Job Title: Research professional, Quantiam Technologies
Why She’s Top 40: She’s helping to create career opportunities for female science and engineering students.
Unexpected Hobby: “I love painting; it’s relaxing, but I’m not very good at it.”
When Shoma Sinha was an undergraduate engineering student at the University of Toronto, she didn’t feel like she totally fit in with her colleagues. Most of it had to do with the fact that she was only one of three women in her field of study.
“And as a grad student, I was the only female in my group,” recalls Sinha. “I’ve been in that environment pretty much my whole career – and that gave me the desire to meet women with similar interests.”
That gender imbalance provided her the impetus to join such organizations as the Alberta Women’s Science Network, which facilitates career advancement for young women and underrepresented ethnicities. Sinha diligently created programs, worked on several AWSN projects and eventually became the organization’s president, a position she held until earlier this year.
In 2008, while still in university, Sinha also developed a mentorship program dubbed Women in Science Engineering and Research, to help women in science-oriented occupations. Using the WISER model, she also co-created Mentor UP, a program designed for established professionals to mentor early-career professionals. But, regardless of the initiative, she’s noticed attendance increase at events she’s developed and the effects of the programs on attendees.
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“I can see the difference in the people who participated, particularly in people who come in looking for support and mentorship,” says Sinha, who believes a level playing field for participants is a win-win situation for all involved. “It’s amazing about the impact that diversity can have and when we all work together, we can achieve a lot more.”