Kerry Black

Kerry Black

Assistant Professor

School of Engineering (Okanagan campus)

What is your educational and professional background?

I completed my Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering at the University of Guelph with Dr. Edward McBean. My thesis topic centered on developing a Framework and Methodology for Improved Indigenous-Led Decision-Making on Water and Wastewater Design and Management.

I completed my Master of Applied Science in Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia and my thesis was related to drinking water treatment with Dr. Pierre Bérubé on the Effect of Biological Activated carbon Filtration on the Removal and Biodegradation of Natural Organic Matter.


I received my Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, with a fourth-year thesis project on the Source of Contamination in Drinking Water Supply in Kep, Cambodia.


Why UBC?

During my master’s degree at UBC, I fell in love with BC and knew one day I would make my way back. I consider it an honour to be able to work at a top-ranked university that has a built a reputation for bold thinking, innovation and leadership that will ultimately shape the world we live in. Working at UBC also means working in an inclusive, diverse community that fosters collaboration and cooperation. I’m thrilled to call UBC, and the Okanagan, my home.

What are your research/teaching interests and current projects?

My hope is to engage in a cross-disciplinary research platform, incorporating technical civil and environmental engineering principles and research, with policy and socio-economic components, focusing on sustainable infrastructure for healthy and resilient communities with a focus on Indigenous and Northern communities.

I believe education should develop engineers to tackle the world’s toughest problems, through an integrative approach to curriculum development. I am passionate about interdisciplinary teaching and research and believe that engineers benefit greatly from exposure to different schools of thought, and methods of analysis.


How do you hope your work will impact society/students?

My goal is to influence society through meaningful research that leads to measurable changes in the way in which we approach engineering problems. Through my experience in the public and private sector I recognize the importance of knowledge translation, and the need for engineers to think beyond the technical, with a keen understanding of the social and environmental context of their work. I think this viewpoint will impact both research and teaching, and will be something I hope to share with students at UBC.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in engineering, and why?

Engineering is more than meets the eye, it’s a vastly changing, innovating discipline where you can have measurable impact on the world we live in. A strong engineering base is an important stepping stone to a multitude of opportunities and gives you the skill set you need to excel and lead.

An engineering background is a strong base for any career option, not just limited to traditional engineering careers. Many successful business leaders and public leaders have all had training as engineers — the definition of ‘engineer’ is constantly evolving.


What are you passionate about outside work?

I love to go camping and hiking, spend time on the water, and up in the mountains. Volunteering and giving back to the community is also very important to me. A healthy work/life balance is extremely essential to success both personally and professionally. Spending time with my family is at the top of my list.

Department/School profile