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Six Projects Receive Lassonde EDI Seed Funding

In August, the Lassonde School of Engineering announced a new equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) funding initiative to promote a culture of EDI at the School while helping to remove systemic barriers for faculty, students and staff in academia.

The inaugural competition was a success, with many students, staff and faculty members applying for funding. The top six projects have now been selected to receive funding.

“We are very excited to see such a variety of ideas and applicants in our first EDI competition,” said Paulina Karwowska-Desaulniers, Director, Research Priorities & Partnerships at Lassonde. “We hope the funding will mobilize and encourage our community to be increasingly proactive in developing projects that promote and enhance equity, diversity and inclusion at our School.”

Descriptions of some of the funded projects are available below:

Black Excellence Networking Event

Led by the Student Welcome and Support Centre

In partnership with Black Excellence York University (BE YU), the Lassonde Student Welcome and Support Centre (SWSC) will establish an inspirational networking event that highlights Black excellence and success within the STEM industry and STEM research. The full-day event will provide an opportunity for students to network and learn from leaders and their peers. The event will allow current industry professionals and faculty to share their stories, experiences and challenges with current students, all while providing meaningful networking and mentorship opportunities.

Recruitment Activities for NSERC CREATE: Smart – Autonomous Robotic Technology for Space Exploration (SMART-ART)

Led by Professor George Zhu, Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Smart Autonomous Robotic Technology for Space Exploration (SMART-ART) is a is a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-funded, industry-oriented student training program to develop essential technical and professional skills for Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) trainees in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Robotics, Computer Vision and Systems Engineering for space exploration.

The SMART-ART EDI seed funding will allow the program to address culture (creating an inclusive environment), pipeline (developing a diverse pool of HQP candidates), partnerships (facilitating partnerships aligned with our EDI values) and stewardship (embedding EDI into project management policy) via a role model approach, including an EDI Awareness podcast program, EDI training course, targeted advertisement and outreach campaign programs, special events and talks. 

Lassonde Design Lab: Engineering, Technology, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Led by k2i academy

The Bringing STEM to Life: In School program at k2i academy seeks to work with school board partners to co-design and co-implement programs that strengthen science, math, and technology education. The Indigenous Engineering, Technology and Innovation by Design program will extend k2i academy’s programs to northern Ontario.

Co-created with an Indigenous educator in the Algoma District School Board, the program will offer a high school credit course that seeks to inspire students to learn about traditional Indigenous knowledge and engineering, identify societal challenges and use a variety of world views to design and test solutions to problems. As part of the program, a mobile Lassonde Design Lab will be sent to W.C. Eaket Secondary School in Blind River, Ontario to provide access to contemporary technologies that can be used in the design of prototyped solutions. Students will develop job-ready skills in engineering design, computational thinking and coding.

Three additional projects include:

  • Indigeneity and Decolonization in a North American Context, led by Jeff Harris Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Emma Posca, Graduate Record and Enrolment Coordinator, Faculty of Graduate Studies
  • Success of first-generation university students (FGUS), led by Jeff Harris,
  • Recruitment Activities for NSERC CREATE: Training in Applied Biotechnology for Environmental Sustainability (TABES) led by Satinder Brar, Professor, Civil Engineering

More information about these projects will soon be available on the EDI funding page.

This funding initiative gives students, faculty and staff the freedom to design their own initiatives, get creative, and find ways to think outside the box to make the School a more diverse and inclusive space for all. Learn more about these projects and apply for future funding by visiting the EDI funding page.

The next deadline to apply is May 1, 2022.

Learn more about EDI efforts at Lassonde