UBC mechanical engineering graduate named 2024 Rhodes Scholar

Phoebe Cheung
Phoebe Cheung, a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of British Columbia, is one of eleven Rhodes Scholarship recipients for Canada and the only recipient for BC.

Phoebe Cheung, a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of British Columbia, has been awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for this year.

One of eleven recipients for Canada, and the only recipient for BC, Cheung will head to the University of Oxford in October 2024 to pursue a fully funded DPhil in engineering science, with a focus on biomedical engineering and assistive technologies. 

“I want to develop effective and affordable medical devices, using my engineering skills to make a global impact in healthcare and improve patients’ lives,” said Cheung, who graduated from UBC mechanical engineering in the biomechanics and medical devices option this May. 

“Receiving the Rhodes Scholarship means so much to me — not only will I be conducting research at a world-renowned university, I will also engage in insightful and deep conversations with fellow scholars to uncover different perspectives to humanity’s pressing challenges.”

While at UBC, Cheung was a dedicated member of the UBC AeroDesign engineering design team throughout her degree, including serving as team captain for two years. 

“One of my favourite memories on the team was attending my first test flight. It was a very rewarding experience to watch the plane take flight after all the hours we had put into designing and building the aircraft.”

Having attended various UBC engineering outreach events throughout high school, Cheung also wanted to give back to the community. She signed up as an instructor for Geering Up Engineering Outreach clubs and camps to make science, engineering and technology fun for BC youth, particularly those who are underrepresented in STEM.

When asked about what she would say to girls or other groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering, Cheung said, “Don’t be afraid to explore what’s out there. Take the chance to learn about something new before deciding whether you like it. Join that STEM club or attend that engineering outreach event. 

“You’ll never know — it might ignite that passion in you to pursue a career in engineering, just like it did for me.”

Named an Applied Science Rising Star this year, Cheung currently works as a mechanical manufacturing engineer. She also continues to be involved with the UBC Micro-Electromechanical Systems Lab and assists in the development of novel technology in the field of soft robotics.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the world’s preeminent and oldest graduate fellowship, based at the University of Oxford since 1903. The selection process aims to choose young people with proven academic excellence who also show exceptional character, leadership, the energy to use their talents to the full and a commitment to solving humanity’s challenges.

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