Enterprising mechatronics student is flying high

June 07, 2016

Mechatronic systems engineering graduand Jessica Peare is a high-flyer—in the classroom and beyond. A licensed pilot and lifelong fan of all things aviation, Peare took off on her first solo flight five years ago at age 17.

“I was nervous the first time, but I kept my cool and followed each step,” says Peare. "The moment you lift off, it’s amazing. That feeling never gets old.”

She parlayed this passion and aviation expertise into several successful projects at SFU.

The former captain of SFU’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle team, she also co-founded Artemis Technologies, a startup company that uses drone technology to help farmers and vintners monitor their crops more efficiently.

Developed through Technology Entrepreneurship at SFU, a business incubator that teams mechatronics and business students with mentors and clients, Artemis Technologies was one of six finalists in the 2016 Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize.

“You work so hard at something, and to see those efforts being recognized is an amazing feeling,” says Peare of the competition, which rewards entrepreneurial excellence at SFU.

As if launching a business wasn’t hard enough, she also took seven courses in the same term and maintained a 3.7 grade point average out of a possible 4.33.

Her hard work did not go unnoticed. She received the 2015 BC Technology Scholarship from the BC Technology Industry Association and several open scholarships from SFU. These awards, in addition to two paid co-op work terms, allowed her to graduate debt-free.   

This summer, Peare will start job-hunting. She’s especially interested in aerospace or automotive engineering roles in San Francisco. But first, she’s taking a well-earned break and hopes to spend time flying with her dad, who is also a pilot.

“My parent raised me to believe that who I was – girl or boy – wasn’t going to stop me from being what I want to be,” says Peare.

A volunteer with the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association kids’ program, she hopes to instill this same belief in other young women and girls, as females still comprise only a tiny minority of pilots and engineers.

“I would tell girls: you can be absolutely anything you want in this world, and if anybody wants to tell you different, prove them wrong,” Peare says, “because you will.”