UBCO engineering graduate and member of the Penticton Indian Band Shay Dekock-Kruger is now an Engineer-in-Training at BC Hydro. - Credit: Contributed

Aboriginal engineering graduate shares success story

Kelowna - UBCO’s Shaylene Dekock-Kruger, from the Penticton Indian Band, is working for BC Hydro

One member of the Penticton Indian Band is inspiring others in her community with her career choice.

Shaylene Dekock-Kruger graduated from UBCO’s electrical engineering program in April and is employed at BC Hydro as an engineer-in-training.

She started in the sciences five years ago at the university with a goal to help her community, but she didn’t enjoy her biology classes and drifted towards physics, chemistry and calculus.

“I’d meet engineers on campus and I knew friends who were engineers. After talking to them about it I thought that was more suitable to me,” said Dekock-Kruger. “With the sciences, originally I wanted to bring that to my community… but I kind of had to follow my heart.”

Related: Bone graphs created with UBCO 3D printer

So, she found a way to inspire her community in another way. Her family has been a huge support and knew she had a technical mind, she said. She has three younger brothers and an older sister. “I come from a pretty big family,” she said.

Last summer, Dekock-Kruger held an optics workshop at the Outma Sqilx’W Cultural School on the Penticton Indian Reserve, to allow students to gain an understanding of what engineering is. She also invited her two younger brothers to attend.

“It was kind of crazy because even after hosting that workshop and giving (my brothers) a bit of a taste of what engineering is. Now they want to be engineers or something similar. It was really nice to see that, if I can spread a little bit of inspiration.”

Related: UBCO study says men stronger, women last longer

At UBCO, she received lots of hands-on experience and, during her fourth year, she volunteered at the aboriginal centre tutoring engineering students. At BC Hydro, she said there are projects she hopes to pursue with First Nations communities and wants to be a mentor to kids in her community.

Jonathan Holzman was Dekock-Kruger’s professor at UBCO and worked with her on the optics workshop which ran through his Integrated Optics Laboratory.

“She’s done a lot of work with engagement… she’s been heavily involved with bridging that to some aboriginal communities around here,” he said.

Holzman said she also helped develop a measurement tool which is being proposed to help with future forms of cancer detection.

Dekock-Kruger had a curious mind, which made her stand out. Holzman said she asked questions after class and was interested in the topics presented and in sharing ideas to younger students.

“She was keen to know some of the deeper topics in class… whenever I see that glint in their eye, I usually try to get them involved with research in my lab,” said Holzman.

She was also awarded an aboriginal scholarship from BC Hydro which she said made her more determined. After writing her final exams in April, she started working in Burnaby in June.

As an engineer-in-training she is gaining experience in different departments and is working to replace old equipment.

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Lake Country couple to be recognized with heritage award

James, Anita Baker will receive the Central Okanagan Heritage Society’s Distinguished Service Award

Flipped car snarls Kelowna rush hour traffic

North-bound traffic on Highway 97 backed up Monday afternoon

Suspect in West Kelowna home break-ins apprehended

Police say 31-year-old West Kelowna man is in custody and is also wanted on Canada-wide warrants

UPDATE: Kelowna snowboarder being mourned at Big White

He was a local snowboarder, who went to Rutland high school.

Hope raises thousands for two Kelowna charities

The event Hope in Her Eyes managed to raise more than $17,000 for two Kelowna non-profits

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

NDP Health Minister calls to offer woman seat on Interior Health Board

Joyce Beddow-Buckland of Ashcroft was surprised by the call, and accepted the offer.

No decision yet from Sagmoen bail hearing

Provincial court judge is expected to decide next week if Silver Creek man to remain in custody

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Vagina Monologues hits the Kelowna stage this week

Okanagan production set to target a hot topic: vaginas

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

Most Read