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.

Clothing bins made safer

It was July 2018 when Ray Taheri, senior instructor of engineering at UBC Okanagan, heard the news: a woman had died after becoming trapped in a clothing donation bin in Vancouver—the fourth such death to have occurred in Canada since 2015. It was time to do something, he resolved. Just as he had done before when tackling community issues, Ray turned to what might seem an unlikely group: his first-year engineering students.

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30-Second Bio: Priya Bala-Miller

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Name: Priya Bala-Miller

Title: Director - Partnerships & Program Development

Department/Unit: CIRDI - School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2017

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Advance sustainable natural resource governance through trans-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder, global partnerships.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I feel deeply connected and committed to UBC's values around sustainability and global citizenship. My role leverages UBC-grown knowledge to realize a future where people & planet are at the heart of resource development. Having 3 degrees from UBC, I love having a personal 20-year historical perspective on UBC's evolution inform my view of what the social role of UBC will be in the next 100 years!

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: Nitobe Garden

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: 1. Stay open and curious. UBC's best treasures - social trust or uncomfortable truths that spark radical ideas emerge in everyday interactions within the UBC community. Link to community in a way you are most comfortable, options are endless.
3. Connect to purpose. Reflect on how your personal values link to UBC's values. This can help avoid that feeling of being a cog in a vast UBC machine.

30-Second Bio: Siyun Wang

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Name: Siyun Wang

Title: Associate Professor, Food Safety Engineering

Department/Unit: Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2013

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I do research, teaching and public outreach on food safety.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I get to interact with thousands of researchers, students and stakeholders from the Agri-Food industry. Through the classes and workshops I teach and the meetings I have, I learn something new every day.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: Lee Square. There are numerous coffee shops and eateries around. On a nice sunny, or even a rainy, day I enjoy grabbing an outdoor spot, having my coffee while watching people bustling in and out of the bookstore, SUB, or checking out the UBC Farm stand.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Explore the campus, because we have one of the most beautiful campuses around the world!

30-Second Bio: Jessica Allen

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Name: Jessica Allen

Title: Senior Digital Marketing Specialist

Department/Unit: Recruitment Marketing & Prospective Student Engagement

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2015

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I help prospective students learn about studying at UBC's two campuses.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I love creating content for prospective students that will make their journey to UBC easier. Sometimes it's a video, other times it's a student takeover on Instagram. Social media didn't really exist back when I was applying to UBC, so I'm glad we can support students in this way now.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: I like to put on an epic playlist (something with a spicy guitar solo) and walk up and down Main Mall. Sometimes you get to meet cute dogs, which is always a plus.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Reach out to other people on campus in your field (or outside your field) and take them for coffee! There are some really kind and talented people at UBC. Ask them about their pre-UBC lives, their unit/team, and the work they do there. People here are friendly and generous with their time, and you'll build a great network of contacts and new friends.

30-Second Bio: Tania Willard

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Name: Tania Willard

Title: Assistant Professor

Department/Unit: Visual Arts

Location: Kelowna

Year I started working at UBC: 2019

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Learning, Growing, Challenging, Focusing, Decolonizing, Collaborating.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I love the idea of building on knowledge over generations, and the shift of seeing diverse knowledge and Indigenous knowledge challenge us all to enrich learning and work and think differently.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: I plan to attend the Aboriginal luncheon on campus. I also like to hide away with a bowl of soup in my closet office. In summer there are lots of great spaces around campus to relax on the grass or native plant areas.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: I am still collecting tips! ...but I do wear a T-shirt that says 'Decolonize Your Syllabus' by Yvette deChavez.

30-Second Bio: Larissa Ho

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Name: Larissa Ho

Title: Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Department/Unit: Vantage College

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2019

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I write and tell the stories of Vantage College.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: My favourite part of my role is working with creative, motivated people to tell stories of exceptional students and faculty across the full spectrum of research and innovative areas at Vantage College.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: Jogging along Wreck Beach!

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Engage people, get to know their unique stories, include them in your life, and don't be afraid to fully join the 'UBC family' as someone who possesses his or her own special journey and unique life story. We all have different skills, attributes, strengths, and perspectives to contribute to our vibrant, growing community.

