Two UBC engineering graduates tackling equity locally and globally

Headshots of Dr. Pranav Shrestha and Coralie Tcheune
These graduates' efforts to build more inclusive places and solutions for people are improving lives around the world.

A new generation of engineers are graduating from UBC this week. 

Over 1,800 Faculty of Applied Science graduands will be crossing the stage today through Friday, as they step into the next stage of their lives, ready to apply their hard-earned expertise to their chosen professions.

Here are two of these graduating students, whose efforts to build more inclusive places and solutions for people are improving lives around the world.


Dr. Pranav Shrestha, Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Headshot of Dr. Pranav Shrestha
Dr. Pranav Shrestha, Mechanical Engineering graduate.

Dr. Pranav Shrestha, who grew up in Nepal, seeks to understand first-hand the challenges facing people in rural and resource-constrained communities.

One of these is sickle cell disease, the most commonly inherited blood disorder, which disproportionately affects people in low and middle-income countries. Early screening and treatment are vital to improve the quality of life of patients, but can be difficult to obtain in communities that lack access to health care resources and diagnostic tools.

"Growing up in Nepal, then getting a chance to work with global experts to bring innovative technologies back to Nepal, was an absolutely rewarding full-circle moment for me," said Shrestha. "I believe researchers and organizations have a moral duty to ensure that innovations — especially related to health care — are accessible to communities in need to address the disparities in technology dissemination. Fortunately, there are many that are motivated to join such efforts."

To create a solution for communities with low resources, during his degree, Shrestha led a multi-disciplinary study involving members from Canada, the US and Nepal. Using microscopy and machine learning, he developed an innovative diagnostic tool as a suitable low-cost option, while additionally testing existing low-cost options to determine their viability in resource-constrained settings.

Pranav’s drive toward equitable access to health care and his ability to engage with a complex team spanning multiple countries is an incredible accomplishment, which he contributes in part to his connections made while at UBC.


Coralie Tcheune, Bachelor of Applied Science, School of Biomedical Engineering

Headshot of Coralie Tcheune
Coralie Tcheune, Biomedical Engineering graduate.

Coralie Tcheune’s interest in engineering began at a young age, spurred by natural childhood curiosity. She said, "I was a tiny menace who would rip apart anything I could get my hands on to figure out how it worked."

Her next building block of support came from her parents, both of whom hold degrees in STEM. Her mother earned a degree in Computer Science, which was virtually unheard of for women in Cameroon. Tcheune always has her mother’s experience to lean on when she encounters the challenges of being a Black woman in engineering.

In addition to excellent academic performance, Tcheune’s involvement at UBC has been widespread. She has been a member of UBC’s Black Student Union, a co-chair for the Engineering Undergraduate Society’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Indigeneity (EDI.I) Committee, and a Women in Engineering mentor, highlighting her dedication to supporting equity and diversity at UBC as an undergrad.

For her dedication and commitment to EDI.I, Tcheune is receiving this year’s Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. The medal recognizes students who excel in their studies and contribute to the life of their institution or community. She was presented the award during her Spring 2024 Graduation ceremony today.

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