23 June 2022

Valerie Ajayi
Valerie Ajayi

Source: University of Toronto

Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, plus professional experience year co-op

Ajayi was one of six inspiring women from the Faculty of Applied & Engineering’s annual Grads to Watch list

As they cross the stage at Convocation Hall, graduates from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering are marking the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

Having enriched the U of T community as undergraduate and graduate students, they now join a global network of U of T Engineering alumni who working to address pressing challenges around the world and inspire the next generation.

Here are six inspiring women from the Faculty of Applied & Engineering annual Grads to Watch list – each selected by their home departments and institutes.

Valerie Ajayi 

Between working part-time and commuting two hours each way from just outside of Brampton, Ajayi found it difficult in her first year to participate in U of T Engineering life, especially on weekends. But she did not let that challenge stand in her way for long.

“There are so many opportunities across a campus as large as St. George and a community as passionate as Skule,” she says, referring to the U of T Engineering community’s affectionate name for itself. “I wanted to take advantage of it as best as I could.”

Ajayi eventually found a place closer to campus and joined the Skule orientation committee, becoming its vice-chair of finance. She placed first in her categories in both the CUBE Biomedical Engineering Competition, as well as the U of T Engineering Kompetitions (UTEK). Her experience representing Skule at the Ontario Engineering Competition inspired her to lead UTEK the following year as its director. She currently serves as vice-president, finance of the U of T Engineering Society.

“It’s been great to have the chance to work with so many incredible students as we navigate what has been an uncertain and challenging time for all,” she says. “I’m very proud of the projects we were able to advance this year.”

Thanks to the Professional Experience Year Co-op Program, Ajayi is graduating with work experience at Bombardier and Comtek Advanced Structures. She plans to pursue a master’s degree focused on the solid mechanics of new materials, with applications in safety and sustainable production of composites for automotive and aerospace components.

“I have learned so much about leadership, discipline and passion through my extracurricular involvements,” says Ajayi. “I am certain that these will help me succeed in my future endeavours.”

Source: University of Toronto