Three UBC students named engineering ambassadors

CEMF award winners
Meghan Cooke, Stephanie Quon and Coralie Tcheune

Three UBC Engineering undergraduate students have received Ambassador Awards from the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF).

Each year, the CEMF selects several outstanding women from across Canada "to act as ambassadors for the engineering profession and to serve as role models for other young women."

Meghan Cooke, a fourth-year chemical and biological engineering student, received the Rona Hatt Engineering Award. Stephanie Quon, a fourth-year electrical engineering student, received the Dillon Award. And Coralie Tcheune, a fourth-year biomedical engineering student, received the Undergraduate Award – BC Region.

"Three winners [at one university] is exceptional, just like these young women," says Lynn Burgess, executive director of the CEMF, a not-for-profit organization formed in 1990 "to provide opportunities for Canadian women to become engineers."

Cooke was first inspired to pursue engineering while living with her family in Jakarta, Indonesia. There she learned first-hand about the daily struggles faced by billions of people worldwide, such as not having access to clean drinking water, and came to understand how engineers work to develop solutions to such global problems. Among many other roles at the university, she co-leads UBC Chem-E-Car, a student team that is designing a car powered entirely by chemical reactions, and is working to inspire other women to study engineering and join the profession.

Quon chose to study engineering out of a desire to impact society and "an interest in building things and understanding how things work." The recipient of numerous awards, she has been involved in several engineering outreach and advocacy initiatives at UBC. These include producing and promoting video content about STEM education and student life for the Engineering Stories at UBC YouTube channel, garnering over 50,000 views, and developing and delivering a workshop series to introduce female-identifying high school students to electrical engineering.

Tcheune, who is passionate about medical robotics and its potential to make medicine safer and more equitable, has also gained extensive experience in outreach, advocacy, mentorship, and engineering design and entrepreneurship. The multiple award-winning student's roles currently include co-captain of the UBC Biomedical Engineering Student Team and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Engineering Undergraduate Society, and her efforts to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM fields include hosting presentations and workshops at Science World's Girls and STEAM program and the 2019 Millennium STEMcon conference.

CEMF Ambassadors are chosen "based on their enthusiasm for engineering, their involvement in volunteer activities, leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills." Each ambassador is also required to deliver at least one presentation explaining why she chose to become an engineer to an audience of junior high or high school students.

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