Two students from York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering have received the Nascent Co-op/Internship Students of the Year Award for making exceptional contributions to their respective co-op/internship employer and for their involvement in the Lassonde community.
Aryeh Weinberger, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, completed a four-month co-op work term beginning in May 2019 at Advantage Forensics Inc. During this time, he worked closely with the collision reconstruction and product failure forensic engineering teams where he was given increasing responsibility for the investigation and analysis of files involving vehicle collision reconstruction, commercial truck collisions, industrial workplace accidents, skydiving cases and video analysis.
One of Weinberger’s very first cases involved a solo trip to Las Vegas to photograph and document a recreational accident scene. This was an invaluable learning experience as he gained considerable amount of independence and responsibility being 3,500 kilometers away from home. Moreover, Weinberger has made a significant impact on the research and development of current and future road lighting design assessments for multi-million dollar litigation cases involving nighttime collisions. Weinberger’s research and recommendations have led to new state-of-the-art upgrades in measurement equipment purchased by the company.
“I found Aryeh to be an exceptionally talented engineering student in all areas,” said Jason Young, founder and president of Advantage Forensics Inc. “We were exceptionally impressed with the quality of co-op talent from the Lassonde School of Engineering.”
According to his supervisors, beyond his projects and responsibilities, Weinberger demonstrated great initiative by volunteering to develop a new corporate website for the firm. In the short time that he was a co-op student for Advantage Forensics Inc. he contributed greatly to the company’s continued position as experts in nighttime visibility forensics in Ontario. Weinberger has been offered full-time employment as a junior forensic engineering investigator with the firm upon graduation.
As a third-year mechanical engineering student, Antonia Pennella worked under Assistant Professor Garrett Melenka’s supervision in the role of research assistant with the Lassonde Undergraduate Research Award (LURA) for four months beginning in May 2019, supporting Melenka’s group in the design and construction of a low-cost composite braiding machine. According to her supervisors, during her co-op, Pennella went above and beyond in demonstrating an excellent work ethic and contributed greatly to the establishment of the Melenka Research Group. Her project and scholarly work have earned her the Best Poster award at the Lassonde Undergraduate Research Conference, as well as the James Wu Research Internship Award for participating in research. Pennella has also taken on a leadership and support role in the aiding of high school and graduate students in their research projects in addition to assisting in the management of the research lab.
“Antonia has made major contributions to the establishment of my research group and laboratory,” said Melenka. “Her work in constructing a braiding machine in my lab will result in numerous future journal publications.”
One of Pennella’s key accomplishments was her involvement in exposing young women to the Science, Technology, Math, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) program. She mentored two high school students and supervised their research project, produced detailed lesson plans and facilitated numerous activities for the students in order to ensure that they were gaining optimal hands-on experience in the lab. Pennella also aided and supported the research of graduate students in the lab and machine shop.