manufacture structures at the nanometer and DNA scales, and micron sized and cellular length scales. They design electrical circuits and mechanical devices at the human body scale. They also develop knee, hip and dental implants. Some are proficient in robotics and use these machines to improve surgical outcomes. Biomedical engineers develop methods for the industrial production of cells, tissues, devices, therapies and implants. They conduct large-scale



simulations, such as for drug discovery, human kinematics and cardiovascular flows. Because it is so interdisciplinary, the field of biomedical engineering is large. It includes the intersections of many engineering disciplines with medicine and the life sciences. There is no unique pathway to become a biomedical engineer. Academic entries into this interdisciplinary field are equally dispersed along the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. levels. Career placements for biomedical engineers, though broad, are similar to those for other engineers and university graduates. They work in industry, universities, government agencies and, more so than other engineers, in hospitals. This fall, 140 students will enter McMaster University’s Integrated Biomedical Engineering & Health Sciences program, which is a unique interdisciplinary pathway into the profession. First of its kind in Canada, and possibly also the first globally in its specifics, this interdisciplinary 5-year biomedical program integrates engineering and medicine, allowing multiple pathways to careers in health, engineering and entrepreneurship. After a common first year, students enter either the Bachelor of Engineering and Biomedical Engineering or the Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship degree programs. In subsequent years, all 140 students in the cohort will collaborate through a series of project –based design courses. Thus, they will further their knowledge of contemporary socially relevant issues, ethics, and professionalism, based on which they will create solutions for real-world healthcare problems. This 2017 cohort will graduate in 2022. I’m very sure that it will consist of engaged citizen scholars who will go on to transform our world through their interdisciplinary and collaborative education in biomedical engineering. Here’s a prediction about the 2022 cohort: File their future under #ThingsGetBetterAllTheTime

Contents Do you have something to say or news to share? We would like to hear from you. Contact Carm Vespi Tel: (905) 525-9140 ext. 24906 Fax: (905) 546-5492 The MacEngineer is published by the Faculty of Engineering for its alumni. Distribution assistance is provided by the Alumni OfďŹ ce. Editor: Carm Vespi Managing Editor: Monique Beech Art Direction and Design: Steve Janzen Contributors: Pauline Mitchell, Kim Arnott, Samantha Craggs Photography: Daniel Banko, BANKOMEDIA, Michael Lalich, Jin Lee, and reader contributions Publications mail agreement No. 40063416 Return undeliverable canadian addresses to circulation department:

What is biomedical engineering?

Five Young Women to Watch




2 News Alumni Profiles


Initiatives to Build a Diversified Faculty


19 Alumni Events

29 The Fireball Club Celebrates 20 Years of Friendship

Putting Steel Under a Microscope



F E AT U R E :

1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L7

Fostering the next generation of biomedical engineers


MacLAB Fund Supports LeadingEdge Facilities

21 Taking a Material Approach to Cleaner Water

Donor stories


Helping students to fulfil their potential with engineering

32 Obituaries



Spring 2017


Alumni Profiles “We are building the next generation of net zero energy sustainable buildings right now.”

Building a Green Future GOVERNMENT POLICY CAN PROVIDE VISION FOR A greener future, but when it comes to sustainable construction, the real building blocks need to come from industry. That’s the philosophy behind an industry partnership working to design, build and measure the next generation of sustainable commercial buildings – with the ultimate aim of achieving net zero energy construction. McMaster grad Andrew Biksa (M.A.Sc.’10, Mech. Eng.) is providing expertise in how building materials like sustainable concrete, spray foam and coatings can help achieve that goal. Working in business development with BASF Canada, Biksa is taking part in the Carbon Impact Initiative being led by construction giant EllisDon. “This has been an incredible experience,” says Biksa. ”It’s not just a philosophy or nice idea, we are building the next generation of net zero energy sustainable buildings right now. “We are leading by example and aiming to change the way we do construction in Canada



– and hopefully one day the entire world.” After studying chemical engineering as an undergrad, Biksa came to the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2010. He now works under fellow Mac engineering grad Irene Yang (nee Hwang, B. Eng ’01, Elect. & Mgt.) who is the Head of Business Development at BASF Canada. Along with searching out new business opportunities for the company’s coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, concrete and spray foam products, Biksa works with industry associations and universities to promote collaboration and innovation. “Having studied both chemical and mechanical engineering, I thought I would be doing 100 per cent technical design work,” he says. “But once I got a flavour of the business side, I became hooked immediately. “I love the blend of using engineering technical knowledge to scout and validate ideas and then developing a ‘go to market’ approach from the business side.”

Alumni Profiles “My engineering degree has been very valuable in the design and manufacturing work I do.”

Engineering Success for the Family Business AS JOB PERKS GO, WORKING WITH HIS FAMILY every day is one that Rob Casasanta (B.Eng ’93, Civil) ranks highly. Along with his two younger brothers, Vic and Luigi, Casasanta runs Brantford’s LC Bakery Equipment Services Ltd., a successful manufacturer of industrial and commercial bakery and food services equipment. “We’ve always been a tight-knit family,” he says. “It’s a great work environment for us.” His father Luigi launched the company in 1984, working out of one van and doing service and maintenance across Ontario on all types of bakery equipment. Eventually he opened a small shop and expanded to offer his own line of equipment. Today, the company has a 40,000 square foot facility where they design and manufacture a wide range of high-end ovens, as well as commercial bakery and food service equipment. True to its roots, the company also continues to service and maintain equipment. “I didn’t know I was going to do this when I started

at McMaster, but slowly and surely I made my way here,” says Casasanta, the firm’s VP of Engineering. It’s a wide-ranging job where he uses his engineering degree daily. From specialized pizza ovens, to industrial curing ovens, to replacement parts for baking equipment, “we design and manufacture everything, from start to finish,” he says. “My engineering degree has been very valuable in the design and manufacturing work I do. It also taught me how to learn and adapt to new and different situations. Every day brings its challenges and rewards which allows me to continuously learn and improve. One of his brothers also did an engineering degree, while the other earned a degree in business. “We all bring something different to the table,” says Casasanta, who adds that his parents are also still involved in the business. “We appreciate each other’s opinions and contributions, and recognize how fortunate we are to be able to work and count on each other.”

