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Working at the Frontier of Chemical Engineering Panel

Sunday, October 23, 2:30 – 4:00 PDT

Hear graduates from chemical engineering and chemistry programs speak about their unique career paths and give advice on how you can set yourself up to land your dream job. Our panelists will speak about how their backgrounds in chemical engineering have led to their current roles starting companies that serve the booming EV sector, investing in clean technology businesses, developing and managing intellectual property, and working in biotechnology. Learn more about the panel.

Val Chiykowski

Val Chiykowski (Associate, Evok Innovations)

As an Associate at Evok Innovations, Val assists with deal flow and the due diligence of technologies. Prior to Evok, Val worked with the Creative Destruction Lab to develop mentorship programming for advanced material start-ups. She led the development of the High School Girls Program to promote diversity in STEM. Val also worked with Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to support Canadian clean tech startups and SMEs with non-dilutive funding, and focused on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategies for the portfolio. Val holds a BSc in Chemistry from Queen’s University and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral research was in materials discovery for next-generation solar cells.

Saad Dara

Saad Dara (CEO, Mangrove Lithium)

Saad Dara is CEO of Mangrove Lithium, a start-up company that spun out of the University of British Columbia in 2017. Dr. Dara holds a PhD (2020), MASc (2012) and BASc (2010) in Chemical and Biological Engineering from UBC and was recognized as a UBC Applied Science Rising Star in 2017. More recently, he was selected to “35 under 35 Rising Stars of the Electric-Car Industry” by Business Insider. Dr. Dara is an entrepreneur with a track record of taking research from the lab bench to a commercial scale and has raised over $30M in grant and investor funding including from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BDC Capital and BMW i Ventures. He has led the technical and business development, fundraising, and strategy, while commercializing Mangrove’s technology with various large corporates. His areas of expertise are in fuel cells, redox flow batteries, lithium-ion batteries, electrochemical water treatment, and lithium processing, refining, and recycling.

Sarah McManus (Associate Engineer, STEMCELL Technologies Inc.)

Sarah McManus graduated with a BASc in Biochemical Engineering from Queen’s University in 2021. She completed a 12-month coop term at STEMCELL Technologies Inc. with the Bioengineering Group in 2019, and returned to the same group as a full-time employee after graduation. Currently Sarah is an Associate Engineer focused on developing methods for PSC culture scale-up and differentiation. In her free time Sarah loves to play sports and hike.

Kazim Agha

Kazim Agha (Partner, Ridout & Maybee LLP)

Dr. Kazim Agha (PhD in Chemistry) is partner and patent agent at Ridout & Maybee LLP. Kazim is also the Director of Local Sections of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC), sitting on as a Board Member of the Chemical Society of Canada (CSC).  He is also engaged with the American Chemical Society (ACS), presenting on IP and the Small Chemical Business Division (SCHB) of the ACS, providing support and guidance to small and medium sized chemical businesses.  On the intellectual property side, Kazim regularly presents and teaches on IP, particularly patents, and is Chair of the Patent Agent Training Committee (PATC) of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), and a member of the Standing Advisory Committee before the European Patent Office (SACEPO).