Honours and Awards

Engineering Staff Take Home Stepping UP Awards

By Kate Brand

Helen Bright, Pierina Filippone, Sergei Metropolitansky, Austra Ozolins, Nelly Pietropaolo, Georgette Zinaty were among 23 individuals and 143 group members at U of T to receive recognition for their contributions to the University with a coveted Stepping Up Award.
In an effort to better recognize the achievements of our undergraduate students, the Faculty team of Helen, Pierina and Sergei, created the “Finding Your Stars” online student portfolio. This tool, which is accessed by students through the Engineering Portal, provides them with the opportunity to keep a record of their involvement and achievements outside the classroom throughout their time in the Faculty.
Replacing a paper-based scholarship application process, in the first year using this new tool, the number of scholarship applications increased from less than 200 to nearly 800. Now in its second year of student use, over 1,000 students have completed the portfolio. This increase means the scholarships committee has a greater number of students to consider for scholarships that include non-academic achievements among the criteria.
The portfolio can be accessed by students throughout the year and all of the information is stored from year to year. Students no longer have to duplicate information to be reconsidered for scholarships each year, and they can complete the form as they have time. In addition to creating a printable, up-to-date record of their extracurricular activities, it also allows students to store a resume that they can access any time.
The new administrative interface allows the registrar’s office and scholarship committee to better select students for Faculty scholarships and nominate students for external scholarships and awards that have extracurricular achievements and/or leadership as criteria. By searching and filtering the portfolios based on award criteria, the Faculty can also make scholarship decisions more efficiently, despite the significant increase in the pool of eligible candidates.
Nelly and Georgette teamed up to enhance the undergraduate student experience for Civil and Mineral Engineering by implementing a professional skills development program. They built the program to include the “Career Event” for applicants to Civil and Mineral Engineering whereby an alumni panel shares insight and career stories with interested applicants. They also organized recruitment events to target Civil and Mineral Engineering’s top 50 applicants whereby parents and prospective students enjoyed dinner with professors, current students, and alumni.
As part of this series, Nelly and Georgette coordinated four additional events to enhance the student experience – Marketing Yourself in 15 Seconds, a Networking Breakfast, and the CIV/MIN Awards Reception, in addition to the annual Civil and Mineral Engineering Career Fair.  Their programming spanned the full cycle of the undergraduate student experience – from events targeted to attract prospective students, networking events geared to building confidence and awareness for current students, and providing opportunities to launch successful Engineering careers.
The only recipient of an individual Stepping Up award in Engineering, Austra Ozolins … (waiting for info from ECE)



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