UBC Mechanical Engineering women were honoured with two of the eleven awards bestowed at the second annual Wendy McDonald Awards ceremony sponsored by the Vancouver Board of Trade. Dr. Elizabeth Croft, Mechanical Engineering professor and APSC Associate Dean of Education & Professional Development, received the 2016 Wendy McDonald Award in the category of Diversity Champion, and Andrea Palmer (BASc ‘15, Mechanical Engineering) received an award in the Women of Promise category.
Professor Croft served as the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (BC/Yukon), establishing a region-wide network (WWEST) and a biannual conference series (Creating Connections) to promote women in STEM. As a member of various taskforces she made recommendations to companies and regulatory bodies on how they can create more welcoming workplaces.
During Professor Croft’s tenure as NSERC Chair, UBC saw a 60 per cent increase in the number of women enrolled in first year engineering, from 18 to 30 per cent, and UBC Applied Science announced its goal of having 50 per cent women enrolled in engineering programs within five years.
UBC Engineering graduate Andrea Palmer, an engineer-entrepreneur who minored in business, is the founder of Awake Labs, an autism health company, which has developed a sensory device called Reveal that uses a child’s heartrate, skin temperature and perspiration level to predict an impending meltdown, giving the caregiver time to intervene.
The Wendy McDonald awards are presented by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in honour of the late Wendy McDonald, a Canadian business icon who served as the first female Chair of The Vancouver Board of Trade in 1990. A trailblazer for women in leadership, McDonald was president of BC Bearing Engineers Ltd. and her leadership made the company an international competitor in a male-dominated industry.