30-Second Bio: Jill Zwicker

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Name: Jill Zwicker

Title: Associate Professor

Department/Unit: Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2013

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I work as a scholar, educator, and clinician scientist at UBC, BC Children's Hospital, and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: The best thing about my work at UBC is the network of faculty, staff, clinicians, trainees, and families with whom I work. They say it takes a village to raise a child; it also takes a village to run a successful research program! I am grateful for those who share my vision and who work together to make a difference for children and families. UBC and affiliates have supported me in this endeavour.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: I enjoy meeting friends and colleagues at Mahoney's for lunch - especially on the patio in the summer! Whenever possible, I join my colleagues on Thursdays for a 30min walk on campus over our lunch time (rain or shine). We aim to reach a forested area to get the benefit of being closer to nature!

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Take the time to explore the campus and all it has to offer!

30-Second Bio: Sukhi Ghuman

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Name: Sukhi Ghuman

Title: Marketing & Events Manager

Department/Unit: Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT)

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2010

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Like an artist, a marketer likes to create. We do this through words, sounds, videos, pictures, interactivity and so much more.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I love how I have the ability to create something from nothing. The UBC Communicator's Network is also a great networking opportunity and resource to support some of the amazing work we're all doing on campus.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: UBC is a walking campus, and I enjoy spending my lunch hours outdoors (rain or shine) and taking in our beautiful campus. It's a great way to get some fresh air, recalibrate and get my steps in.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: I highly recommend you develop connections with colleagues on campus working in similar fields from other departments. It's great to hear about projects other units are working on and learning about their experiences. I find I'm always bouncing ideas off colleagues and discussing new best practices as the world of digital marketing is constantly changing.

30-Second Bio: Francis Langevin

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Name: Francis Langevin

Title: Instructor (French)

Department/Unit: Languages and World Literatures

Location: Okanagan

Year I started working at UBC: 2014

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I teach French Language (communication, translation) and Francophone Culture and Literature.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I get to read new books and talk to new people for a living. A lot of those people speak more than one language and have traveled more than me. I love their stories. I get to feel smart and I get to feel like I don't know anything *in the same day*.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: I like the UNC building because it feels like a beehive. Students work so hard! The new Commons building is calmer, but you do feel like a lot is going on.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Go to events on campus and off campus. Go visit the Equity and Inclusion Office, the Aboriginal Centre, the Library, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Accessibilty Centre, the FINA Gallery -- and introduce yourself as "the new person". Sign up for any tour that's being offered to you. Just go.
You can also contact me: I'm friendly. Lots of people are too!

30-Second Bio: James Ellis

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Name: James Ellis

Title: Hearing Officer

Department/Unit: Parking & Access Services

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2016

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I'm like a traffic court judge just for UBC.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I get to forgive honest mistakes, to improve systems and accountability, and to teach customers how to avoid traffic fines in the future. Everyone can enjoy working and learning at UBC, and no one wants to end the day by taking a ticket off their windshield that they could have avoided. I also work with great partners like Conflict Theatre, Workplace Wellbeing & Benefits, RMS, and CUPE 116.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: I have five:
1) The Waterfall behind the hospital;
2) The Beaty Biodiversity Museum;
3) The Nitobe Garden;
4) The Detwiller Pavilion courtyard; and
5) The Foresty Building

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Search out opportunities to connect with every aspect of UBC, which is a city in microcosm. Everyone who works, studies, or lives here is contributing to the fabric of this community, and some of us do all three! This land had an amazing history long before there was a university here, and with an engaged community, it will have a long future serving as a model for sustainable living and learning.

30-Second Bio: Joni Hayden-Summerton

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Name: Joni Hayden-Summerton

Title: Project Administrator

Department/Unit: Infrastructure Development, Project Services

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2016

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I am a Project Administrator with UBC Infrastructure Development – Project Services.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: The role is a canvas. I get to paint on it. For example, I spearheaded two mental health initiatives for my department, and acted as a Communications Strategist for two other projects.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: At Meditation Monday with my coworkers.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Access the Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) for mental wellness, get a UBC Coach to help you achieve your goals, and use your tuition waivers.