Spring 2017


Alumni Profiles “The business part of the degree has helped with everything from finance and accounting to production and inventory optimization.” Hockey gloves smell like a business opportunity to Mac grad THERE’S A LOT OF HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE IN MIKE Dawson’s story of entrepreneurship. An avid lacrosse and hockey player who captained the 2010 McMaster lacrosse team to a national championship, the recent grad had a case of stinky hands. Sweaty gloves left an odour on his hands that simply showering wouldn’t erase. Through the years, he and his teammates tried a variety of solutions, including lathering their hands with a shared can of shaving cream to mask the smell. “It was a poor fix that only masked the smell, dissipated after a half-hour, and would occasionally make a disaster of your equipment bag when it was accidentally kicked,” recalls Dawson (B.Eng. ‘12, Elec. & Mgmt.). After moving in with a fiancé who complained about the odor, he set his mind – and her nose – to developing a formula that would effectively kill the glove-borne bacteria causing the smell, rather than just mask it. While working as a project engineer for a large electrical company in Alberta, Dawson perfected the after-sport hand deodorizer that he’s now



marketing under the brand name Fresh Mitts. The company slogan: “Leave the stench on the bench.” With an enduring interest in running his own business, he’s taken the plunge into running Fresh Mitts on a full time basis. As sole owner and operator of the company, he’s hands-on with everything from making sure supplies are delivered to the lab producing the cream, through to designing marketing materials. It’s a big change from the electrical engineering work he’s been doing since graduation, but Dawson says his engineering skills remain helpful in a variety of ways. “I’ve been able to understand the science behind the formula, as well as the procedures that laboratories follow to complete research and development on products like this,” he says. “I learned key procedures for proper chemical testing in order to achieve the best final product.” “And the business part of the degree has helped with everything from finance and accounting to production and inventory optimization.”

Alumni Profiles “It is fascinating work, and it’s really translating into helping a lot of people in a lot of different ways.”

From Space Missions to Pediatric Surgery WHEN IT COMES TO ROBOTIC ARMS, THERE ARE none more iconic than the Canadarm. For 30 years, the remote-controlled mechanical arm assisted NASA’s space shuttle program to move, maintain and position equipment, cargo and satellites. A second-generation Canadarm, as well as a robotic handyman known as Dextre are now installed on the International Space Station. As an engineer working for MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), the company responsible for the ground-breaking space technology, Heather Ker is inspired by the accomplishments. “Going to work every day in that building, working with the kind of people that worked on those robots is pretty amazing,” says Ker (B.A.Sc. ’06 & M.A.Sc. ’09, Mechanical Engineering). “There’s just so much cool stuff we do.” In 2009, after earning her master’s degree in medical robotics, Ker joined MDA. She started working with space projects, then moved into the company’s terrestrial projects,

including cutting-edge robotics technology in both the medical and nuclear fields. Among those projects was the development of the KidsArm, a robotic surgical arm designed for pediatric surgery. Equipped with a variety of miniature tools, the arm is guided by surgeons who use hand controllers and imaging technology to undertake intricate surgeries on tiny bodies. Capable of working 10 times faster and with much more accuracy than a surgeon on miniscule procedures, the arm also employs advanced imaging that allows for automated suturing of small vessels and other microsurgical tasks. Ker also spent three years working in partnership with other agencies on a tool to remotely manage nuclear inspection and maintenance tasks at Bruce Power. “We really specialize in working in unique environments,” she says. “It is fascinating work, and it’s really translating into helping a lot of people in a lot of different ways.”

Spring 2017


Alumni Profiles “Manufacturing has been and must continue to be the pillar of innovation, of wealth creation and of prosperity for Canada.”

Mac Grad Recruited to Help Double Canadian Manufacturing Activity WITH AN AMBITIOUS GOAL ON THE HORIZON, THE Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) association has recruited Dennis Darby (B.Eng ’84,Chem & Mgmt) to lead the way. Named president and CEO of Canada’s largest trade and industry association, Darby will help CME implement a strategy to double Canadian manufacturing activity by 2030. Released last year, the strategy calls for strengthening the labour force, accelerating the adoption of advanced technology, supporting product commercialization, expanding marketplaces and ensuring a globally-competitive business environment. “Manufacturing remains the cornerstone of the Canadian economy, representing almost one-third



of all economic activity,” said Darby. “It has been and must continue to be the pillar of innovation, of wealth creation and of prosperity for Canada.” The CME represents more than 2,500 Canadian companies responsible for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports. Darby joins the association after nearly nine years as CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association. He spent 24 years in the manufacturing sector, beginning his career as a product engineer with Procter & Gamble and eventually becoming that company’s Director of North American External Relations.

The Fireball Club Celebrates 20 Years of Friendship THE EXHIL ARATINGLY TUMULTUOUS DAYS OF university – when everything is new and possibility exists around every corner – forge deep friendships. But it’s not always easy to maintain those bonds, and even the closest of roommates, teammates and classmates often drift apart after graduation. A group of Mac engineering grads now celebrating two decades of connection is proof that doesn’t have to happen. In 1997, nine female engineering students from various departments worked together to

planned for every five-year anniversary, and the group has expanded to include families. “The friendship has really grown,” says Janet Loebach. “We’re so close now – much closer even than when we graduated.” Along with regular physical meetings, the women have stayed in touch electronically. In 2001, long before the days of Facebook, the club set up a network for exchanging emails, sharing news and photos, and planning events. With more than 16,000 emails and 15

Back row from left: Meredythe (Brown) Hertz, Iris Gregoriou Male, Pam (Bhandarkar) MacPhee, Rebecca (Schinkel) Marshall, and Michelle Maybee. Front row: Lisa (Greb) Maurice, Janet Loebach, Tanya (Davis) Cochrane, and Betsy Agar

bring the Ontario Engineering Competition to McMaster. It was an experience that united them in friendship, inspiring them to commit to reconnecting at least once a year after graduation. The Fireball Club was born. The intended annual gathering turned into three, five or even six times a year. New Year’s Eve is a standing date, special events are

years of photos archived on their network, Loebach says they stick with the antiquated technology for nostalgia’s sake. “As we all spread out geographically, it was really key to keeping us connected,” she says. Early gatherings saw the women spend the night on each other’s couches and floors, and that tradition has stuck. This year, to celebrate their

Spring 2017


20th anniversary, the women and their families will fill a 14-bedroom cottage in the Catskills. Eleven children – they call them Sparks – have grown up as close as cousins, thanks to the Fireball Club gatherings. “It’s like one big family sleepover for the weekend, or sometimes for the week,” Loebach says. “We always want to be in the same space, together.” Gatherings often have a theme and are usually activity-based. One year the group made a Fireballpatterned quilt that stays with a host until the next event. Another gathering saw the families take part in a day-long Amazing Race style game. Organizing events is a bit more complicated now that members have spread geographically, with the farthest flung members now living in Vancouver and Sydney, Australia. But given that the group met as student organizers – Loebach was the MES president in 1997 – it isn’t surprising that they are capable and dedicated event planners.



