Professor Alison Olechowski

Assistant Professor
Dean’s Spark Professor
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead)

Alison Olechowski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) at the University of Toronto. Dr. Olechowski and her team study the processes and tools that teams of engineers use in industry as they design innovative new products. She has studied engineering products and projects in the automotive, electronics, aerospace, medical device and oil & gas industries.

Dr. Olechowski completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her doctoral research involved the study of technology development in complex product and systems engineering with her advisor Prof. Steven Eppinger (MIT Sloan School of Management) and collaborator Prof. Nitin Joglekar (BU School of Management).

Dr. Olechowski received her master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, advised by Prof. Warren Seering. Her master’s research focused on product development processes, particularly investigating uncertainty and risk in engineering design. She received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Dr. Olechowski is the proud faculty advisor for the Spark Design Club.

James Chen

A first year MASc student (at Ready Lab). He recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a BASc in Mechanical Engineering. He worked at Zebra Technologies as a mechanical engineering intern during undergrad, where he gained valuable experience in product design and handheld electronics manufacturing. He is a big car enthusiast, and likely spends too much time reading and learning about automobiles.

Safa Faidi

Safa Faidi is a MASc student at Ready Lab at the University of Toronto. She holds a BEng in Biomedical Engineering from Ryerson University. Before returning for her MASc, Safa gained industry experience working at a medical device company and later at a software testing startup. Safa is interested in product development and product management.

Vrushank Phadnis

A PhD candidate in the mechanical engineering department at MIT. Vrushank spent a year as a visiting researcher at Ready Lab, working on his doctoral project looking at design affordances of multi-user CAD systems. His academic and professional experience is in the general area of Engineering design and Manufacturing operations.

Janice Zhou

Janice Zhou is a 4th year Mechanical Engineering student who completed her undergraduate thesis with Prof. Olechowski. Janice worked during her Professional Experience Year at a toy company called Spin Master as a Product Development Engineer. She is the Co-President of Spark Design Club, an engineering student club that creates electro-mechanical interactive displays. She plans to pursue a Master’s Degree after graduation.

Kevin Leonardo

Kevin Leonardo is a MASc student at Ready Lab at the University of Toronto. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in June 2018. Before starting his MASc, he worked at Boxaroo, a live events company located in Boston. There he helped fabricate and design puzzles for their newest escape room. With a passion for toys and user experience, Kevin hopes to use his product design skills to enhance the user experience behind his designs.

Hamza Arshad

Hamza Arshad is a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student working on the collaborative CAD project at Ready Lab. He also works with University of Toronto Aerospace Team’s Space Systems team on their Heron Mk. II satellite. He plans to pursue a career in the aerospace industry.

Meaghan Vella

Meaghan is a 4th year Industrial Engineering student at the University of Toronto who is completing her undergraduate thesis. She completed her internship year at Scotiabank and has studied abroad in Sweden and South Africa. She is interested in technology and human factors.

Lauren Adolphe

Lauren recently graduated from Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, specializing in Robotics. During her degree, she acquired work experience across different industries, from fintech startup to global consulting. Lauren spent her Professional Experience Year at Tesla in Palo Alto, as an Engineering Intern working on factory robotics and vehicle electronics. Throughout her undergrad, she was an executive team member of the U of T Aerospace Team and student mentor for Girls’ Leadership in Engineering Experience. Inspired by her academic and professional pursuits, Lauren’s thesis with Prof. Olechowski focused on virtual team communications in engineering design.

Arash Nourimand

Arash recently graduated from Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto. During his degree, he engaged in different professional roles spanning a diverse set of industries and geographies. He was involved in the U of T community as the Co-Executive Director of the Volunteer Engineering Experience Program, a member of the U of T Aerospace Team, and as a part of the ILead student team. Arash’s undergrad thesis focused on how different engineering demographics and organizations use technology, both to enhance their product development processes and improve end-product value.

Kimberly Lai

Kimberly recently graduated from Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, specialising in Aerospace. She spent her Professional Experience Year at Safran Landing Systems as a Systems Architect, working on implementing and deploying a model-based systems engineering (MBSE) approach for engineering activities within the company. As a continuation of her work with Safran, Kimberly’s thesis with Prof. Olechowski focused on integrating safety analysis activities into MBSE for aircraft systems. When she’s not working or studying, you’ll mostly likely find her outdoors or on a tennis court!

Lab Alumni

Zeping Sun

Zeping Sun was a 4th year mechanical engineering student at the University of Toronto who completed his undergraduate thesis with Prof. Olechowski. Zeping is passionate about systems engineering and space exploration. He’s previously conducted research in rocket propulsion (German Aerospace Center), fluid-structure interaction simulations (Defence R&D Canada), and fluid physics (University of Waterloo). Additionally, he’s played various roles in the University of Toronto Aerospace Team’s Rocketry Division, one such role was Chief Engineer which drew him to systems engineering.