Akash Tirkey, President of the UBC Chapter of Engineers Without Borders
Past Involvement With Engineering Without Borders:
Over the past three years, I have thoroughly enjoyed contributing to and learning from several different projects at Engineers Without Borders (EWB). My commitment to EWB began in 2017 as a Youth Venture Member, where I volunteered for the Mentorship project and presented in multiple high schools across Vancouver.
Having developed an understanding and attachment to the Youth Venture, I acquired the position of a Youth Venture Lead in 2018. In this role, I started a brand-new project: Path Paved, which met my initial goals of fostering a passion for engineering, systems thinking and sustainability in the Vancouver youth community. I also carried on the Mentorship Project and presentations in Elementary and High Schools. Over my time as the lead for YV, the venture grew from 10 members to 30 active members and we greatly expanded our network and work scopes
The following year, I applied for the position of an Advocacy Lead and VP External. As Advocacy Lead, I started a brand-new project: #Protagonist, which has 3 projects that aspire to take local action on the following topics: Sustainable Mining, Opioid Crisis, Single-Use Plastic. Moreover, I worked on an interdisciplinary research project on Microplastics and raised awareness about it in my community. These projects were collaboratively initiated our team members, who were encouraged by me to find projects that were passionate about, think critically about the issues at play and the stakeholders involved, and develop research-based solutions for each project.
Finally, in my role as Vice President External alongside the Advocacy Lead portfolio, I facilitated member learning sessions through collaboration with Centre of Community Engaged Learning, represented EWB at the Global Lounge professional development committee and organised a panel discussion on the topic of Women Empowerment. Through these events, I built stronger connections with campus stakeholders and placed an emphasis on amplifying the voices of marginalized communities in the engineering community through these engagements.
As I take on the position of the President of EWB, I am looking forward to working with like-minded people with similar interests and passions to bring about long term systematic changes in our community. I am also looking forward to incorporating the principles of horizontal leadership in my role, to facilitate smooth communication among the EWB Executive Team. I am happy to have a strong executive team of 17 members who been working extensively for the four months to adapt to the unprecedented times of COVID-19. As such, we are transitioning our four ventures (Sustainability, Advocacy, Youth & Peer Support) to operate fully online, and providing a safe and inclusive space for incoming UBC Students from anywhere around the world.