Western Engineering launches inaugural Desjardins Award in Artificial Intelligence and Systems Engineering


Darran Frisby, director of corporate partnerships & national market development at Desjardins (second from left) with Engineering students Joseph Toma, Rudy Rivera, Santiago Andres Florez Rodriguez, Callum Prince and Raymond Tang (Jacob Arts/Western Engineering).

In a significant stride towards fostering innovation and education, Desjardins has pledged a substantial contribution to the Faculty of Engineering to support the Desjardins Award in Artificial Intelligence and Systems Engineering. 

This is a pioneering initiative that seeks to recognize and reward undergraduate students excelling in their academic pursuits. Specifically designed for students in their second year at Western Engineering, the award is open to those enrolled in one of the Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineering (AISE) Programs. 

What makes this initiative noteworthy is its commitment to long-term support. Recipients of the Desjardins Award will not only receive recognition and financial assistance in their second year but will continue to benefit from the award throughout their third, fourth and fifth years, provided they maintain their eligibility. 

The Desjardins Award comprises five prestigious awards, each valued at $7,500. Over the course of their four-year program, each recipient stands to receive a total of $30,000, providing a significant boost to their academic journey and future prospects. This targeted approach to supporting students in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Systems Engineering is a testament to Desjardins' dedication to shaping the next generation of innovators and thought leaders. 

Inaugural scholarship winners:

Callum Prince, Mechanical Engineering and Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineering

Aspires to integrate his technological and mechanical skills, enabling him to design innovative products and machine parts, utilizing AI to address complex problems beyond the scope of traditional mechanical approaches. 

Joseph Toma, Mechatronic Systems Engineering and Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineering 

Seeks to enhance machine efficiency through innovative designs, focusing on optimizing existing machinery for increased productivity and incorporating cutting-edge mechatronics and AI solutions to revolutionize the industry and create a more sustainable and productive future.

Raymond Tang, Mechatronic Systems Engineering and Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineering 

Desires to pursue a career in the aerospace industry, particularly with a focus on space, and has applied to join the SkyLark Team at Western University, which is working on a CubeSat satellite to track bird migration in Canada. 

Rudy Rivera, Electrical Engineering and Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineering 

Aims to specialize in communication systems and AI development within the field of electronics, aspiring to become a versatile engineer proficient in both hardware and software, contributing to projects that integrate electrical and coding expertise.

Santiago Andres Folrez Rodriguez, Mechanical Engineering and Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineering 

Hopes to pioneer innovative advancements in the aerospace industry, whether through the development of new technologies or novel manufacturing methods, with the aspiration of leaving a lasting and meaningful contribution to humanity, even if recognition is not the primary motivation.

Desjardins’ substantial gift to Western Engineering is a commendable step towards creating a dynamic and supportive environment for students. The targeted funds for artificial intelligence education and entrepreneurship initiatives reflect a thoughtful approach to investing in the future. As the university community expresses its gratitude, the ripple effects of this contribution are sure to be felt for years to come, shaping the landscape of education and innovation in the Faculty of Engineering.