Jennifer Jakobi is an associate professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. photo:submitted

UBC Okanagan professor tasked with increasing diversity in science

Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology names new associate chair

UBC’s Okanagan campus announced today that Jennifer Jakobi, associate professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, has been named the newest associate chair of Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WWEST).

Jakobi will head the new satellite program, which will be tasked with improving participation of women and other underrepresented groups in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in the Okanagan.

WWEST is the operating name for the 2015 to 2020 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE), British Columbia and Yukon Region, based at Simon Fraser University and currently held by Lesley Shannon.

Jakobi, a professor of neuromuscular and exercise physiology, says that her role will be to further WWEST’s mission to promote awareness and engage students, industry, and the wider community in understanding the value of diversity in the STEM fields.

RELATED: Province announces 74 new French teaching spots at SFU, UBC

“There are already dozens of programs and initiatives at UBC Okanagan doing incredible STEM outreach and I hope to build on that solid foundation,” said Jakobi. “I may be based at UBCO but I very much see myself as an advocate and resource for the entire Okanagan; bringing together scientists, educators and industry professionals to achieve real progress in how we support and advance diversity in STEM.”

According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, 66 per cent of university graduates aged 25 to 34 from non-STEM programs were women; this dropped to 39 per cent for STEM degrees.

While it may be tempting to jump right in with solutions, Jakobi says her first priority is to listen and engage with the community.

RELATED: Cornel West to speak at UBC Okanagan campus

“I want to be thoughtful about how we tackle this challenge and I want to create opportunities that respond directly to the needs of the Okanagan,” Jakobi said. “I’ll spend the next few weeks connecting with those who are already working in this area and host community dialogues to help define what diversity in STEM means to people in industry in our region.”

WWEST created the Associate Chairs program to expand its impact beyond lower mainland BC. Up to three satellite programs will be established at NSERC-eligible institutions in BC and Yukon. The associate chair is a one-year term with an option for renewal.

Shannon hopes this new role will be a hub for the promotion of diversity in STEM throughout the region and sees Jakobi being strongly connected to the other WWEST Associate Chairs.

“Jennifer is a gifted scientist in her own right and her passion for improving diversity in STEM will mesh perfectly with the mandate of WWEST,” said Shannon. “I am thrilled that she’s a part of the team.”

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Federal candidates meet at riding boundary in Kelowna

They’re hoping to encourage people to vote by informing people where they’re meant to vote

Kelowna Rockets GM anxious for season’s start

Big off-season changes, the Memorial Cup; it’s all coming together for Bruce Hamilton

$13 million Kelowna cannabis facility deal terminated

GTEC Holdings did not give a reason for the purchase’s cancellation

West Kelowna motorcyclist awarded $132K for traffic accident

Supreme Court of British Columbia finds pickup driver liable for motorcylist’s injuries

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

South Okanagan man suing library for almost $20K has to settle for less

A man was suing the City of Penticton Library for almost $20,000 after his backpack was stolen

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

Vernon race organizer head-butted by homeless man won’t be stopped

Man arrested after allegedly stealing race flags, assaulting woman in Kalamalka Lake park

Penticton man with multiple driving infractions loses appeal on ‘harsh’ sentence

Driver has been convicted multiple times, including for criminal negligence causing death

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

Most Read