While admitting it sound sort of geeky once said aloud, Loebach confides that they use an event-planning spreadsheet and have committees in charge of food, activities. “It speaks to the engineer in all of us. We’re a very organized group.” Professionally, while the women have chosen a range of career paths, they’ve been connected by the experience of being female engineers. It was a reality that struck home after graduation, says Loebach. “I think we all felt extremely supported when we were going through Mac engineering. None of us felt that being a woman was going to be an issue – until we went into industry.” The women have supported each other through career struggles and life issues, and Loebach says they recognize how lucky they are to keep the connection to each other and their university years. “We’re all extremely grateful that we’ve maintained it this long. We really do cherish it.”

Fostering the next generation of biomedical engineers Imagine health care professionals who know how to rig a house to monitor your movements so effectively that they can predict when you are about to fall; Or a world where civil engineers, designing future medical products, know the intricacies of human health.

This is the new world McMaster Engineering is fostering with the next generation of biomedical engineers. New developments within the Faculty are putting graduates on the cutting edge of what the world needs, says Ishwar K. Puri, McMaster’s Dean of Engineering. The most notable development, he says, is a new five-year Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences program that will launch in September. First of its kind in Canada, the program will create future health professionals with knowledge of advanced technologies, and engineers who understand human health. “Even if students in the cohort don’t work in the field of health sciences, we now have trained graduates who are capable of working on interdisciplinary problems,” Puri says. “The world today is beset by many wicked problems. What we require is a commonality of effort and understanding eachothers’ languages. My contention is that we are not only making them bilingual in engineering and health sciences. We’re putting them on the path of being multilingual.” With the program, students will enter either the Bachelor of Engineering and Biomedical Engineering program, or the Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship. About 1,000 hopefuls applied for 140 spots in 2017, Puri says. That multilingualism approach to education and research is happening in other ways, too. McMaster Engineering will benefit from a new $43 million project that will see an expansion - as well as a repair and retrofit of existing labs - to the Arthur Bourns Building. The work will make way for more interdisciplinary collaboration. Construction is expected to start in 2017, says John Preston, Associate Dean of Research and External Relations. Engineering students will also benefit from a new bio makerspace where undergraduates will be able to create and “have the tools they need to do interesting projects,” Preston says. “When I went through my own engineering degree program, I would have said my education existed in courses and assignments,” he says. Now, “we realize that’s kind of a limited view of things.”

Spring 2017


(left to right) Eric Mahoney (2nd year PhD student in BME), Alexander Ianovski (1st year MSc student in BME), Qiyin Fang

Meet McMaster biomedical engineers meeting healthcare challenges Qiyin Fang Qiyin Fang is the living embodiment of taking McMaster’s engineering work into the community. He isn’t just outside the classroom. He’s going right into other people’s houses. The Canada Research Chair in Biophotonics is doing novel, eye-catching research at a home in Westdale. Fang’s team is equipping a two-storey century home with sensors to better track patient activities. The estate of Ernest Kay (BSc ‘47, Chemistry and Biology, MA ‘49) donated the house to McMaster University. Once the monitoring methods are perfected, health care professionals will use them to monitor older patients with chronic diseases, Fang says. “We want to sense their physical activities and their physiological responses,” says Fang, who is an Engineering Physics associate professor. Sensors will track “which room they’re in, how their bodies react to temperature change, how often they use the bathroom.” Such data will be encrypted and owned by the patient. Students will be the first test subjects in the house. Once Fang perfects the data collection, he plans to outfit the home of an actual patient.



The equipment is an indoor localization device Fang’s research team is building for tracking which room the occupant is in.


“We want to provide an implant that will last the lifetime of a patient.”

Kathryn Grandfield AS LIVES GET LONGER AND THE POPULATION GETS older, there’s increasing demand for comfortable implants that last as long as we do. That’s where Kathryn Grandfield enters the picture. Grandfield researches ways to make better implants for hips, knees, dental work, and other parts of the body. The goal is to create better, easier and longer-lasting implants that better attach to bone and make a more comfortable life – and fewer surgeries - for the end user.

“We want to provide an implant that will last the lifetime of a patient,” says Grandfield, an assistant Materials Science and Engineering professor. Grandfield primarily works with titanium and titanium alloys. Titanium has a unique surface layer – an oxide layer - that’s biocompatible, she says. And the material is enduring enough to last 40 years. Its primary downfall? It’s stronger than bone, she says, but right now “it’s the best we have.”

Spring 2017


Feature Zeinab Hosseini-Doust ZEINAB HOSSEINI-DOUST IS ONE OF THE DEPARTMENT of Chemical Engineering’s newest researchers, and she knows she’s arrived at just the right time. Hosseini-Doust came to McMaster in July 2016, fresh from a fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany. Her research focuses, in part, on bacteriophages – viruses that infect bacteria. Her goal is to tease out the many uses of bacteriophages. Understand how they destroy certain bacteria species, for example, and you have the next generation of antibiotics. Combine

them with synthetic material and you have new devices for environmental monitoring, or data storage, or diagnostics imaging – assembled, she explains, “from the bottom up.” “Once you start combining biological agents with synthetic material, you have a lot of function you didn’t have before.” Hosseini-Doust is excited by the idea of merging engineering with health sciences. “Moving into the new building is going to help us,” she says. “We’ll be moving into dedicated space designed for the type of work we do.”

“Once you start combining biological agents with synthetic material, you have a lot of function you didn’t have before.”




“You could put a magnet up to it, or an ultrasound, for a minute or two and release the drug right at that site.”

Todd Hoare AN ARTHRITIC PERSON POPS A PILL TO RELIE VE his joint pain. He only needs it for his bad knees, or his aching lower back, but lacking better direction, the drug spreads throughout the body. A cancer patient sits in chemotherapy treatments, but instead of the chemo drugs targeting her cancer cells, they batter the healthy ones too, making the patient feel sick and weak. These are scenarios Chemical Engineer Todd Hoare hopes will one day be a distant

memory. The associate professor is focused on methods to target drug delivery, largely with hydrogels. Such a prospect would lessen side effects from, for example, punishing cancer treatments. And it could lessen drug tolerance. “If you could implant or inject something at the site, then when you experience the pain, you could put a magnet up to it, or an ultrasound, for a minute or two and release the drug right at that site,” Hoare says.

