CUBEC is the brainchild of BMEUSA Co-Presidents Laia Shpeller, Nadine Truter, 3rd and 4th year students in UBC’s School of Biomedical Engineering. Working closely with Aditi Sitolay, BMEUSA Industry Manager and 3rd year BME student, and in collaboration with the Bioengineering Undergraduate Student Society (BUSS) at McGill University, the conference was designed to be the first large scale event dedicated specifically to connecting undergraduate biomedical engineering students across Canada.
“Many students feel lost trying to determine next steps. We wanted to provide a platform for them to explore the wide range of options available and gain insights on which direction would be best for them.”
Nadine Truter, Co-President, BMEUSA
Biomedical Engineering is a broad field that encompasses so many different disciplines, all of which converge biology and technology to solve health and healthcare challenges. With that kind of diversity, BME students have a plethora of potential career paths to follow post-graduation. “Many students feel lost trying to determine next steps,” says Nadine. “We wanted to provide a platform for them to explore the wide range of options available and gain insights on which direction would be best for them.”
The conference bridged the knowledge gap between degree and career by gathering various academic research groups, industry leaders, and start-up companies to highlight what they do, how they came to do it, and what the field is looking for as it continues to grow. Students participated in workshops, panel discussions, and got to hear from keynote speakers over the course of both days.
“We hope this will continue for years to come, and give incoming undergrad students the same opportunity to learn what their future can be.e wide range of options available and gain insights on which direction would be best for them.”
Laia Shpeller, Co-President, BMEUSA
“We had students sign up from all across Canada, and a few other countries too,” exclaims Laia. “There were 300+ RSVPs ranging from high school students to post-grads. 25 representatives from industry and academia participated and shared their knowledge as panellists, speakers, and moderators.”
The big highlights from the conference were the Biotech Industry Panel and the Academic Panel as there is big interest in these pillars of BME. Students were passionate and engaged in the virtual Q&A. “We all learned so much! And meeting students each evening on gather.town allowed us to connect in a really cool way,” says Laia.
The Virtual Opportunity
This event is an important step in bringing a broader conversation about what biomedical engineering is—and its vast promise for the future of health and healthcare—not just to the BME community but to the public at large. Both Nadine and Laia recognize the high potential for this in gatherings like CUBEC: “We hope this will continue for years to come, and give incoming undergrad students the same opportunity to learn what their future can be. The online format was a blessing in disguise as it made for a very accessible event—something we’re very passionate about. We’re not sure if an in-person event would be better to be honest, as we don’t want to limit participation through cost or travel.”
Organizing CUBEC was a big undertaking. It took ingenuity, tenacity, resourcefulness and no small amount of problem solving. And thanks to Laia, Nadine, Aditi and the entire organizing team who helped launch what turned out to be an international event, it was also a huge success, helping students across the country and beyond, see paths to fulfilling futures in BME.
“It was a great experiment both organizing and attending the conference, a lot of good information and insights were shared about the biotech industry and really exciting research.”
Aditi Sitolay, Industry Manager, BMEUSA
Laia and Nadine would like to thank all of the organizers and participants as well as the SBME for supporting the event. They send special thanks to Drs. Peter Cripton and Peter Zandstra for being wonderful keynote speakers.
Learn more about Laia and Nadine
Hear about their year so far in the virtual learning space, environmentalism, balancing school and extracurriculars and much more on Ep. 2 of SBME Interfaces.