Community Stories

Learn more about your colleagues — both at UBC and outside of their working lives.

Have a story to share? Submit it via this form.

30-Second Bio: Shireen McCormick

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC. Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Shireen McCormick

Title: Manager, HR and Administration

Department/Unit: Animal Care Services

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 1995

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Provide HR and administrative support within my department

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30-Second Bio: Kyle Demes

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Name: Kyle Demes

Title: Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives

Department/Unit: Vice-President Research and Innovation Office

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2010

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I support the evolving needs of UBC's research community

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I get to work with some of the smartest people (faculty and staff) in the world to help advance the frontiers of knowledge and create a better world. I can't imagine a more energizing mission. I especially enjoy working with scholars across all disciplines - research looks very different to scholars in health, sciences, and performing and creative arts, but the need for support is universal

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: Rose Garden picnic in the spring/summer and the Nest during the grey months

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: UBC is massive and it is very easy to work in silos. Get to know as much of the UBC community as you can through formal and informal UBC networking events. You will find some very cool/interesting/helpful people in buildings next door to yours that you may otherwise never meet

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

30-Second Bio: Alison Conway

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Name: Alison Conway

Title: Professor

Department/Unit: Faculty of Critical and Creative Studies, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences

Location: Okanagan

Year I started working at UBC: 2018

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I teach English, and Gender and Women's Studies at UBC Okanagan

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: Engaging students in conversation about important challenges facing us today

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: I love to find the food truck on campus

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Develop strong networks of support inside and outside of the university

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

Man with a plan: UBC’s landscape architect

Walking around UBC’s Vancouver campus with Dean Gregory is an eye-opening experience. The university’s Landscape Architect since 2009, Dean has overseen some dramatic – and some subtle – changes to the campus that impact the way students, faculty, staff and residents interact with the university environment every day.

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30-Second Bio: Stephanie Savage

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Name: Stephanie Savage

Title: Scholarly Communications and Copyright Services Librarian

Department/Unit: UBC Library

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2017

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I help the UBC community make sense of copyright and scholarly publishing.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I get to work with people all over the university. One day I might be explaining the complexities of our scholarly publishing system to a group of Mechanical Engineering students and the next I'm attending a departmental meeting in the Faculty of Education discussing the success of Open Access initiatives.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: The newly renovated gardens beside the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. It gives me amphitheatre vibes and I keep hoping UBC Music will host a noon hour concert there *hint hint*.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: UBC is a big place with a lot going on. Make the time to attend a few of the amazing campus events available to you (events.ubc.ca is a good place to start) and get to know people who work in different parts of the university. We are lucky to work with some of the smartest people in the world. Don't miss the opportunity to learn from them.

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

Vocal champion

Dr. Amanda Hu aims to spread the word about taking action for good vocal habits.

Unless you’re a singer or actor, you’re not likely to think twice about cheering on your favourite sports team or chatting with friends at a noisy restaurant. But according to UBC Clinical Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, laryngologist Dr. Amanda Hu, professional voice users include teachers, lecturers and professors—and they, too, should be mindful of straining their delicate vocal cords.

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30-Second Bio: Tim Inglis

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC. Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Tim Inglis

Title: Professor

Department/Unit: School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 1996

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Researcher and educator; I study balance and locomotion in humans.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: As a researcher with an active research program, I can bring work from my area into the classroom to educate our students on current work in the area of human movement control, as well as train new graduate students in the laboratory in advanced research skills.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: Discussing research with graduates over a sandwich, preferably outside in the sun!

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Take responsibility for your own actions, and try your best to have a great time doing whatever it is you have to or want to do.

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

Prevention, training and support: Fighting sexual violence at UBC

If anyone at UBC has had to hit the ground running, it’s Sonya Boyce and Shilo St. Cyr. Not only are they just six months into their respective roles as directors of the new Vancouver and Okanagan Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Offices, but they are building a team of staff, working on training and awareness campaigns, and providing supports and referrals to students, staff and faculty affected by sexual violence.

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Cultivating fairness in our community

Shirley works to help ensure that students are treated fairly and feel supported during their time at UBC.

With a foundation in law, and a staunch belief in human rights, Shirley Nakata, UBC’s first Ombudsperson for Students, is advocating for the student voice, and encouraging us to broaden our understanding of the concept of ‘fairness’ as we know it.

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30-Second Bio: Maria Gallo

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC. Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Maria Gallo

Title: Senior Instructor

Department/Unit: School of Kinesiology

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2009

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Instruct undergrads in the area of exercise science and graduates in coaching

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: Influencing young minds to reach their potential

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: At the gym or walking my dogs

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Go outside if sunny, do work on rainy days

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

30-Second Bio: Diana Jung

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC. Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Diana Jung

Title: Health Promotion Specialist

Department/Unit: Health Promotion and Education, Student Development and Services

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2014

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Consult, collaborate, coordinate; faculty & staff engagement; wellbeing in learning environments

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: My work is driven by my passion for taking a strength-based approach and systems perspective to understanding student mental health and wellbeing. I’m excited to learn about the ways faculty from across disciplines work to enhance the mental health, learning, and overall experiences of students inside and outside the classroom.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: My lunch hours are best spent with others, whether it is with colleagues, old friends, or former students. In terms of where, I’m particularly fond of the Ideas Lounge for lunch (you can never have enough bread) or Uppercase for coffee (and a blue chip cookie)!

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: UBC is a large and complex place to work and as an employee, you only see a sliver of it. It can be really helpful to make connections outside your direct collegial networks and gain different perspectives on the work you do.

