Women in Engineering Day & Employee Spotlight: Jessie Hundal

Jessie Hundal outside of the UBC Leonard Klinck Building holding her inspirational Pac-Man game.

For Women in Engineering Day—June 23, 2023—we shine a spotlight on a colleague in her role as a Senior Programmer Analyst at UBC IT: Jessie Hundal. Although not an engineer herself, Jessie has made significant strides in supporting women in engineering with her volunteer work with The Society of Punjabi Engineers and Technologists of British Columbia (SPEATBC). Join us in recognizing Jessie Hundal for our employee spotlight.

All her life, Jessie has been surrounded by engineers: growing up, both her parents were engineers and she even married an engineer. Although engineering has a special place in her heart (she has a Certificate in Software Engineering from UBC), Jessie knew from a young age that her passions are in computer science. A 2-year trip from India to Canada in grade 5 sparked her curiosity for computer technology and its endless possibilities. Through a partnership between APTECH and Canadian universities, she pursued a Masters Diploma in Software Engineering (MDSE), delving into computer science. In Canada, she studied Java and Visual Basic at BCIT, broadening her expertise. Within six months, she secured her initial role as a Systems Technologist at TechBC (Technical University of British Columbia), later transitioning to SFU - Surrey Central campus, and eventually joining UBC IT in 2004.

In parallel with her work in IT, Jessie continues to champion her passion for engineering as an active member of the Society of Punjabi Engineers and Technologists of British Columbia (SPEATBC). Founded in 1995, SPEATBC has grown to focus on supporting new immigrants and recent graduates from various institutes across the world. SPEATBC offers various events such as picnics, networking seminars and fundraising dinner with a goal to connect those with similar passions and interests. Furthermore, SPEATBC provides scholarships to deserving individuals, empowering them to pursue their dreams. During Jessie’s time as President of SPEATBC in 2016, she helped develop the first scholarship specifically for Women in Engineering. This scholarship started at $1000 annually and has grown over the years. Some recipients of this scholarship have gone on to study exciting programs such as Mechatronics at SFU and various engineering disciplines at UBC. Many UBC professionals are also involved with SPEATBC.

Jessie stresses the importance of supporting female engineers in all industries. When women see individuals like themselves excelling in the field, they are more likely to be inspired and pursue their own careers in engineering. Representation matters and having relatable role models helps foster a sense of belonging and empowerment. Jessie also emphasizes the importance of mentorship for career growth and continues to provide mentorship opportunities for women through SPEATBC. Jessie believes that exchange of stories and experiences is essential in cultivating a supportive community that nurtures personal advancement and innovation.

Jessie's journey is an inspiration. Her unwavering passion for computer science and engineering, coupled with her involvement in SPEATBC, showcases her commitment to empowering women in the field. As we celebrate Women in Engineering Day, let's recognize the incredible contributions of both female engineers and those who continue to support and uplift one another, creating a future where everyone thrives.

To learn more about UBC's support for Women in Engineering you can visit UBC Okanagan Women in Science and Engineering or Women in Engineering UBC.