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Scholarships honour engineer who championed wood construction


Catherine Lalonde Scholarship

Gabriella Vojtila (left) received her scholarship from CWC president and CEO Kevin McKinley (right). Photo courtesy CWC

During the Ontario Forest Industries Association’s (OFIA’s) 77th annual meeting and conference on Feb. 26, the Canadian Wood Council (CWC) recognized recipients of its 2019 Catherine Lalonde Memorial Scholarships.

Established 14 years ago, the scholarships are awarded to graduate students in engineering, architecture, wood science and forestry programs who demonstrate a passion for innovation in the industry. They honour the memory of Lalonde, a professional engineer and past president of CWC who championed the use of wood in residential and commercial construction before succumbing to cancer.

The first recipient to be honoured at last week’s conference was Gabriella Vojtila (pictured, left), a second-year master candidate in applied science and civil engineering at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. Her thesis investigates the performance of fully concealed beam-column connectors under seismic loading, including displacements due to interstorey drifts, for a 10-storey all-wood structure.

Other recipients of the 2019 scholarships include Md Abdul Hamid Mirdad, a third-year PhD candidate in civil engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, whose thesis examines the structural performance of a mass timber panel-concrete (MTPC) composite floor system with an insulation layer and inclined self-tapping screws, at 30 and 45 degrees, to facilitate a partial shear transfer and composite action between the components; and the team of Shawn Dylan Johnston and Siqi Wang, master of architecture students at the University of Toronto, who designed a community centre using mass-timber products for structural purposes, highlighting the potential for wood construction.

“The winning scholarship recipients’ submissions exemplify the level of enthusiasm and expertise Catherine Lalonde encouraged and inspired within our industry,” said Etienne Lalonde, CWC’s vice-president (VP) of market development. “Her legacy lives on. We are elated to celebrate and recognize future practitioners who share her passion for wood construction.”