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

30-Second Bio: Bud Mortenson

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC. Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Bud Mortenson

Title: Director

Department/Unit: University Relations

Location: Okanagan

Year I started working at UBC: 2005

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Oversee communications, public affairs, ceremonies and community engagement offices.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I get to work with talented people who are passionate about advancing the university toward its goals, making a difference in the lives of our students and in our communities. We work on interesting, high-impact projects and engage with great partners at UBC and in the wider community.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: I enjoy spending a lunch hour outside during the Okanagan’s warm months, or in one of the employee lounges near our department. It’s social time with teammates, but the conversation always seems to end up solving challenging problems or producing new ideas.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Get involved. There’s no better way to meet people than volunteering or taking part in the many activities at UBC. Help out with the United Way campaign or at Thrive events, for example. We advise students to get involved and take advantage of all UBC has to offer; the same applies to those of us working at UBC – you’ll get to know your colleagues and make a difference in the community.

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

Taryn Cigagna goes global

Taryn helps connect students to opportunities and programs in international partner schools.

If there were ever a job custom-fit for an individual, it’s Taryn Cigagna’s role at UBC’s Go Global. While hopping on long-distance flights and hitting the ground running might not be everyone’s idea of an ideal work week, it’s a dream come true for the Associate Director of UBC’s Go Global international learning program.

“I work with outbound exchange, and my regional portfolio includes the UK, Ireland, North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa,” Taryn explains in a lively chat at International House on West Mall, which houses her office. “I work primarily on helping students find interesting experiences in partner schools that will fit with their degree. I do about two big trips a year, whether it be to conferences or partner visits.”

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The value of engagement: An interview with Darren Dahl

Darren believes student engagement should be the number one priority in every classroom.

Darren Dahl, Senior Associate Dean of Faculties and Director of the Graduate School at the Sauder School of Business, works with faculty in the hiring, development, and tenure process for research faculty and also supervises 36 staff. Here, he shares his perspective on why workplace engagement matters.

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Fighting the good fight

Aftab’s role is to increase capacity for productive conflict engagement on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.

When it comes to conflict, most people try to avoid it. But Aftab Erfan, UBC’s first Director of Dialogue and Conflict Engagement in the Equity & Inclusion Office, views it as an opportunity for growth and change.

“I define conflict as a difference that matters enough to mobilize our emotional resources,” she explains. “As our community becomes more diverse and we increasingly recognize our differences, you might actually expect conflict to become more prevalent—and the creation of my position at UBC is an acknowledgement that this is not a problem. In fact, if we can engage with it, conflict can be kind of a doorway to learning and transformation.” (more…)

Perfect synchronization – at work and on the water

John Metras is responsible for the planning and development of institutional facilities at UBC Vancouver

You may have noticed in your workspace, a small black garbage container that hangs off the side of your blue recycling bin.

This desk-side recycling program was one of the first initiatives John Metras worked on at the Vancouver campus in the early 90s. As the Managing Director of Infrastructure Development in the VP Finance and Operations Portfolio, John has always been interested in sustainability. (more…)

30-Second Bio: Joseph Ferguson

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC. Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Joseph Ferguson

Title: Financial Analyst

Department/Unit: Finance

Location: Okanagan

Year I started working at UBC: 2009

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I provide information and evidence to support informed decision-making.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: My role affords me the opportunity to work with individuals from across the entire organization and UBC system. I provide information and analysis about our students, faculty, staff, and other institutional measures to support informed decision-making. These relationships are, without question, the best thing about my role. I also get to work with my alma mater (BMgt, Hons. 2009)!

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: If I'm not shredding at spin and sculpt class, chances are you'll find me outside basking in the heat (if it's summer).

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Take advantage of opportunities to connect with your colleagues. It can be easy to stick to what you know and the people you always work with, but the best connections are the ones that you might make with people you wouldn't necessarily work with!

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

30-Second Bio: Andrea Bundon

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC. Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Andrea Bundon

Title: Assistant Professor

Department/Unit: School of Kinesiology

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2016

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I research and teach social inclusion in and through sport.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: Being surrounded by smart, creative people and having the ability to pursue projects and ideas that I’m passionate about.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: I usually eat lunch on the go but I love just walking around campus – even just taking the longer route back to my office after teaching.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Take an interest in what others are doing – there are so many fascinating projects and people at UBC but it’s easy to miss them if you’re only focused on your work and what is immediately relevant to your teaching or research.

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.

30-Second Bio: Ted Sandstra

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC! Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Ted Sandstra

Title: Project Manager

Department/Unit: Project Services

Location: Okanagan

Year I started working at UBC: 2015

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I support teaching and research through building renovations.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I appreciate the leadership within my department. It is also my pleasure to assist the UBCO community to transform campus buildings according to our clients’ needs. (more…)

30-Second Bio: Richard Prince

Help your colleagues learn more about you and your work at UBC. Submit your own 30-Second Bio.

Name: Richard Prince

Title: Professor

Department/Unit: Art History and Visual Art

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 1975

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Teach sculpture and make it in the Old Fire Hall

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: Connecting with students who have the same excitement I felt as an undergraduate at UBC many decades ago and helping them to find their way to the future in art and the world in a time of anxiety and insecurity about that future. Not much different than that I felt when I graduated in 1971.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: Generally a walk around the campus is the best way to spend my lunch time but a real treat is to go to the top of the staircase in the old Chemistry building south end and curl up in the window structure that is derived from buildings in Cambridge and read a British murder mystery set in an classical academic setting. Best to go in disguise.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Focus on your students and on the broader picture of UBC’s vision. Work with your peers who are your colleagues, not just the teaching and library ones but the grounds crews, the building workers and the vast and skilled crews of plant operations. We must be a coordinated group working for a single goal which is the young scholars who will make our future.

Read a selection of other community stories and learn more about what your colleagues are up to.