A Quick Study with Jeanie Malone

This ongoing series is aimed at getting to know what motivates and inspires UBC students about their learning — inside and outside the classroom.

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Jeanie Malone

On problem solving and design, Geering Up and getting involved, robots for doctors, and art.

Meet Jeanie Malone, Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science.


Why UBC?

JM: I’m a second-generation UBC engineer – both my parents studied engineering here. Ever since I discovered my love of problem solving and design, I wanted to follow in their footsteps and become an engineer, and UBC seemed like the most obvious choice.

Over the past three years, I’ve found my home at UBC – from Geering Up, to the EUS, to my classmates. There are so many ways to get involved at UBC, and I’m glad I took the chance.

Also: UBC is gorgeous. Have you seen Main Mall in the fall?


You are studying Electrical Engineering with a Biomedical option. What makes this combination interesting?

JM: I’ll give you the pitch I give kids at summer camp: I study robots for doctors. What’s cooler than that?

Biomedical engineering is the basis of modern healthcare. It’s in every hospital, in every medical device. The electrical engineering perspective allows me to focus on specific areas like medical imaging, biopotentials and vitals monitoring, or robot assisted surgery. Anything that beeps, flashes, or reads a signal is electrical engineering.

Jeanie Malone

Jeanie Malone


What were your favourite hangouts on campus?

Jeanie Malone

JM: Soon it will be the new Engineering Student Centre, which is due to open this fall! This is my second term as the VP Communications for the Engineering Undergraduate Society, and I’m pretty excited for our new student space.

Last year, I divided my time between the Macleod biomed lab, the Geering Up & EUS office in Kaiser and the temporary EUS student space. All I really look for in a hangout space is Wi-Fi, a power outlet, a table, and a reasonably comfortable chair.


You have been a student leader with Geering Up for three years. What brings you back?

Jeanie Malone

JM: At its heart, Geering Up is a science & engineering outreach program, which offers in-school workshops, summer camps, and after-school clubs for kids in grades K-12. Geering Up strives to bring science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) to youth across British Columbia, with special outreach for groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM. As someone who was lucky enough to have two engineers as parents, I want every child to have the opportunity to experiment with STEM.

We have tripled in capacity over the three years I have been here, thanks to the hard work of the Geering Up team. We are now the third biggest STEM camp in Canada. I’m glad I took the chance to get involved with Geering Up — it’s been a great place to grow and learn.

Geering Up is real-life magic. It is a truly incredible program full of amazing, dedicated people. I have had the opportunity to be an Instructor, Coordinator, and finally the Co-Director of Geering Up over the past three years. I have designed activities, taught kids, rebuilt our website, printed thousands of t-shirts and stickers, mentored volunteers and hired staff members. There’s something special about a student-run program of this scale; like Mrs. Frizzle would say, it’s an opportunity to take chances, make mistakes and get messy!


If there is one thing you hope kids leave Geering Up with this summer, what would it be?

JM: The spiel I give kids at Geering Up workshops is that a scientist studies the world, and an engineer takes that knowledge and uses it to build things, solve problems and make the world a better place. I hope kids recognize that they can be a scientist or engineer too, and I hope that they leave with a healthy dose of curiosity about the world around them. I love what I study, and I hope that some of that shines through.


If you could go back to your first year self and tell them something surprising about life in (soon-to-be) fourth year at UBC what might it be?

JM: Do not live at home for first year.

Do. Not.

An hour and a half commute each way is a bad choice – three hours per day on buses is exhausting. Living on campus means you have more time, and most importantly, more time to do things other than school-eat-sleep-repeat!


What does your dream job look like?

JM: I’d love something cross-disciplinary – something that lets me use my brain in a variety of ways, whether that’s through engineering design or letting my artistic side loose. In my free time, I frequently paint or draw and I would love a job that could incorporate art somehow.

Right now? That looks an awful lot like my job at Geering Up.

Jeanie Malone Jeanie Malone Jeanie Malone

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