Meet McMaster Engineering’s YWCA Women of Distinction Award winner and nominees   – Faculty of Engineering

Meet McMaster Engineering’s YWCA Women of Distinction Award winner and nominees  

Collage of portraits of Hima, Kim and Sky

YWCA Hamilton’s Women of Distinction Awards is the largest and most prestigious event honouring women and girls in Hamilton and Halton. On March 7 at its annual gala at the Hamilton Convention Centre, nominees from McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering including Sky Bjel, Kim Jones and Hima Patel were honoured for their contributions toward creating a more equitable society.  

Below, meet YWCA award recipient, Professor Kim Jones, and student nominees Sky Bjel and Hima Patel. 

Kim Jones, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and Chair, ONWiE 

As an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering and chair of the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE), Kim Jones has spent her career advocating for and fostering diversity within the field. Her leadership in coordinating programs like Go ENG Girl and Go CODE Girl has helped create a hands-on, confidence-building environment for students exploring engineering. Kim’s role as a diversity champion, her drive for collaborative progress across universities, and her strategic initiatives to understand and break barriers for women in engineering show her profound impact on the community. 

Sky Bjel, Electrical Engineering student 

Sky Bjel has not only excelled academically but has also left an unforgettable mark on the aerospace sector. Her 16-month placement at MDA Space as a Robotics & Space Operations Software Engineer Intern has been a testament to the co-op program’s success at McMaster, providing her with invaluable real-world experience. Bjel’s approach to inclusivity in aerospace through her initiative, Project HERA, aims to create bionic arms for astronauts, showcasing her commitment to making space exploration accessible to all. Her recognition with the Hamilton International Airport Royal Canadian Air Force Foundation Scholarship underscores her standing as a future leader in aviation and aerospace. 

Hima Patel, Materials Engineering student 

Hima Patel, a third-year materials engineering student, has been a leader of change in the Fireball Family. As a passionate advocate for women’s rights, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and individuals with disabilities, Patel’s influence extends well beyond the classroom. Co-President of McMaster EngiQueers, she champions the creation of nurturing spaces for queer students in STEM, transforming the community with initiatives that transcend feel-good advocacy, driving real, tangible change. Her dedication to environmental sustainability has been recognized with the Ansys oSTEM Scholarship and AIST’s Steel Intern Scholarship, highlighting her as an emerging leader focused on shaping a more equitable future in her field.