Spring 2017


Five Young Women to Watch In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, McMaster Engineering highlighted five of our top female student leaders. These women are creative problemsolvers who are passionate about being difference makers and stereotype breakers and bringing more diversity to engineering. Read more about these amazing young women who are changing the world:


Alyssia Jovellanos Why she chose engineering: “Engineering solves the most impactful problems of our societies, whether it’s detecting cancer or creating clean energy. Engineers get to both dream up solutions and actually make them.” Why we need more women in engineering: “Those who imagine and build technology should mirror the people and societies they build it for. Diversity of thought is crucial to meaningful innovation, and it’s this innovation that ultimately drives the world forward.”

Dominating Digital

Breaking Barriers

Name: Alyssia Jovellanos Program: Computer Science Why she’s one to watch: Emerging as a young tech leader, Alyssia is determined to show girls and other disadvantaged groups the importance of computer science. Alyssia was the winner of the 2016 Student of Vision ABIE Award presented by the Anita Borg Institute – a prestigious award honoring one student worldwide who is making a significant contribution to technology. Beyond this, Alyssia is the founder of the Women in Computing Society, former co-president of the McMaster Computer Science Society, and the co-founder/co-director of DeltaHacks– Canada’s first student-run Hackathon for Change.

Name: Alison Bayzat Program: Electrical Engineering and Society, Minor in Computer Science Why she’s one to watch: As an ambassador and co-president for the student-led Women in Engineering, Alison is determined to break down barriers preventing young women from pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathema¬tics (STEM) fields. She is also devoted to making a difference in the automotive industry; she is the project manager of the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR3 team–North America’s premier collegiate-level automotive engineering competition. Alison is the 2016 winner of the Canadian Engineering Memorial


Five Young Women to Watch

Alison Bayzat Foundation (CEMF) Engineering Ambassador Award, past director for Venture Engineering and Science, and past president and current VP social of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Society. Why she chose engineering: “When I was entering Grade 11, my mom encouraged me to try out biomedical engineering at McMaster University’s L.E.A.P Program, as I was interested in biology and was thinking about becoming a veterinarian. During my time at L.E.A.P., while I found out biomedical engineering wasn’t for me, I developed a strong interest in computer science and electrical engineering through friends.” Why we need more women in engineering: “I think it’s important to have a diverse group of people working together on any project, throughout both school and within industry. Having a team working collaboratively with different perspectives will introduce a higher level of creative thinking and problem solving.”

Energy Explorer Name: Marquise Kamanke Program: Chemical Engineering and Management Why she’s one to watch: Focused on exposing, and exploring the current energy issues relevant to the global economy, Marquise is passionate

Marquise Kamanke about pushing energy technologies to the next level. Her drive and ambition has led her to form the McMaster Undergrad Energy Society focused on educating students about global energy issues, and to spearhead the creation of the student-run McMaster Energy Journal. Marquise is also the current vice president of the National Society of Black Engineers and recently received the Black Arts and Innovation Excellence award from Excelovate. Why she chose engineering: “I developed a passion for sustainability and energy issues throughout my undergrad, which makes me want to problem solve every day and bring society closer to a clean post-carbon economy.” Why we need more women in engineering: “As problem solvers, what we identify as problems between men and women are completely different. Tapping into this widest range of creative thinkers and doers is a win-win for everyone. Without a diverse workforce of engineers, we will not get diverse answers to our engineering problems.”

Driving Change Name: Carmen Bracho Program: Mechanical Engineering and Management Why she’s one to watch: Driving change as a student leader in the automotive industry, Carmen is

Spring 2017


Five Young Women to Watch Seeing Clearly

Carmen Bracho an accomplished student with a passion for innovation. In December 2016, Carmen was awarded the Alan Mulally Leadership in Engineering Scholarship from Ford Motor Company– a scholarship designed to support future leaders in STEM fields. She also earned the Shimco Scholarship for her exceptional leadership qualities, the Dr. Chris Bart Scholarship for obtaining the top sessional averaging entering Level 2 in any Engineering and Management Program, and is a member of the McMaster SAE Baja Racing team, which designs, builds, and tests off-road vehicles competing in racing competitions. Why she chose engineering: “I have also always viewed success as the ability to make a positive impact to your community or in the lives of others, and engineering seemed like a great pathway for making an impact.” Why we need more women in engineering: “We need more women in engineering to be able to capitalize from a broader community of creative thinkers and problem solvers to tackle some of today’s pressing problems.”

Name: Andrea Obungen Program: Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering Why she’s one to watch: As a student researcher focused on engineered treatments for eye diseases, Andrea worked as a Research Assistant in a chemical engineering lab alongside Heather Sheardown, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials. Andrea is also a GE Scholar-Leader award winner recognized for her leadership, volunteerism, and academic performance in the STEM fields. She is also the director of Campus Fundraising for Engineers Without Borders and student mentor for Women in Engineering. Why she chose engineering: “There are so many complex problems in the world that I believe we have the potential to solve and engineering gives us the toolbox needed to solve these issues.” Why we need more women in engineering: “In a profession that serves the world, we should have people of many backgrounds to better represent the world we live in. I think that as more women join this field, we will continue to gain the assurance that we belong and that we are capable, just as much as anyone with any other gender identity.”

Andrea Obungen



Initiatives to Build a Diversified Faculty AS 2 016 -17 FACULT Y LE ADERSHIP FELLOW, Kim Jones has set her sights on improving the diversity and gender parity of McMaster’s engineering faculty. An associate professor in the Chemical Engineering department, Jones is spending her one-year term developing initiatives to promote a culture of diversity within the faculty and eliminate systemic barriers to success. “We need as diverse a group of engineers as we can get,” she explains. “If engineers reflect our society, then the things we design will also serve our society better.” Along with looking at ways of attracting diverse candidates to McMaster, she is also focusing on helping current female faculty members succeed and advance up the academic career ladder. She is organizing a weekly writing group for female faculty members focused on research-related writing and grant applications, planning workshops on work-life balance and diversity in the classroom, and working with students to organize a 2017 Canadian Federation of Engineering Students conference on diversity.

Her proposals include ensuring female faculty members are appropriately nominated for national and international awards, investigating access to child care spaces and creating a speed mentoring event for undergraduate female engineering students. Women who work in a male-dominated environment may no longer face the overt sexism from years past, but are still challenged by loneliness and difficulty establishing relationships that support their success, she says. Jones would like to hear from alumni who are interested in participating in diversity initiatives, or see ways the faculty can offer career support following graduation. The Engineering Leadership Fellow program provides fellows with a $3,000 flexible fund for incidentals, relief from teaching one course, and support and mentoring from the faculty’s leadership group. That support, and insight into the management of the faculty, has inspired Jones. “I’m now much more motivated to work for change within the university.”