30-Second Bio: Kyle Watson

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Name: Kyle Watson

Title: Events and Projects Manager

Department/Unit: Student Recruitment and Advising

Location: Okanagan Campus

Year I started working at UBC: 2019

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I support the Student Recruitment and Advising (SRA) team through a variety of exciting events, as we engage and inspire prospective students.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: Overseeing the Okanagan Campus Tours program is a double-bonus for me.
1: Leading our team of superstar Student Ambassadors, provides me with a continuous source of creativity and imagination.
2: Welcoming prospective students and their families from all over the world, and sharing the endless possibility of UBC and beautiful British Columbia.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: You can find me on the stairway to heaven/ pine loop trail seeking my daily dose of fresh air and open views.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: I'm fairly new to UBC, so I could probably use the advice myself. I've enjoyed getting out and exploring campus, connecting with campus partners, and learning about all the wonderful services and resources on campus for students, staff and faculty. The monthly pit stops are a great place to start!

30-Second Bio: Albert Ng

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Name: Albert Ng

Title: Public Services Assistant

Department/Unit: Library / Law Library

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2015

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I help patrons use library resources

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: The opportunity to serve some of the smartest students from all over the world. In a few years, some of them might be celebrities, movie stars, Nobel Prize winners, Prime Ministers or the president of a nation – you never know.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: UBC is one of my favourite places on my tasting journey. My blog (TastingJourney.com) describes my dine out experience on campus since 2015. There are 40+ places to eat within walking distance, so dine out on a beautiful day, or as often as you like.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Don't hesitate to try different positions at the university. UBC is a great place for adventure and you will get a very different experience when moving from one job to another. Each unit or branch has something different to offer.

30-Second Bio: Angela Wagner

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Name: Angela Wagner

Title: Education Program Coordinator

Department/Unit: UBC Health

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2015

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I work collaboratively with 14 health professional programs to deliver integrated learning and interprofessional enrichment activities to 3,000 students

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: Learning with, from, and about each other; being a part of teams that are crosscutting health systems transformation, and education and research. I'm proud to support activities which bring members of the health and healing community together to learn. I focus on the key principles of safe, effective, person-centred care and building competencies to ensure UBC Health students are team-ready once they graduate.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: Trail running in Pacific Spirit Park, forest bathing in Nitobe Gardens, or a brisk walk to Wreck Beach. I also enjoy connecting with the Community Health Initiatives by University Students and Health Student Caucus, as well as coordinating enriched interprofessional education activities which occur over the lunch hour.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: UBC is a wonderful community! Be open to the many growth opportunities available to you! In my short time here, I have met so many generous role models willing to share their expertise. Be sure to connect with colleagues and explore the many resources we have.

30-Second Bio: Denise Maines

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Name: Denise Maines

Title: Research Support Specialist

Department/Unit: Office of Research Services

Location: Okanagan

Year I started working at UBC: 2018

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Communicate and manage high value and high-impact research opportunities in NSE

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I get to work with brilliant faculty, and learn about cutting edge research every day.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: The lunchroom in FIPKE in the fall/winter. Anywhere outside when it's warm enough.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Your colleagues are there to help you. Ask questions, be curious, and get to know people outside of your department. Everyone I've met has been incredibly helpful!

How to train your robot

Gurpreet (left) and Nestor with new team mate Countess.

When Gurpreet Gill first started at UBC as a custodian in 1989, the Vancouver campus had half the number of students, only a handful of restaurants, and parking cost 25 cents a day. A lot has changed in 29 years for the now Custodial Head Supervisor, including the recent addition of two new team members.

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30-Second Bio: Evan Wood

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Name: Evan Wood

Title: Executive Director, BC Centre on Substance Use

Department/Unit: Faculty of Medicine

Location: Vancouver

Year I started working at UBC: 2012

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I help inform the university’s efforts in the area of addiction prevention and treatment.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: The best thing about my work is seeing people and patients get better. Unlike other diseases, addiction and substance use have been totally misunderstood and underfunded. But here at UBC we’re now working to address one of society's longest-standing social crises -- untreated addiction that has resulted from catastrophic policies devastating millions of lives.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: When I'm not taking lunch at my desk, I like to take time to meet with people and talk about our work and common goals. Meeting with people with lived experience, stakeholders, and supporters to build consensus around how we make real and positive change in our communities.

