Cynthia Goh wins Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award

April 16, 2021 by Chemistry at U of T

Professor Cynthia Goh has been named winner of the 2021 Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award.

A pioneer in the training of student-entrepreneurs, Goh is an inspiring educator, innovator and mentor who has led the creation of U of T’s ecosystem of experiential learning for the benefit of thousands of undergraduate and graduate students.

For example, in 2003, Goh launched Entrepreneurship 101, a non-credit series for science students; the first day attracted more than 90 students. The following year, Goh partnered with MaRS; opening day was attended by more than 400 students. This flagship program registers 20,000 people each year, including members of the general public.

Goh also created Techno, one of Canada’s first entrepreneurship programs, which has nucleated the formation of more than 160 science-based startups.

Professor of physical chemistry and chemical biophysics, Goh is herself co-founder of several successful startups with her students, including Axela Biosensors Inc. and Vive Crop Protection. She has developed new academic curricula on innovation and entrepreneurship, and has personally mentored more than 200 student-entrepreneurs. She also co-founded the charity Pueblo Science to reduce poverty by advancing science education.

Goh was the inaugural academic director of U of T Entrepreneurship, as well as founder of U of T’s Impact Centre, a campus-based accelerator for science-based startups.

Most recently, Goh has responded to the new landscape of teaching during COVID, providing innovative at-home learning experiences for undergraduate students. Students of CHM327 participated in a 5-week session, called “Discovery Labs”, where they were able to design and conduct projects in Physical Chemistry right from their own home.

Students had to figure out how to work as a team without physically being together. Teams explored areas such as air quality inside cars, thermal conductivity, water distribution in soil, among other topics. They presented their findings to fellow students and faculty at the end of the project, all completely online.

Goh's many honours include the U of T Invention of the Year Award in 2016 for Phantin, a self-cleaning technology for solar panels, and the UTAA Faculty Award in 2011.

Colleagues and alumni describe Goh as a champion of the student experience, an inspirational educator and a generous mentor, whose seminal work has forged a thriving entrepreneurial culture within the University and beyond.

Goh joins Professor (2014) as recipients of this award from the Department of Chemistry.