Spring 2017


Putting Steel Under a Microscope STUDYING MICRO-PARTICLES IN MOLTEN STEEL IS about as complicated as it sounds, and it certainly requires specialized equipment. That specialized equipment – in the form of a confocal scanning laser microscopy suite – allows McMaster’s Neslihan Dogan to observe micron-sized particles in 1600C steel. Dogan, an assistant professor in materials science and engineering, was awarded a grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to acquire the state-of-the-art confocal microscope, laser and furnace. It arrived at McMaster in June 2015, and is now supporting research into ways to produce cleaner, better-quality steel. “There is a worldwide push for steelmakers to lower the non-metallic inclusion content of the steel they produce,” says Dogan. “This push is even becoming greater as automotive manufacturers require stronger thinner sections for lighter vehicles to meet tougher greenhouse regulations and passenger safety goals.” By examining chemical reaction and phase transformation in molten steel, Dogan is able to determine ways to study inclusion behaviour and help steelmakers optimize their processes. The microscope in use for Dogan’s research is the only model of real-time laser microscopes capable of working temperatures of up to 1700C. In Canada, only McGill University has a comparable system, which it uses for different purposes. While “very exciting,” it can also be challenging to work on the cutting-edge of innovation, admits Dogan. It took almost a year to set up, test and train on the new system. “One of the challenges is that the system is so new nobody knows very much, so we have to learn a lot of it ourselves,” she says. Thanks to Mac’s collaboration with Arcelor Mittal, Dogan and a graduate student were able to travel to Chicago to get 10 days of training on the system.



The company previously used the American location to analyze samples from Dofasco. Those steel samples can be tested on the McMaster system, contributing to Dogan’s data and providing students with the opportunity to learn about real industrial problems. Even undergraduate students are seeing the benefit of the system. Videos of the micro-particles dissolving and precipitating in the molten steel are part of Dogan’s third year materials and engineering class, while a group of final year undergraduate students are using the facility for their industrial project. As well, an undergraduate assistant was fully trained to help graduate students with the research project last summer. A collaborative project with the University of Toronto is also allowing the microscope to be used to investigate aluminum silicon alloys. “This equipment expands our research capabilities here at McMaster,” Dogan says. “The research will provide scientific knowledge that ultimately helps the Canada’s steel industry improve its economic and environmental performance, and stay competitive globally.”

MacLAB Fund Supports Leading-Edge Facilities ALMOST A MILLION DOLL ARS HAS BEEN INVESTED in engineering labs and equipment over the last two decades, thanks to the MacLAB Fund. In 1997, engineering students voted to establish and contribute to an endowment fund dedicated to maintaining and upgrading the faculty’s undergraduate labs, computers and equipment. Twenty years later, the MacLAB Fund has collected $3.57 million. Interest from the fund – officially known as the McMaster Laboratory Advancement Benefaction Endowment Fund – has provided money for purchases of $906,157.79. “It’s the kind of faculty where you always need to obtain better, more up-to-date equipment,” says Janet Loebach, who initiated the fund during her 1997 term as MES president. From oscilloscopes to mounting presses to milling machines, the fund provides grants to support a wide range of projects across departments. Funding requests can be initiated by faculty members or students, with the intent of ensuring students have up-to-date equipment to expose them to the most recent developments in their fields. Recent years have seen annual disbursements

Senior level Chemical Engineering students working on contaminated water experiment

of between $60,000 and $100,000. The fund also provides money for special projects. In 2014, it supplied $2,500 to the McMaster Baja Racing team for the purchase of a TIG Welder. The welder has expanded the range of parts the team can design and manufacture for the off-road vehicle, says team lead Joel Squire. “The portability of the welder has allowed us to make repairs in the field and continue in competition, even after Membrane treatment of contaminated component failure.” water, Chemical Engineering While alumni and faculty have supported the fund, the bulk of the MacLAB money has come from an annual voluntary $50 tuition contribution from students. The MacLAB endowment committee, made up of students, faculty, staff and alumni, reviews applications and hands out annual grants. Any full-time undergraduate engineering student can serve on the committee.

Plasma cutter, Mechanical Engineering

Spring 2017


Taking a Material Approach to Cleaner Water

KURT WESTHAVER, A MASTERS STUDENT STUDYING under David Latulippe, has been awarded a 2016 scholarship from the Water Environment Association of Ontario (WEAO). Westhaver is researching dewatering fabrics that might provide a cost-effective approach to managing sludge material generated by agriculture, mining or water treatment operations. While the water and solid materials in sludge can be mechanically separated, such technologies are expensive and complex. Existing dewatering fabrics used to filter the water out of sludge have received limited use because of their tendency to fail when they become clogged.


“There is a need for an advanced dewatering fabric that achieves the required solids capture while having a reduced tendency to foul and thus capable of processing greater quantities of sludge material,” Westhaver wrote in his essay to capture the $1,000 scholarship. His research project will involve multiple applications including sludge materials from precious metal mining operations and large agricultural operations such as those that operate in the Holland marsh area. While an agricultural gem in Ontario, the area also contributes significantly to phosphorus levels in Lake Simcoe. “We believe our project will lead to the development of a dewatering technology which will play a role in ensuring the long-term economic success of the Holland Marsh area and the protection of Lake Simcoe,” Westhaver noted. The scholarships are awarded to “promising students who are pursuing careers that protect water quality, including wastewater treatment and watershed management.” The Water Environment Association of Ontario (WEAO) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with 1,500 members representing water quality professionals in Ontario. This is the third year in a row that a student from Latulippe’s chemical engineering group has won the scholarship. It was awarded to undergraduate Melissa Larocque in 2015 and undergraduate Ryan LaRue in 2014.

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Kudos McMaster professor receives Order of Canada award McMaster Engineering professor John Bandler was invested an Officer of the Order of Canada on February 17. One of our country’s highest civilian honours, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Bandler, a professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is also an artist, novelist and playwright. He was honoured for his work in the field of microwave engineering. He was recognized among 42 Order of Canada recipients during a ceremony at Rideau Hall hosted by David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

Emadi named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors Ali Emadi of McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction awarded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Emadi is the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Hybrid Powertrain and professor of electrical and computer engineering and mechanical

engineering at McMaster University. He is internationally recognized for his expertise in transportation electrification and smart mobility.

New Materials Science and Engineering Chair Hatem Zurob is the new Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering commencing January 1, 2017. Zurob received his B.Eng and Ph.D degrees from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at McMaster University in 1999 and 2003, respectively. He completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Grenoble Institute of Technology and Oxford University before coming back to McMaster as an Assistant Professor in 2005.

