Staff receive Dean's Awards for UBC Engineering contributions

Collage of Erin Fehr, Heather Gerrits, Renee Leboe and Erik Wilson, from left to right
The Dean's Staff Awards for Excellence recognize Applied Science staff members' exceptional contributions to the community.

Four staff members are being honoured with the 2022 Dean's Staff Awards for Excellence in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the Engineering community.

This year’s awards go to:

  • Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Impact: Erik Wilson, Mechanical Engineering
  • Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity (EDI.I): Renee Leboe, UBC Okanagan School of Engineering
  • Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Inclusive Leadership: Heather Gerrits, Mechanical Engineering
  • Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Student Engagement: Erin Fehr, Dean’s Office

Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Impact

2022 Dean's Staff Award for Excellence - Impact: Erik Wilson

Erik Wilson

Engineering Technician IV (Lab Technician), Mechanical Engineering

Erik Wilson makes an impact with a bang! And a thud! And with amazing design and implementation of technology to create exceptional laboratory experiences for our students: hands-on, practical and effective.

Since 2006, mechanical engineering lab technician extraordinaire Erik Wilson has transformed the mechanical engineering lab experience into excitement, efficiency and deep experiential learning. He also plays a crucial role in making the MECH 223 design competition a very popular annual event among students.

His boundless energy and careful consideration of how to constantly strive for better have made him an inspirational leader among technical staff. He also mentors and supports students closely, guiding with a light touch so they can refine their ideas and find solutions to their problems, with his advice being sought after by undergraduate and graduate students, engineering design teams, and facilities.

Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity

2022 Dean's Staff Award for Excellence - EDII: Renee Leboe

Renee Leboe

Manager, Engineering Academic Services, UBC Okanagan School of Engineering

Renee epitomizes every aspect of this award and never looks for recognition, always focusing on others and how she can help in a given situation. It is my hope that she receives recognition for all that she does for UBC and the community as a whole.

Renee Leboe plays a pivotal role leading and empowering front-line advising staff to enable, support and positively influence School of Engineering students, faculty and staff. She is respected within the School and beyond for her positive demeanour, wise guidance and commitment to the mental and physical wellbeing of others.

For more than a decade, she has served an integral leadership role in creating bridges between students, faculty and administration, doing so with a kindness and altruism that is remarkable. Her strong advocacy for under-represented groups within engineering has advanced progress in this area, including establishing a self-sustainable micro-forest on the UBC Okanagan campus (supported by the Indigenous Strategic Initiatives fund).

Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Inclusive Leadership

2022 Dean's Staff Award for Excellence - Inclusive Leadership: Heather Gerrits

Heather Gerrits

Manager, Student Services, Mechanical Engineering

There are leaders who inspire with a vision and dream; leaders who encourage, nurture, and grow the people around them; leaders who help their team achieve big goals and create connections. And then there are leaders who do it all – Heather is one.

Heather Gerrits personifies what a student service professional should be: a caring, compassionate, engaged and inclusive individual who serves students, faculty and staff by bridging barriers, enabling conversations, and leading initiatives that make her department, faculty and UBC a better place for all.

She and her team actively reach out to students who may be struggling, including a personal reach out to over 500 mechanical engineering undergraduate and graduate students during the pandemic. She is a tireless advocate for increased student support, and brings student and staff feedback to department leadership. Faculty and staff also connect with her to get support for difficult situations and best practices.

Dean’s Staff Award for Excellence – Student Engagement

2022 Dean's Staff Award for Excellence - Student Engagement: Erin Fehr

Erin Fehr

Student Recruitment Officer, Dean’s Office

Erin has become the face of UBC Engineering recruitment – literally current students – who if you try to introduce her – will say, ‘Oh, we know Erin. Erin is famous!’ due to their exposure to her efforts in their coming to UBC.

Since her initial position with Applied Science as the First-Year Engagement Officer, and now as Student Recruitment Officer, Erin Fehr excels at putting students first. Her understanding of and work to enhance the journey from prospective to current student has improved undergraduate students’ success and experience.

She has developed a deep understanding of the barriers that women, Indigenous and Black youth face to join engineering, and works extremely hard to increase diversity. She has broadened recruitment initiatives, including virtual and in-person engineering open houses on both UBC campuses, numerous information sessions, and new sessions for prospective women and Indigenous students considering UBC Engineering. Since she joined the team, the percentage of women applying to UBC Engineering has increased by over 60 per cent.

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