Meet Brenda Fung, Graduate Program Administrator, MIE

Brenda Fung, Graduate Program Administrator in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE), is very grateful to be at U of T. “Every day I get to work with people I can learn from,” she explains.

Brenda Fung, Graduate Program Administrator, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE)

Brenda Fung, Graduate Program Administrator, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE)

Learning opportunities come from all quarters. Brenda has taken advantage of the courses offered at the School of Continuing Studies, dabbling in conversational Japanese. As she reads about research conducted by MIE graduate students and faculty, she has also expanded her understanding of engineering’s impact on the world. Brenda recalls, “Before coming to U of T, I worked in the construction industry, where engineering was very practical—about building structures, and about design.” At MIE, she has been introduced to the vast implications that engineering has for various facets of human health. “It’s amazing,” she marvels.

Over the 30 years that she has been with the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (FASE)—25 of these as Graduate Program Administrator—Brenda has witnessed many changes. One of the more significant transformations occurred in the mid-1990s, when the two engineering departments merged into what’s now known as the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. With characteristic optimism, Brenda describes this as an exciting chance to engage with a larger administrative staff and student body, and to master a host of new administrative procedures. This evolution continues today, and Brenda is “happy to see the department growing.”

Brenda has amassed a formidable body of knowledge that she can draw upon whenever graduate students ask questions. You “build [knowledge] in your mind and in your heart,” she says, joking that she has literally “grown her own database” containing information about program requirements, deadlines for scholarships and fees, registration procedures, and other important administrative details.

“Brenda has answered every single question … She is always willing to help,” writes one international student who first sought Brenda’s expertise as an applicant to the program. Once students are admitted, Brenda encourages them to meet with her to walk through questions in person: that way, she can show them how to find the answers themselves.

Would she be as happy in the construction industry as she is at U of T? Brenda is confident that she made the right choice. And each day, she finds satisfaction in helping graduate students feel confident—and well-informed—about theirs, too.

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