Appointment to Canadian Academy of Engineering board Peter Mascher has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Mascher, associate vice-president international affairs and a professor of engineering physics, will serve a three-year term. The Canadian Academy of Engineering is the national institution through which Canada’s most distinguished and experienced engineers provide strategic advice on matters of critical importance to Canada.

Spring 2017


Kudos Two Canada Research Chair Renewals

McMaster Engineering has been awarded two renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRCs), a program which aims to retain and attract research leaders. Chemical engineering professor Prashant Mhaskar has been renewed for second term as the Canada Research Chair in Nonlinear and Fault-Tolerant Control (Tier 2). Ravi Selvaganapathy’s Canada Research Chair in Biomicrofluidics has been renewed for a further five years to continue his research on microfluidic and microfabrication technologies.

NSERC grants awarded to engineering professors

Two McMaster Engineering research projects have received a combined investment of $1M over three years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC). Andy Knights, professor of engineering physics, received $524,500 for his work on amplified Silicon Photonics (SiP). Rong Zheng, associate professor, computing and software, was awarded $481,700 to further her work on mobile crowdsensing.



Engineering alumna joins ranks of Distinguished University Professors Hoda ElMaraghy, an internationally renowned researcher and McMaster alumna, has been appointed to the rank of Distinguished University Professor. As a recent appointee to the Canadian Academy of Engineering, ElMaraghy has been hailed for her pioneering research in manufacturing systems engineering. Her research on flexible manufacturing has helped manufacturers around the world adapt and respond to market changes by allowing companies to produce different products with the same flexible manufacturing system. In 1976, ElMaraghy (M.Eng ‘72, Ph.D. ’76 Mechanical) became the first Canadian women to earn a doctorate in mechanical engineering. She went on to become the country’s first female Dean of Engineering, and was recently appointed to the Order of Ontario for her pioneering accomplishments and her research on flexible manufacturing.

News New facilities for engineering innovation research THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND PROVINCE OF Ontario has invested $43 million in science and engineering teaching and research labs at McMaster, the single largest government investment in laboratories and research capacity in the University’s history and part of a massive $75 million project. The funding will support the repair and retrofit of existing labs in the Arthur Bourns Building, plus the construction of a new addition to that building. The investments also support the campus electricity and heat cogeneration (COGEN project), which enhances McMaster’s ongoing energy conservation efforts.

As a result of these investments, students, professors and researchers will work in state-of-the-art facilities advancing the country’s best research. They will collaborate in specially designed spaces that support lifelong learning and skills training. They will work in close proximity with partners to turn discoveries into products or services. In the process, they will train for—and invent—the highvalue jobs of the future. Their discoveries will plant the seeds for the next generation of innovators. Planning for the renovation and addition are underway.

Mac grad hopes to become Canada’s next astronaut A McM AS T ER Engineering alumnus is among the 72 people hoping to become astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency. Thomas Karakolis (BEng ’07, MASc ’10, Mechanical) is among 72 candidates for the out-of-this-world job. Karakolis, who has a PhD in Kinesiology, is a defence scientist with the Department

of National Defence. He researches how to prevent injury and improve the performance of members of the Canadian Armed forces. “I want to become an astronaut to explore the unknown, help others, and advance our society’s understanding of ourselves and the world around us,” Karakolis said on the Canadian Space Agency’s website. “I’ve always been a curious person, and have always wanted to push the boundaries of what I believe is possible. I would also love to serve as an inspiration to others, and to show that anything is possible when you have a dream.”

Ontario invests more than $8M in McMaster research T WO McMASTER ENGINEERING RESEARCH PROJects – one focused on electric vehicles, the other on eye disease – have each received a $4 million boost from the Ontario Research Fund (ORF). The awards, funded through ORF’s Research Excellence stream, support the operational costs of large-scale transformative research of strategic value to the province. Saeid Habibi, professor of mechanical engineering

and NSERC/Ford Chair in Hybrid Technologies, and co-investigator, Ali Emadi, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Hybrid Powertrain, and professor of

Saeid Habibi

Spring 2017


News electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering, have received $4 million for their $17 million project: Electric Extended range

Ali Emadi

Heather Sheardown

Clean affordable Ontario (EECOMOBILITY). Heather Sheardown, Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Systems, and professor of chemical engineering, also secured $4 million for her $14 million research project: C20/20: Responsive Materials for Ocular Therapy. Sheardown will lead a team of nine industry partners, along with academic colleagues from the University of Waterloo, to develop novel materials based solutions to tackle what she describes as a ‘crisis in vision health.’

Technology developed by ECE prof being used in weapons detection system ADVANCES IN MACHINE LEARNING BEING DEVELoped at McMaster University by Electrical and Computer Engineering Prof. Natalia Nikolova (Canada Research Chair in High-Frequency Electromagnetics) are being used to detect concealed weapons. Nikolova’s technology is being incorporated into the new NForce weapons detection system

developed by Patriot One Technologies, Inc. The system can pick up weapons as people pass through various points, such as doors and turnstiles. The NForce system and Nikolova’s supporting research was introduced during the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego on Oct. 15.

McMaster Engineering’s Cindy Nelles named to CIS Top 8 Academic All-Canadians McMASTER ENGINEERING ALUMNA CINDY NELLES may need a bigger trophy case. After a season for the ages in 2015, the former captain of the Marauders women’s rugby team and former civil engineering student was named as the OUA female nominee for the Top Eight Academic All-Canadians in October. Nelles becomes just the fourth Marauder student-athlete to be receive the national honour, with the most recent being wrestler Lulu Burztyn in 2004. The Academic All-Canadian awards recognize CIS student-athletes for their excellence on the field of play and in the classroom.



News Engineering student wins top award for McMaster undergrads RYAN L ARUE IS THE 2016 recipient of the 2016 Chancellor’s Gold Medal, a prestigious McMaster University student award. The award recognizes one exceptional student

that has excelled in demonstrating scholarship, influence, and leadership at the undergraduate level. LaRue, a fifth year Chemical Engineering and Management Program student, has researched membranes tailored for water treatment and recently did an exchange fellowship at the University of Notre Dame.

