Movers & Shakers
Movers & Shakers
Call it fate or call it good fortune. Regardless, chance was certainly involved in one University of Alberta professor’s decision to attend a conference of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 13 years ago in Vancouver. “I decided to go because of the short flight,” Pierre Mertiny, P.Eng., PhD , says in a story on the U of A website. Now the mechanical engineering professor has earned an ASME fellowship, the highest elected honour the ASME presents to members. Fellows are nominated by other ASME members and fellows in recognition of their significant professional contributions and outstanding achievements. Dr. Mertiny liked the folks he met at the Vancouver conference, so he decided join and get involved in the ASME. He organized a few ASME sessions the next year and a few more after that. Last year he organized an ASME conference in Prague. As his involvement has grown, so too has Dr. Mertiny’s leadership. He’s gone from presenting at conferences to chairing ASME’s pressure vessels and piping division. He’s also cultivated a strong relationship with the executive. A proponent of mentorship and recruitment, Dr. Mertiny thinks deeply about the future of the organization. “The ASME is working hard to diversify and develop a younger base population. As an academic, I have daily contact with a wide range of young engineers, so I can contribute to developing that diverse membership.” Of course, he’ll continue attending ASME conferences. PAST TO PRESENT In 2009, Jim Beckett, P.Eng. FEC, FGC (Hon.) , was busy leading APEGA as our President. Ten years later, he’s still giving back, a fact underlined when he received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from Alberta Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell in November. The medal is awarded to Canadian volunteers for the time, commitment, and compassion they share with a wide array of community organizations. Mr. Beckett, a volunteer for more than 25 years, has served as a senior board member for various organizations, including at the helm of APEGA and Engineers Canada. He has also taken part in Iron Ring ceremonies for engineering graduates as an honorary warden. “There are so many aspects of the quality of life we all enjoy that depend on the energy, compassion, innovation, and resources offered by hard-working community volunteers,” said the Honourable Ms. Mitchell. “These medals are a way to recognize their tireless contributions on behalf of all citizens.” FLIGHT TO VANCOUVER LEADS TO AN ASME FELLOWSHIP
Movers & Shakers
As communities around the world celebrated International Women’s Day this year, Ania Ulrich, P.Eng., PhD , had an extra reason to hold her head high: Women’s Initiative Edmonton was presenting the 2019 Women’s Leadership Award—and her name was on it. As associate dean of outreach in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Ulrich champions diversity and inclusivity among faculty and students, inspiring future engineering professionals and leading with compassion. “Dr. Ulrich exemplifies the best traits of a leader, mentor, and engineer,” says Meghana Calupadas, vice- chair of Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton Vice- Chair. “She continues to pave the way. . . for women to feel included and successful throughout their program.” Under Dr. Ulrich, the faculty is attracting a diverse range of students, some of whom are establishing their own inclusivity initiatives. One such group supports engineering students of Métis or First Nations heritage. Another connects engineering students with young women interested in the profession. The faculty’s engineering and science outreach team also drums up interest in the fields known as STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. “I was recently invited to speak to over 300 school teachers, from kindergarten to Grade 12, who wanted to hear from a female engineer on this topic and how they could contribute in their classroom,” she says in a story on the U of A website. “Most people think that engineers only build bridges, buildings, and cars, and they’re really surprised to discover how vast engineering work is and how we help people and society. It makes me so happy that we are blowing up paradigms. The message of women in STEM is gaining traction and there’s more awareness. It’s very exciting.” ‘BLOWING UP PARADIGMS’—U OF A OUTREACH LEADER PUSHES OPEN DIVERSITY DOORS
ONCE A LEADER, AWAYS A LEADER Jim Beckett, P.Eng., an APEGA past-president, has long been devoting his time to causes he believes in.
But now it will be in fine fellow fashion: no more strings around his neck. “We get these really nice name tags for our shirts.” Ah. The perks of success.
Of course, women aren’t in it alone. “When 88 per cent of your faculty members are male, they’re a huge part of the community, and many of them want to help work toward greater equity, diversity, and inclusivity,” Dr. Ulrich says. “We need men who really care about this and want to be part of the process. They’re the ones who are going to swing the majority and it is important to share that work.” Her commitment to improving diversity and inclusion not only builds the reputation of the university. It pays forward into the profession. “We want to make sure our faculty reflects a diversity of lived experiences, expertise, values, and opinions. It is fact that a diverse engineering community creates high-calibre solutions to problems.” INSPIRING INCLUSION Ania Ulrich, P.Eng., PhD, is certain there’s room for women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math, and she’s finding ways to get them there and keep them there. - photo courtesy Engineering at Alberta
ASME HONOURS U OF A PROF Pierre Mertiny, P.Eng., PhD, is now a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. - photo courtesy Pierre Mertiny
20 | PEG WINTER 2019
WINTER 2019 PEG | 21 IN 2 19
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