President Of Women In Engineering Wants To Make Engineering More Inclusive

"At UBC there are so many opportunities to explore your interests and try new things."

Stephanie Quon

Stephanie Quon

Why did you want to study engineering?

In high school I enjoyed my science and math courses and was inclined to pick something STEM related. And there was also my family connection, with my dad being an electrical engineer and my sister studying engineering.

I think what really motivated me when I was considering what I’d like to study in university was my desire to understand how things work. 

There were some engineering projects that I’d learned about – like the International Space Station – that I found really inspiring. I thought it would be so cool to be able to learn the skills to contribute to something like that.  

Learn more about the skills

How did you decide on UBC?

I applied to engineering programs across Canada, and there were a few things that stood out UBC. First, it was close to home and that was important to me. I also liked that it had a general first year program, as I wasn’t sure which type of engineering I wanted to study. And I also really liked the campus. I thought UBC had a great program with a lot of unique opportunities for student involvement.

Foundation year

How did you choose Electrical Engineering? 

I chose electrical engineering with a biomedical engineering option. I wanted to learn about technology and electronics. And in terms of the biomedical specialization, I’d worked on an assisted device project in first year that I really enjoyed, and I knew that BioMed was a bit more down that path. I’d also heard great things about the program.

Electrical engineering  Biomedical engineering option

What are some of the highlights of your university education so far?

Two that immediately come to mind are design projects. I did a capstone project last year with BC Children’s Hospital where we worked with a research lab to develop a web application. A clinic at the hospital had a very long wait list, and they wanted a tool to help them visualize their data so that they could make better decisions about triaging. The other project was designing a robotic arm for a third-year course. 

It was so cool going from something that initially seemed insurmountable to actually creating a functioning robot.

Design projects

Tell us about your co-op and internship experiences.

I did the co-op program for one term, and while it was a positive experience, I decided I’d prefer to have more flexibility and do some internships on my own. I worked as a software engineering intern at Microsoft, a summer analyst at Goldman Sachs and as a biomedical engineering intern at the medical device company Medtronic. These were all very unique learning experiences where I felt like I really got to apply things I’d learned in class.

Co-op   Microsoft  Goldman Sachs 


Did these experiences give you insight into where you’d like to take your career?

That’s definitely something I’m still trying to figure out. 

I think I’m most interested in doing something biomedical engineering related or in the area of sustainable or renewable energy. 

What I realized from my internship experiences is that I really value work that has a positive impact on society, such as working in renewable energy to make the world more sustainable. I’d also really value contributing to making engineering more inclusive.

You’ve also been involved with Women in Engineering. Tell us about that!

I joined Women in Engineering in first year as a committee member, was on the executive for two years and have been president for two years. One of the big events that we organize is the Women in Science and Engineering Annual Networking Event. I had attended the event in first year when I was questioning whether I belonged in engineering, and I’m so glad I did. It was so inspiring and empowering to be surrounded by so many incredible women doing amazing things. Two years later, I was the one organizing the event.

Women in Engineering 

What’s next?

I’m about to graduate, so my main priority right now is finding a job!

Why Engineering is a rewarding career

Do you have any advice for students considering engineering?

That’s a good question. For myself, going into engineering I think I was a bit unsure if it was the right path, but what I found is that at UBC there are so many opportunities to explore your interests and try new things. If you’re unsure about what your interests are, there will be opportunities for you to figure things out. And for young women who are considering engineering, I think the advice I’d give to my younger self is that you don’t need to change – you can just be yourself. 

In the beginning I sometimes doubted my abilities, but I’d want young women to know that there’s strength in bringing diversity and different experiences to engineering. 

Electrical engineering student working on her circuit board

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers impact almost every aspect of our lives. They make essential medical equipment, design wireless communications networks, predict earthquakes, and invent new ways to generate and conserve energy.

Electrical Engineering

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