PhD student wins prestigious academic award EXCEPTIONAL academic standing, leadership and research earned Jake Nease a Governor General Academic Medal, one of the most prestigious

student awards in Canada. Nease, who recently earned a PhD in chemical engineering, has a long list of accomplishments in academia, leadership and teaching. Nease said he plans to continue his doctoral research on a conceptual power plant with essentially zero CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

McMaster-based institute receives funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation THE CANADIAN CENTRE FOR ELECTRON Microscopy (CCEM) – which houses some of the world’s most advanced suite of tools and capabilities – received $3.75M guaranteeing the facility and its users will build on the last

decade of scientific excellence and remain competitive on the international stage. CCEM’s Scientific Director and Canada Research Chair in Electron Microscopy of Nanoscale Materials, Gianluigi Botton, says the

Spring 2017


News investment speaks to the Centre’s international reputation, its leading edge science, and its role in training highly qualified personnel. Each year, CCEM hosts some 350 users, including those who are keen to develop stronger

steels for safer pipelines; lighter weight alloys for more efficient cars; new biomaterials for bone implants and diagnostic tools; cancer diagnostics and therapies; new materials for fuel cells in clean transport; and low cost water purification.

University leaders look to expand international partnerships with visit to India A TEAM OF McMASTER LEADERS IS VISITED INDIA earlier this year to meet with universitiy representatives, policymakers and alumni in and around New Delhi. The group, which included associate vice-president of international affairs Peter Mascher, DeGroote School of Business Dean Len Waverman, Engineering Dean Ishwar Puri

and alumnus Marc Payne, met with potential partners at the India Institute of Technology and the University of Delhi, explored possible joint research initiatives with Bharti Airtel, and visited two Satya Bharti schools, funded and operated by the Bharti Foundation, which provide education for children living in marginalized communities.

Pioneering partnership model in the McMaster Innovation Ecosystem McMASTER UNIVERSIT Y’S INNOVATIVE EXPERImental co-location between an academic research centre and a rapidly growing startup company has begun to yield successes. The university’s Computing Infrastructure Research Centre (CIRC, which is a research centre in the Faculty of Engineering, shares space with its founding industry partner Cinnos Mission Critical

Inc. at the McMaster Innovation Park. CIRC’s team of researchers and students are focused on developing cutting-edge technologies for data centres. Cinnos is a technology start-up forged in the McMaster Innovation Ecosystem, and designs and sells appliances for rapid, low cost, and highly efficient deployment of scalable data centre facilities.

Students recognized for leadership T WO McMASTER ENGINEERING STUDENTS WERE recognized for their exceptional leadership during the Black Arts and Innovation Expo (BAIE) in Toronto on Feb. 25. Software Engineering and Management student Abraham Omorogbe, and Marquise Kamanke, a Chemical Engineering and Management student, were each awarded a $5,000 scholarship from BAIE in recognition of their academic, leadership and community achievements. McMaster Alumna Janelle Hinds (B. Eng. and Management ’15), who was a finalist at the BAIE Lions Lair Competition, also received recognition.



From Left: Marquise Kamanke, Abraham Omorogbe, and Shawn Hercules

Alumni Events Dr. Douglas Stebila, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Computing & Software was the guest speaker at a Lunch and Learn held at Liuna Station regarding How Cryptography Protects your Information Every Day. Thank to all the Engineering Mentors who came out to the Annual Mentor Connection Night in January. Over 100 mentors participated to help address questions and concerns of students in all levels, to prepare them for their future years at McMaster and for life after university.

Lisa Brown (B.Eng.Mgmt. ’03, MBA’10), Service Manager, Power Systems at Toromont CAT talked to students on February 13 about Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Engineers: Lessons Learned

Engineering alumni enjoyed a great night of scotch at Liuna Station. Great dinner, lots of laughter and fabulous tastes of scotch. Thank you to everyone who came out!

Spring 2017


Alumni Events Thank you to those who joined us at the Toronto event “Building Innovation Ecosystems”. Panelists: ‚‚Cobham, Sean Cinnos, Mission Critical Inc, Chief Technology Officer

‚‚D’Cuhna, Mark - Computer Eng. ‘85, Pivotal Software Inc., Mobile & Cloud Platforms

‚‚Houghton, Melissa - Eng. Entrepreneurship and Innovation ‘16, Lumago Inc., CEO & Cofounder

‚‚Pavlidis, Mark - Software Eng. & Mgmt. ‘04, MAS ‘06, Flixel Photos Inc, Co-founder & CTO. Next event will be held on Thursday, Setpember 28.

Ishwar Puri held a dinner reception in the Bay area at the Rosewood Sand Hotel on February 7. Alumni were engaged with conversation on “Building Innovation Ecosystems.

Thank you to Peter Gima for taking the time to talk to our engineering students about some quick and easy action steps to elevate your personal brand using LinkedIn.



Donor stories THE CL ASS OF ’85 RAISED $ 300,000 IN SUPPORT OF the new gateway to the John Hodgins Engineering Building. Thanks to their generous reunion gifts, the building’s lobby and entranceway has been renovated into a spacious and comfortable gathering space. The Class of 1990 has undertaken Duncan Hannay the challenge of raising $100,000 to expand that public space to an outdoor landscaped common area in front of JHE, with the Faculty of Engineering matching all gifts made to the project.

Class of ‘85 donors: Seated left to right: Tim Nohara & Randy Smith. Standing left to right: David Armstrong, Quang Nguyen and Brad Merkel

The JHE Quad landscaping project aims to create an attractive gathering outdoor patio space for casual networking, collaborative learning and special events like Engineering and Science Olympics and various Welcome Week activities.





Catherine Booth President/Owner, Booth Advisory Inc.


James Politeski (B.Eng & Mgmt ‘92, Mechanical Engineering) Group President at Sears Holdings

The accomplishments of the Faculty of Engineering award recipients will be celebrated on Thursday, May 4, 2017 ‚ 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. LIUNA Station ‚ 360 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario

2 0 1 7

Tickets $150.00 or table of eight $1,200.00 Black Tie Optional, for directions visit:

To register, please contact Terry Milson at 905.525.9140 extension 27391 or

Spring 2017


Helping students to fulfil their potential with engineering Gabby Bouchard, Engineering Access Officer at the University of Oxford “When I was thirteen years old,” begins Gabby Bouchard, Engineering Access Officer at Oxford University, “I was deeply affected by an outreach activity. One of my local universities – the one I ended up going to actually – came to my rural school in Canada and performed an engineering

demonstration for us. We heard about how, with just a little bit of engineering knowledge, we could improve life for thousands of people. It was thanks to that one-hour demonstration that I knew engineering was for me.” Gabby is a perfect example of how effective education outreach can be. After graduating from McMaster University with a degree in engineering, she began working in industry. “I wasn’t really enjoying the work I was doing at that time, so it felt like fate when this job came up,” she says.

