Winter PEG 2019

Movers & Shakers

Movers & Shakers



CELEBRATION OF A CENTURY (AND A QUARTER) Erum Afsar, P.Eng., was one of 125 recipients of a Queen’s Engineering Excellence Award. Why 125? The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science marked its

THINKING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM For these four student members of APEGA, supporting the community has paid off in a big way. From left: Ariel Li, Kabir Nadkarni,

BRINGING IT BACK HOME: APEGA STUDENT MEMBERS RECOGNIZED FOR COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS Five community-minded engineering students at the University of Alberta—four of them student members of APEGA—are $10,000 happier after receiving awards for their contributions to community. The university’s inaugural William Muir Edwards Citizenship Awards were presented in June, and the five students were chosen from 44 nominations. Barry Posner, leader of the award selection committee and U of A engineering alumnus, emphasized the importance of recognizing the contributions students are making outside the classroom, engaging with their communities and inspiring others. “Engineering is about applying science and technology to make the world a better place, and engaged citizenship is another side of the same coin—it falls in line with the notion of engineering trying to improve the world. Being a good citizen is another manifestation of that.” Ariel Li , a student member of APEGA taking mechanical engineering, is the vice-president of marketing for the U of A chapter of an international organization inspiring students to create social and environmental change. She now leads the business development team for a social enterprise project that the chapter oversees. Ms. Li is also the founder and president of the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience Committee at the university. Kabir Nadkarni is studying engineering physics. An APEGA student member, he keeps his finger on the pulse of local communities impacted by Alberta’s energy transition, helping underrepresented citizens solve the problems the transition creates. Mr. Nadkarni has coordinated workshops focusing on different aspects of monitoring air quality—policy, technical, and health—and is currently leading a project that uses sensors mounted on

125-year milestone in 2019. - photo courtesy Erum Afsar

Callie Lissinna, and Elizabeth Gierl. - photos courtesy University of Alberta


drones to create air quality maps for the Paul First Nation, just west of Edmonton. Callie Lissinna , student member of APEGA, is a mechanical engineering student and a strong advocate for increased diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math—and the aerospace industry. A member of the university’s AlbertaSat team, a student group that launches satellites, she conducted an internal review of the group and found females weren’t being promoted to technical positions as quickly as males were. Spurred by this discovery, the team is striving to achieve gender parity. Ms. Lissinna is also a recipient of APEGA’s Ivan Finlay Award, which recognizes Alberta university engineering and geoscience students who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities. Elizabeth Gierl is studying electrical engineering and is also a student APEGA member. She’s developing green energy technology by participating in the university’s EcoCar team project. EcoCar is a sustainable and eco- friendly vehicle to contend in an international fuel- efficiency competition. Ms. Gierl also connects with other young people to discuss climate change, as a cofounder and editor an award-winning, youth-run environmental awareness blog. Mechanical engineering student Alexander Wright snagged the fifth William Muir Edwards Citizenship Award for robotics work and advocacy for youth engagement and governance. In addition to judging the design, project, and core value of various projects at FIRST LEGO League Robotics competitions, he is a former Edmonton Public School Board Student Senator.

What do you do when you’ve helped create the careers of thousands upon thousands of professional engineers for 125 years? You celebrate, of course! Earlier this year, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen’s University in Kingston kicked off celebrations for the milestone. The event, called Queen’s Engineering Excellence: 125th Awards, honoured 125 alumni for their amazing contributions to engineering, business and industry, their communities, and the world. “Our program engenders teamwork and strong bonds among classmates,” says Kevin Deluzio, the faculty dean, in a story on the university’s website. “Our network of Queen’s engineers supports students on campus, but also in life and work long after graduation. You are exceptional role models for our next generations of leaders and groundbreakers, and we thank you for engineering a better world.” Among the program’s alumni are many Albertans, of course. One of them is our very own Erum Afsar, P.Eng. , who is on the 125 list. Ms. Afsar was recognized for her work in building sustainable communities. Her current position is APEGA’s Director, Enforcement, which puts her focus squarely on public welfare and safety. Before that, she was involved in various transportation roles—always ensuring the projects she has worked on properly served their communities. A big name in the volunteering circuit, Ms. Afsar was instrumental in raising more than $400,000 for

early literacy programming at the Edmonton Public Library. She donates her time to the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and the Islamic Family and Social Services Association. Ms. Afsar was recognized as one of the top 40 professionals under 40 in Edmonton by Avenue in 2012. Alberta Venture magazine named her one of 10 influential Albertans in 2013. And in the same year, the Canadian Council of Muslim Women named her one of six inspirational women. “Maybe it’s partly how I was raised: my mom was always involved in school activities and my dad was involved in the community, so I saw the importance of giving back. Your contribution to the world should also be in terms of how you give back in a positive way, and that was engrained in me.” Other APEGA members were also honoured at the gala, many of whom have been profiled before in Movers & Shakers. They are: • Dave Reid, P.Eng.

• Don MacDiarmid, P.Eng. • Joel Nodelman, P.Eng. • Douglas Little, P.Eng. • Evan Hazell, P.Eng. • Greg Heath, P.Eng. • Heather Kennedy, P.Eng. • Kathleen Sendall, P.Eng. • Kim Sturgess, P.Eng.

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