SBME B.A.Sc. student Coralie Tcheune is here to do it all and then some.

Headshot of Coralie Tcheune standing in front of the Eiffel tower.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) advocacy, Biomedical Engineering Student Team (UBC BEST) co-captaining, software development, a Skunkworks Hackathon commercialization victory, conferences presentations, Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Society Association (BMEUSA) projects…this well-rounded Cansbridge Fellow and Wesbrook Scholar has been on a steady path to changing Biomedical Engineering (BME) and healthcare for the better since starting at SBME in 2018. Now in her fourth year, Coralie has won the Irving K. Barber Women in Technology Scholarship.

The BC Scholarship Society awards up to 20 Women in Technology scholarships each year to recognize women who are excelling at the study of Computer/Data Science, Engineering, or Mathematics at the post-secondary level. Eligible recipients must have high overall academic achievement and a demonstrated commitment to the pursuit of a career in the Technology Sector.

Coralie’s work in the BME field has now come full circle. When she was 9, Coralie watched Back to the Future and decided that she wanted to be an inventor like Doc Brown. Ever since then, she has been chasing any opportunity to flex her imagination, technical prowess, and ambitions to change STEM for the better.

Coralie points out a critical idea in healthcare: “The human body is a machine that rarely works ‘properly’ and will always need repair. There’s such a wide breadth of technology interface with the body to either treat it or enhance it. I’m particularly intrigued by prosthetics, brain computer interfaces, and wearables.”

In her courses and research, Coralie is pursuing a specialization in Biomedical Systems and Signals (Electrical Option) and working on an ongoing research project for the BMEG 490B. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Jean-Sébastien Blouin in the Sensorimotor Physiology Laboratory to develop an experimental model for simulating and modulating knee pain in healthy individuals to analyze their musculoskeletal adaptation. Coralie was pulled towards this work because she is fascinated by technology that interfaces with the human body, and this project gave her the freedom to work with sensors, firmware, and electronic to model for the in-motion human body.

Coralie, who already has a Geyer Family Award in Biomedical Engineering under her belt during her time at SBME, sees this award as so much more than just another line in her CV.

For Coralie, the Irving K. Barber Women in Technology Scholarship is a symbol of her drive to be an ambassador for women and black people in Engineering. It isn’t a rare occasion for Coralie to walk into a room and be the only black person or only woman within an engineering or leadership context. Sometimes, she hardly notices it. At other times, it’s polarizing.

“One of my big goals is to empower racial and gender minorities take up and reclaim space that’s historically been stolen or denied from us. I not only strive to be an example for women and black people who want to pursue a career in tech, but I am also committed to sharing resources and tools that I didn’t have at my disposal going through undergrad. I benefit from the hard work and sacrifices that minority groups in engineering had to make before me and I hope to pay it forward in the same way. I am very grateful that the Irving K. Barber Scholarship Committee has recognized my efforts and selected me for this prestigious award.”

Even after all these achievements and so much transformative research, Coralie is still not ready to slow down. On top of her research and volunteering, Coralie is an avid writer and hopes to publish a fictional novel one day. She is also learning American Sign Language (ASL) and working on a website to celebrate, recognize, and support BIPOC in STEM.

When asked about her future ambitions and where she wants to take her research and interests after her Undergrad, she gave a concise and open-minded reply: “I honestly don’t yet have an answer that satisfies me enough to share.”

What Coralie does know, however, is that she wants to be a true leader no matter where her career takes her.

“A leader is a visionary. They’re a person with the drive to put things in action and guide a team towards a united goal.”

We can’t wait to she the leader she will be. 

Congratulations, Coralie, on earning the Irving K. Barber Women in Technology Scholarship!

This story is part of the SBME’s Building Today, Leading Tomorrow series. Follow along as we Discover, Invent, and Translate for the future.