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International Women in Engineering Day: Our engineering heroes in Australia

June 16, 2021

A few of our female engineers share their hero projects

International Women in Engineering Day is held annually on 23 June, and this year's theme is Engineering Heroes. To help celebrate, we asked some of our engineers to talk about how their projects are heroes in the community.

We're profiling women who recognise a problem and dare to be part of the solution, making huge impacts in our daily lives by providing essential public services and infrastructure. They help make our drinking water safe and our commute times bearable.

While they believe it's the project outcomes that support a community, it’s also the people that deliver those projects that make a difference. Here are several of the real heroes: Arvin, Elle, Janelle, and Tanya.

Arvin Samimi, Intermediate Process Engineer

Collaborating with her colleagues has given Arvin a great sense of pride and belonging. She finds a deep satisfaction from the work she does and highly values her relationships with her colleagues. “I am so proud of all the projects I have worked on since joining the Stantec water group.”

We actively seek to contribute to our communities by providing fit-for-purpose, innovative water solutions. Arvin ensures that we consider our impact and keep the community at the heart when undertaking any project, no matter how big or small. “We mainly work on projects that help increase liveability in the respective society where we undertake the projects. We do this either by designing drinking water treatment plants or managing them.” She has worked on numerous projects and considers all of them as hero projects—because to Arvin, water is life.

Arvin is grateful to be surrounded by empowering women and competent leaders who create a positive working environment. She places her greatest confidence in her team, enabling true transformation by collaborating and supporting one another.

Elle Hewett, Acoustics Project Engineer

Elle has been fortunate in her career. She’s currently working on one of her most meaningful projects to date—providing acoustic and fire engineering design to a new multi-generational living and health precinct on a university campus. Combining independent living accommodation arranged around a town centre, green heart open space, and a primary care health building will provide a theoretical basis for designs that support health and wellbeing rather than the traditional focus on treating pathogenic disease. This project is exciting to Elle because, as she sees it, students and older generations will live, learn, teach, and play together.

She’s proud to be part of an organisation that doesn't just support incredible projects that benefit our communities but is also a cheerleader for diversity and inclusion. Elle appreciates that at Stantec, we’re given growth opportunities, and she has found great value in unconscious bias training. Studies have concluded that including diverse work teams improves business sustainability—however, many organisations are still learning the value of the invisible earnings that feminine energy brings to organisations, which Elle brings to Stantec as one of our female engineering heroes.

Janelle Kho, Graduate Electrical Engineer

Janelle tends to catch people off guard when she tells them her profession because a female electrical engineer is rare, and she certainly doesn’t fit the stereotype. She's often asked what her job entails—surprisingly, not many people know what our engineering heroes do. “Just by having a conversation with people, especially the younger generation, I help to inform them about engineering, and more importantly, I might encourage others to think about engineering as a career choice.”

As a recent graduate, Janelle is still in the early stages of her career. The project she’s most proud of is at Rhodes Ridge Mine where she completed the electrical and communications design of a generator and cables that fed into a new building. “It was a terrifying experience, but I had lots of support and encouragement from my colleagues. It was the first time I felt like a ‘real’ engineer.”

Janelle looks forward to contributing to projects that help support our communities, and she's excited about upcoming green and sustainable energy solutions for the mining industry that will reduce emissions.

Tanya Moran, Regional Director

With over 18 years in the industry, Tanya has seen and experienced many of the positive impacts our work brings to communities—but the one that stands out for her is the progression of Safe Neighbourhood Streets in Perth. Tanya started assisting a Dutch imagineering workshop led by the Department of Transport in 2015, and in that partnership she helped design and deliver the Safe Active Streets Demonstration Projects, a Dutch cycle street across two local governments in Perth—a first of its kind in Australia.

Fastrack to 2021, there are numerous Safe Street designs across Perth neighbourhoods, all with the same objective: reducing killed or seriously injured road safety statistics by lowering vehicle speeds and designing with vulnerable road users in mind. “Following successful construction, we’ve created twelve more cycle paths across twelve different locations in Perth. Furthermore, our team wrote the precinct design and medium-density guidelines for the Department of Planning, Lands, and Heritage to adopt a Safe Active Street approach.”

Tanya is proud of the work she does. Encouraging more people to cycle instead of using traditional transport for short trips decreases our overall carbon emissions, creating a positive impact on climate change. In addition, safe streets mean the community is encouraged and open to a more active lifestyle, improving mental health through social participation, and above all, saving lives.

To find out more about how women in engineering are active around the globe, visit the International Women in Engineering Day website.

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