Robotics Leadership Program awarded U of T Excellence Through Innovation Award

The Robotics Institute’s Hallie Siegel, managing director, strategy and partnerships, and Kimberly Colburn, former program manager, have been recognized with a 2023-24 University of Toronto Excellence Through Innovation Award (ETIA) for their design and delivery of the Robotics Leadership Program (RLP).

Launched in 2022 by Siegel and Colburn together with the Robotics Institute Outreach Committee, RLP is the first graduate training program of its kind in Canada. The program is tailored to meet the unique needs of robotics graduate students by complementing their technical studies with skills development in communication, EDI literacy and outreach. By design, the program empowers trainees to navigate and answer big social questions through a combination of values-driven workshops, global skills training, mentorship, hands-on service-learning and student-led community projects.

The program was recognized with an ETIA for mentoring and training future robotics leaders by developing the ambassadorial skills of graduate students.

“Hallie and Kimberly’s leadership in launching and running the program are models of what we want more of at the University of Toronto: dedication to innovation, excellence and student success,” says Eric Diller, chair, Robotics Institute Outreach Committee. “RLP is the kind of meaningful student training our graduate students will take with them throughout their career. It is truly creating the next generation of robotics leaders.”

A special thanks to the members of the Robotics Institute Outreach Committee for their ongoing dedication to the program, Eric Diller, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs, Jonathan Kelly and Maria Yablonina, and to Magna International for its generous support of the program.

Established in 2005, the ETIA program recognizes exemplary administrative staff and librarians across the tri-campus community. The ETIA program acknowledges and celebrates ‘above-and-beyond’ contributions towards the University’s mission as one of the world’s foremost research-intensive universities.