Kara Deane

Impressive academics and contributions within STEM land Deane a prestigious scholarship

For UBC Computer Science alumna Kara Deane, academic and service scholarships have practically become commonplace

Deane’s latest achievement is the 2023 Allan Carswell Physics Educator Scholarship, awarded by the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP). This scholarship is in recognition of her "excellent academic record and demonstrated ability in designing and delivering physics teaching activities," along with her substantial contributions to STEM subjects through outreach and volunteer work with youth. 

Kara Deane, who graduated in May 2023 with a combined major in Computer Science and Physics, is no stranger to recognition. She previously received the Bit Quill Technologies Award in Computer Science (2023), given to students displaying a commitment to teamwork, relationships, excellence, and ethics. Additionally, Deane was awarded the Tasktop Technologies ‘Project to Product Award in Computer Science’ in May 2022, which recognizes students who have demonstrated leadership, community engagement, or volunteerism. In 2019, she received both the Rajan Family Award in Computer Science as well as the Maria Klawe Service Award.

An exemplary student, volunteer and active community member

Deane was deeply involved in various aspects of the computer science department during the years of her study there. She actively participated in the Committee for Outreach, Diversity, and Equity (CODE), volunteered for the GIRLsmarts4tech program, and served as an academic assistant for the student development portfolio. Her engagement extended to the Coffee Chats mentorship program, events like the annual Tech Crawl that encourages women to consider studying computer science, and representing the department in events such as Meet Your Major and Science Rendezvous. She also contributed by writing weekly newsletters to the department’s student body.

Beyond the Computer Science Department, Deane's impact expanded as she created a mentorship program between lower and upper-level students through the Physics Society. Additionally, she introduced the Positive Space Campaign in the Physics Society lounge, aiming to ensure a welcoming environment for 2SLBTQIA+ students.

Deane's commitment to breaking down barriers in education is evident in her extensive involvement in STEM outreach initiatives, particularly with youth. 

Now, envisioning a career teaching physics in rural schools and currently undertaking her practicum, she expressed excitement about the impact her most recent scholarship would have in such settings. "Every student deserves the opportunity to experience physics this way, but many students face barriers to doing so," said Deane. She highlighted the prevalent misconceptions surrounding physics, including perceived difficulty and underrepresentation of diverse identities. Expressing her passion for teaching, she emphasized that her goal is to "create opportunities for students to experience physics in a way that is joyful and exciting while building their confidence to positively engage with physics."

The Allan Carswell Physics Educator Scholarships, valued at up to $5,000 each, are awarded annually to one or two physics students with a strong academic record and a demonstrated passion for physics and physics pedagogy. The scholarship, established by the CAP and the CAP Foundation, is generously endowed by the Carswell Family Foundation. The scholarships aim to emphasize the vital and rewarding career path of physics education at the secondary school level, promoting the value of a physics major for various careers beyond research. 

Deane's receipt of the Allan Carswell Physics Educator Scholarship greatly facilitates her journey toward the impactful role she envisions. As she eloquently puts it, "My love of sharing curiosity and reducing barriers to education has led to my involvement in numerous STEM outreach initiatives. I have found immense value in working with youth, and I am excited to continue this work as a high school teacher." 

CAP press release