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: My advice for someone beginning their journey at UBC: Don't close any doors. When I began my graduate training at UBC, I had no idea this is where I would end up. The lesson for me was to keep an open mind and not to worry if your path doesn't proceed along a straight line. There will be so many opportunities that present themselves to you at UBC -- be open to them.

30-Second Bio: Jonathan Easey

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Name: Jonathan Easey

Title: Researcher and Program Manager

Department/Unit: Ch'nook Indigenous Business Education Centre, UBC Sauder

Location: Vancouver (Point Grey)

Year I started working at UBC: 2009

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: Run programs and do research related to Indigenous business education.

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: Getting to do meaningful work with wonderful people - within both UBC and the community at large.

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: If the weather is nice, I hop on my bike and head to the Botanical Garden for a stroll or read on a quiet bench. If it's raining, I visit a museum - there are more of them on campus than you probably realize and they're free for faculty and staff!

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Lots of people will tell you to "get out and meet people from across campus!" which of course, is great advice. So, my tip is about what comes next. When you make a new connection, go ahead and schedule a coffee when you're back at your desk. UBC folks love meeting for coffee and that's often where the best collaborations begin.

In focus: Our university photographer

“A lot of people don’t look at having their picture taken as the highlight of their day… I try to make it feel like they’re not being photographed, that we’re just having a conversation.”

It’s possible that no one at UBC has quite as varied a work day as Paul Joseph. As official University Photographer since 2016, he’s just as likely to be snapping pictures of laughing UBC summer campers as he is to be capturing studious portraits of faculty Deans. In fact, it’s safe to say that Paul probably brushes shoulders with a greater variety of university folk than just about anyone else at UBC.

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Winter is coming

Behind the scenes: Tamas Weidner (second from right) and team are ready for winter.

If the approach of winter weather has you cringing at the thought of hours spent shovelling heavy snow off your walkway and scraping ice off your windshield, spare a thought for the Building Operations and Facilities Management staff at UBC. While you may only now be thinking about pulling your snow shovel out of storage, these staff have been planning for weeks for any winter weather event that may strike the campuses.

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30-Second Bio: Robert Olson

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Name: Robert Olson

Title: Division Head and Associate Professor

Department/Unit: Radiation Oncology (Department of Surgery)

Location: Prince George

Year I started working at UBC: 2010

10 words or less to describe what I do at UBC: I am a radiation oncologist and clinical researcher

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: Mentoring medical students, residents, and fellows

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: Lunch room at BC Cancer – Prince George, on Bar-B-Q Wednesdays

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Engage students in all of your research projects

Making connections

What started as a simple tool with a specific purpose, the researcher profile tool is now helping many groups and individuals connect across the university.

At a place as big as UBC, finding people can be hard. But an online tool developed within Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is helping to change that by making it easier to connect with researchers across the university.

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Conversation starters

In conversation: UBC’s Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young co-founded the Canadian edition of the site, which breaks down barriers between academia and journalism.

Academic researchers today are increasingly encouraged to disseminate their findings to the broader public—but accurate and impactful media coverage can be hard to attract, especially for younger, emerging scholars. Enter The Conversation: a global non-profit initiative that features online news and editorial content from academics, guided by journalists, that is freely available for republication by other media outlets.

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30-Second Bio: Shireen McCormick

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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

The best thing about my work/role at UBC: I have the ability to change people's lives on a daily basis while working with an amazing team of individuals who are focused on research excellence

My favourite place to spend my lunch hour: On the grass outside our building (south campus) with my weights and music

My top UBC tip for my colleagues, or for someone beginning their UBC journey: Get to know your campus, explore, and be open to meeting new people. This alone will provide you with an enriched workplace

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

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

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.

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

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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.

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

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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

30-Second Bio: Diana Jung

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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.

30-Second Bio: Bud Mortenson

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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.

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.

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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. (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!

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.

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.