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Graduate Student Profiles

The profile below was taken from the October 2008 Engineering e-letter from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto.

lorna wong

Lorna Wong

Hon BSc, University of Toronto, 2003
MEng, University of Toronto, 2007
PhD Candidate, University of Toronto


  • Co-president of Association of Mechanical & Industrial Graduate Students (AMIGAS)  
  • Led AMIGAS in organizing social, professional, and leadership development events

Describe your research.

My research is in the area of maintenance optimization for repairable systems, a specialized branch of operations research. I am working on developing a model for expensive and complex systems that are subject to repair and condition monitoring. Repair and condition monitoring information can be used to develop a statistical model to provide an assessment of the system's health and predict its remaining useful life. Our group has an industry consortium consisting of 12 Canadian and international organizations—we work closely with these companies to ensure our research is practical and applicable to real-life problems.

Why did you choose U of T for your Engineering graduate studies?

MEng: I first became interested in Industrial Engineering when I began working as the Graduate Program Assistant in MIE. I did mathematics in my undergrad and became interested in some of the graduate courses offered in MIE. My work supervisor suggested that I take those courses as part of the MEng program part-time while working. I realized that a Master's degree in Engineering from U of T would broaden my skills, and help me find a job in a field I hadn't previously considered.  

PhD: As part of my Master's, I decided to do a research project in the Centre for Maintenance Optimization and Reliability Engineering as I knew this would also help me making connections in finding an Engineering position; however, at the end of the project, Professor Jardine offered me a position as a PhD student. I carefully looked over all the options and basically came to the conclusion that the best path was:

What are your plans for after graduation?

I'm not totally sure what my plans are—they've changed since I finished my Master's and started my PhD. I thought I would just get a job in the industry (Maintenance Engineering) after graduating from the MEng program; however, as I've started my PhD, I've become more aware and open to the opportunities that will be available after my PhD.  These include working in the Maintenance Engineering industry and teaching (both with or without research). I'm still leaning towards a job in the industry, but as my PhD progresses, I may change my mind.