Advances in technology are happening at a pace right now many believe is beyond the capabilities of ethical and professional integrity standards to keep up.
But Dr. Halia Valladares Montemayor, the new dean of science and technology for Okanagan College, says while technology change is moving fast, with that change comes new career opportunities for post-secondary students.
“The reality for us all is it is here to stay but we are just at the beginning of understanding how it all will work,” said Valladares Montemayor.
“Technology advancement is moving fast but I think we as educators need to embrace it.”
She has been at the forefront of the technology industry in her own education and career pursuits.
Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Valladares Montemayor has found her place in an industry previously dominated by men, and along the way worked to enhance the bridge connection between technology growth and applying it to the business sector.
“When I started out 25 years ago in many of my jobs I was the only woman. I worked for a company where beyond the secretary I was the only female office staff, and there were only 12 women working on the plant manufacturing floor in a company of more than 400 people,” she recalled.
“I have seen a big change where women are getting the chance to contribute more to areas of science and technology and bringing with them different points of view.”
Valladares Montemayor has been active in leadership for both education and business-related rolls.
She is the managing partner of Global Trading & DS Inc. and is the Casa Mexico Foundation’s Vancouver director and vice president.
She has also served as a director on the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce board.
She earned her doctoral degree in economics and business administration from Burgos University, in Spain, and holds an MBA in International Trade and a Master of Science in International Logistics from Texas A&M International University.
She is also the former special projects advisor to the vice president, of academics at Capilano University in the Lower Mainland and former dean of the faculty of business and professional studies at the school.
Most recently, she was the academic dean at Quest University in Squamish, responsible for that school’s Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree program.
Valladares Montemayor has authored more than 20 research publications for journals, book chapters and books in multiple countries including Mexico, Spain, Canada and the U.S.
“I am excited to be joining Okanagan College,” she said. “This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the OC mission to transform lives and communities, and to inspire and empower students, staff and the community through science and technology.”
While the attention of late has been the artificial intelligence software development for researching and writing essays and the impact that presents on educating students, Valladares Montemayor says technology is advancing our thinking in so many other ways that are positive for our environment.
“The impact of climate change where we are seeing science research respond with new products, with new methods of sustainable agriculture,” she said.
“You see how the wine industry continues to grow and expand in the Okanagan because of how components of science have contributed to that industry.”
Water management and manufacturing are among other areas where science and technology advancement will have a significant impact.
She starts her new job July 4 and says her initial task will be to access the needs of her faculty and students moving forward.
“At the end of the day, our job is to inspire and transform our students’ lives to contribute to society,” she said.
“It is exciting to see what has already been done (at Okanagan College) and how we can continue to serve the greater community in the years to come.”