Prof Tizazu Mekonnen chairs Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology PhD Project

Monday, January 18, 2021

Chemical Engineering Professor Tizazu Mekonnen has been named Inaugural Director of the Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) PhD Project. This new partnership, which includes the University of Waterloo and five other Ontario universities, aims to diversify academia and Canadian technology industries by increasing the number of Indigenous and Black Canadians pursuing engineering and technology degrees at universities across Ontario.

The partnership includes the engineering and math faculties at the University of Waterloo, and the engineering faculties at McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and Western University.

Chemical Engineering Professor Tizazu Mekonnen, Inaugural Director of the IBET PhD Project
The Department of Chemical Engineering’s Professor Tizazu Mekonnen, the Inaugural Director of the Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) PhD Project.

“The partner universities share an understanding that greater diversity is needed among academic leaders in engineering and technology to reflect all populations and to ensure a full range of thought and problem-solving approaches,” says Professor Mekonnen.

To that end, the PhD Project launched the Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Momentum Fellowship, which provides members of these under-represented groups with funding support to pursue doctoral studies in engineering and mathematics, as well as access to networking and partnership opportunities.

By increasing the number of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) and Black engineering and technology professors researching and teaching in universities across Ontario, the IBET PhD Project aims to change the academic landscape within the next five to ten years. It will also increase diversity in Canadian technology industries as more Indigenous and Black graduates enter the workforce.

“The IBET PhD Project will encourage more diverse and equitable participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and a more inclusive workplace,” says Professor Mekonnen. “As we enhance the diversity of engineering and mathematics leaders within academia and industry, more young people will see STEM careers as viable options and feel supported in their pursuit of the higher education required to meet their career goals.”

University of Waterloo IBET Fellowship recipients will receive financial support of $30,000 per year for four years as they pursue doctoral degrees and specialized engineering research. Learn more about University of Waterloo’s Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology Momentum Fellowship, including the eligibility requirements and application process.

For more information about the IBET Momentum Fellowships, read Ontario universities create fellowship to increase diversity in engineering and technology.