“The wonderful thing about engineering is that it’s a real door opener for students; it gives young people the tools to do just about anything.”

Photo credit: John Cairns:



Gabby now uses her love of engineering to encourage more pupils to study the subject at university. Her work focuses on attracting students from schools with limited progression to Oxford, disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, and neighbourhoods with low participation in higher education. The majority of students that Gabby works with are in Year 12 (ages 16 to 17); pupils who know they want to go into science and technology but haven’t made any firm decisions about which institution or course to choose. “My job is to try and convince them that engineering is the best undergraduate degree to have,” she explains. “The wonderful thing about engineering is that it’s a real door opener for students; it gives young people the tools to do just about anything. If they can get into engineering and complete their degree it can really change their lives.” The Engineering Access Officer post that Gabby holds was made possible thanks to the generosity and vision of a donor to the Oxford Thinking campaign. “I wish that there were more people who understood how far a gift to an access-field can go,” says Gabby. “One person doing a role like this can genuinely affect thousands of different people.” Thanks to this new post, the Department of Engineering Science has substantially increased the number of secondary school pupils it has been able to engage with, growing its audience from 500 to nearly 2,000 students over the past year. “We have a lot of really dedicated professors, graduates, undergraduates and staff here that want to help,” says Gabby, “but before the post was created it was all done on a piecemeal, ad-hoc basis. Now, I’m able to connect the people that want to help, with the places where they can make a strategic difference.” An important part of this strategy includes building stronger internal collaborations across all of the science departments at Oxford, and Gabby now helps to coordinate large multi-science events for students, to give them a “taste of the lesser known sciences.” These events also allow her to identify and

connect with students who have an aptitude for engineering – even those who have not considered studying it at university. “I do find that we get a lot of students saying this is something that they didn’t know even existed,” she explains. “When you tell them about engineering, something just clicks!” In addition to these multi-science events, the Department of Engineering Science also participates in a number of residential programmes, including UNIQ, a summer school for students from UK state schools or colleges, and Headstart, a series of experience weeks for sixth-form students run by engineering departments across the country. “Last year we had 38 students coming for Headstart,” explains Gabby. “For five days they had the opportunity to really experience engineering. It’s so important to be able to offer them this opportunity.” Gabby also runs events for younger school students, as well those that specifically target girls, in an effort to attract more females into the engineering field. The challenge, now she’s in her second year in post, will be to evaluate how exactly Oxford can make the biggest impact. “There is a whole access ecosystem out there, so at the moment we’re trying to figure out where the University can add most value,” she says. “It’s a discovery process.” She’s keen to develop the department’s capacity to deliver engineering outreach activities to wider parts of the UK, and also hopes to grow a student ambassador programme created during her first year at Oxford. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm from our undergraduates to get involved in this type of thing,” she notes. “Many of our current students came from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves and didn’t think that they would be able to get into university – but they did, and now they feel that they want to give back.” For more information about Oxford Thinking, the preeminent fundraising campaign for Higher Education in Europe, visit Article courtesy of University of Oxford Development Office

Spring 2017


Obituaries SCOT T THAYER, Eng Mgmt Electrical '88 Passed away peacefully on Aug 2, 2016 at Ian Anderson House in Oakville in his 52nd year. The loving husband of Louise, devoted father of Alex and Jack, son of Ethel and Bob, brother of Sandy and friend to all who knew him.



An avid skier and sailor, Scott was eager to contribute his energies toward volunteering. His latest role, chairing the building committee for the Alpine Ski Club chalet which opened this winter, brought him joy – and a lot of new friends as he championed the cause one chairlift conversation at a time. His passion was as contagious as his courage while he always strived to WIN THE DAY. His journey through prostate cancer was made better by a great number of people. Our thanks to each of you.


ENGINEERING GOLF TOURNAMENT Crosswinds Golf & Country Club 6621 Guelph Line, Burlington, ON, L7P 0A9

Friday, May 12, 2017 Lunch - 11:30 am to 12:30 pm Putting Competition (during lunch) Shotgun Start - 12:30 pm Dinner - 6:00 pm Tournament Package Price - NEW OPTIONS $95/Person (No Dinner) or $140/Person (Dinner Included)

BBQ Lunch Access to lockers and showers Golfers will have the use of shared power cart 18 Hole Tournament (Shotgun Format) Dinner Reception and PRIZES to be won! (Depending on Package Price Selected) Various Contests: Longest drive, putting competition, closest-to-the-pin and lowest-score winning team!

To register, please contact Terry Milson at 905.525.9140 extension 27391 or



Photo: © Canadian Space Agency

THE CANADIAN SPACE PROGRAM: AT THE CROSSROADS Space: The Final Frontier. Why are entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson fixated on space travel, yet Canada, with advanced technologies such as Canadarm, seems to be at a standstill with its national space vision? A new generation of international entrepreneurs is looking to change the world through new investments in space, and Canada needs to take part. As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, please join us for a review of the past and industrial perspectives on how the future of the Canadian space program can be changed for the better. What possibilities can innovation and entrepreneurship bring? What is the potential for our nation?


Michael Pley Electrical Eng. & Mgmt. ‘83

Mr. Pley retired in 2016 as CEO after a thirty-year career with COM DEV International Ltd. of Cambridge, Ontario. COM DEV (now Honeywell) is one of the world’s leading space manufacturers, having supplied equipment to over 900 spacecraft, including 80% of all communications satellites ever launched, and its 1250 employees in 7 locations around the world have supplied equipment to every major spacecraft manufacturer and space agency. Mr. Pley continues to provide consulting services to space companies and technology SMEs and is the current Chair of the Space Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), the leading advocacy voice for the aerospace industry in Canada. The AIAC has submitted a white paper as an input to the federal government’s Innovation Agenda, entitled: “The Future of Canada’s Space Sector; An Engine of Innovation For Over Fifty Years.”

Thursday, April 27, 2017 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Liuna Station, King George Ballroom 360 James St N, Hamilton, L8L 1H5 BUSINESS CASUAL ‚ $25.00

Spring 2017


The grand challenges facing the world


Energy, Bioinnovation and Smart Systems GEDC 2017 Niagara Falls, Canada will bring together the top minds from around the globe to discuss issues of importance: from smart systems to bioinnovation to energy, to engaging local communities, to nurturing entrepreneurship and high-tech start-ups.

Innovating to meet global grand challenges

MacEngineer Spring 2017  

The MacEngineer - The magazine for McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering Alumni

MacEngineer Spring 2017  

The MacEngineer - The magazine for McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering Alumni