Amanda Giang

Amanda Giang

Assistant Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering

What is your educational and professional background?

I received my BASc in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. I completed my graduate studies at MIT, with an MS in Technology and Policy and a PhD in Engineering Systems. I did my postdoctoral work at MIT and the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Why engineering? 

I wasn’t really aware of what engineering was until very late in high school, when my older brother started studying engineering. Through conversations with him, I realized engineering could actually be a powerful way to combine my desire to serve the needs of my local and global community with my interests in science and technology. A lot of the world’s most pressing challenges have important technical and social components, and engineers — in partnership with many other roles and professions — have an important part to play in working towards more sustainable, healthy and just futures.

Why UBC?

UBC is such an innovator when it comes to sustainability research and teaching, and it’s a place where interdisciplinarity thrives. I feel so lucky to work with such a vibrant and diverse community of scholars. (The stunning mountains, beaches and forests don’t hurt either!)

What are your research/teaching interests and current projects?

My research focuses on understanding the links between environmental modelling and policy, using interdisciplinary approaches from engineering and the natural and social sciences. The overarching goals of my group’s work are: to better understand the links between humans, technology and the environment; to develop computational tools and methods that support environmental decision-making around air pollution and toxic chemicals (with and for policy-makers and affected communities); and to explore the politics of these kinds of knowledge.

One project we’re working on right now is trying to model the dispersion of a subset of industrial air pollutants in Canada, to better understand inequities in exposure. We’re also thinking about how to co-design interactive tools to share results with partners in civil society and government.

What are you passionate about outside work?

I’m an avid reader, currently obsessed with cli-fi (climate fiction — speculative fiction about earth futures). As a nod to my Canadian roots, I’ve also recently started playing ice hockey (in an incredibly novice capacity).  

Department/School profile