University of Toronto

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

10 Years and a LOT of Leadership

LOT
From left: Jason Sukhram (MSE 1T1 + PEY), Tameka Deare (ChemE 1T3 + PEY), Negar Mokhtarnia (MechE 1T1 + PEY), LOT Co-leaders Professor Greg Evans (ChemE) and Professor Doug Reeve (ChemE), LOT students Christopher Tee (ChemE 1T5), Zhang Bo (ChemE 1T3 + PEY) and Patricia Sheridan (MechE 0T9, MASc 1T1, PhD candidate in Engineering Leadership).

Professor Doug Reeve (ChemE) has a simple answer when you ask him what kind of student he'd want to come into U of T Engineering. "Someone who aims to change the world," he said.

It should come as no surprise that he's a trailblazer, especially when it comes to thinking about what skills engineers need to make their way in the world. For the past 10 years, Professor Reeve has been a champion for leadership education and is currently the Co-Leader of the Engineering Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) program – with Professor Greg Evans (ChemE) – and the Director of the Institute for Leadership Education  (ILead).

Since 2002, LOT has been the heart of leadership development at U of T Engineering. Offering comprehensive student leadership education, the program was initially offered to summer research students in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, but grew to a Faculty-wide initiative in 2006. LOT offers a range of learning opportunities for engineering students, including academic courses, workshops, student-driven working groups, guest lectures and more.

In 2010, ILead was launched, a unique program you can only find at U of T Engineering. It provides curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular programming for leadership education for undergraduate and graduate students. It builds on the great success of LOT, which now functions under ILead.

LOT
Professor Greg Evans with LOT's Negar Mokhtarnia, who will be pursuing an MBA at Rotman starting next fall, and MSE graduate Jason Sukhram.

According to Professor Reeve, leadership means building students’ emotional intelligence, sense of civic duty, their knowledge on how to work a room and understanding that engineering is a “team sport.”

Through LOT, and more recently ILead, Professor Reeve has been encouraging Engineering educators to give their students the skills they need to take their place at the head of the boardroom table, or to lead the next great NGO or firm.

"We need to graduate independent thinkers and outstanding citizens," he said.

For Professor Reeve, he sees engineering education as more than instilling technical knowledge. In fact, he imagines it as "the liberal education of the 21st century." That is, the practical training that society needs, in order to make it through the next few decades and thrive. A profession that will attract future leaders.

Although Professor Reeve has his eye on the future of the profession, when he imagines an ideal engineer, his mind drifts to the past, to the scientist, essayist and politician Benjamin Franklin, and to the entrepreneurial Thomas Edison –  those who had minds that reached far out into society and switched on change.

Luckily for him, he has a champion in Dean Cristina Amon. "She has a very broad understanding of where engineering education is going, especially in the U.S.," Professor Reeve said. "She has a long vision for the profession and it reaches into changing human systems," he explained. "She sees where the profession will be in 2020 and wants to be there."

Just like Professor Reeve did himself, a decade ago.

On June 2, the Faculty is celebrating 10 years of engineering leadership with an afternoon of inspiring stories and personal learning. You are invited to learn more.


How has LOT made an impact on engineering students? Here's a look at just what some students have to say about learning to be better leaders at U of T Engineering:


"LOT has helped me realize my leadership potential by nurturing and supporting the growth of the leader within, that was once dormant. Through the many, many experiences that I was exposed to, LOT has granted me a greater understanding of myself. [It has] contributed to the development of a clearer vision for the future – a future where I am no different from my neighbour, where we are all leaders and are responsible for creating an equitable and progressive world." 

– Tameka Deare (ChemE 1T3 + PEY)


"As engineers, we have a unique opportunity to not only be the ones who will address the dynamic and complex changes the world faces, but also to be the ones who will lead it. The LOT program has helped me look beyond the traditional role of an engineer in order to solve problems. Because of LOT, I approach graduation confident in my ability to lead change, empower others and inspire innovation to truly make a difference in the world."

– Jason Sukhram (MSE 1T1 + PEY)


"I'm confident that the successes I've had while on internship at OPG (Ontario Power Generation), including presenting at the Canadian Nuclear Society Conference, organizing a debate on Nuclear Waste Management and representing my group at cross-departmental meetings, are a direct result of the ongoing leadership training gained through LOT."

–Marina Freire-Gormaly (EngSci 1T0 + PEY), 2011 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award recipient


"The LOT Working Group and Team Certificate Program was a great opportunity for me to develop my leadership, communication and team skills even further than what I had expected. So if you want to be a better leader and team player, join LOT."

– Christopher Tee (ChemE 1T5)


"I did the LOT Organizational Leadership certificate, which helped me in looking at leadership in a whole new perspective. It helped me understand how to be a better leader. LOT has always been very supportive, and it was in that very program that I met other campus leaders as well.

– Tulika Gupta (ElecE 1T2), 2012 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award recipient


"LOT helped me develop my confidence, my networking and my presentation skills. That helped me put myself forward professionally at job fairs. But, now it also helps me pick up the nuances in how people relate and has made me more professional and more prepared to succeed."

– Amanda Sistilli (ChemE 1T1), who currently works as a Process Engineer in Training at ERCO Worldwide


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