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STEM women at WSP contribute to sustainable change

STEM women at WSP contribute to sustainable change

 February 14, 2023

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There are many impressive women working at WSP in STEM roles.

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science, WSP showcases women who, through their daily work at the company, are contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), accelerating the world’s green transition, tackling the climate crisis, and inspiring present and future women in STEM disciplines. 

Protecting waterfront communities

Grace Roberts [pictured above] is a WSP Senior Scientist & Diver from the USA. Grace has turned her passions for scuba diving, marine science and oceanography into a rewarding career at WSP. Her mission to protect the aquatic environment has taken her to a number of exotic destinations, including Guam, Panama and Miami. 

“As an environmental scientist and diver at WSP, I provide information on natural resources, both above and below water, so our waterfront development projects are environmentally self-mitigating," explains Grace.

Grace shares her tips for aspiring scientists: "Get involved and take advantage of every mentorship opportunity that comes your way. The women who came before you are eager to provide guidance and advice while paving the way for the scientists of tomorrow," says Grace. 

Shaping the communities of tomorrow

WSP Transport Planning & Mobility

WSP Head of Transport Planning & Mobility, Noor Hajir, comes from a long line of engineers. One might say engineering is in her DNA. Noor's interests in master planning, sustainable mobility, and user experience have led her to a career in Transport & Mobility Planning, where Noor has the opportunity to lead a dynamic range of projects spanning across all stages of design, construction, and operations. This has had a positive impact on the economic and social wellbeing of communities in the Middle East. 

“I plan how people move across cities, with the goal of making the experience as efficient, sustainable, and enjoyable as possible. It’s a privilege to be part of the mobility industry in this very exciting and pivotal time in history. I get to answer questions never asked before," says Noor.

Noor shares some great advice for aspiring scientists. "STEM education provides you with a strong foundation that develops your critical thinking and pragmatic approach to problem-solving. These are essential skills in all industries, and a STEM degree allows you the flexibility to shift your career in any direction you might want in the future," explains Noor. 

"There is also a misconception that engineers work behind the scenes, when the truth is we spend most of our days interacting and collaborating with colleagues, clients, and creatives from different industries. We are on the cutting edge of innovation and on the front line in fields like technology, medicine, engineering, design, robotics - my advice, speak to as many professionals in the industry as you can, because they will open your eyes to specialties you never knew existed!" adds Noor. 

Supporting clients’ adaptation to climate risks

WSP climate resilience

Based in Canada, Adèle Jackson enjoys a career as a WSP Climate Resilience & Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Lead. Adèle is a technology buff with a strong connection to the environment.

In her spare time, Adèle explores the great outdoors, taking spectacular photos of landscape and wildlife. Fortunately, Adèle has blended these passions into her role leading climate resilience and ESG at WSP. Through her work, Adèle has witnessed some amazing things, such as migrating belugas and caribou. But seeing her very first polar bear left a truly lasting impression.

“Every day, I am proud to contribute to the integration of climate resilience and ESG into our projects, delivering outputs that support our clients in the new normal of adapting to climate risks, social inclusion and equity," says Adèle.

Adèle advises aspiring scientists to "be bold, resilient, passionate, determined and confident." 

"Don’t ever hesitate to share your ideas or speak up. Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. It is always important to look for support. You don’t have to do it alone. There are many strong women and men who would love to mentor you. Remember we will only get there if we get there together," adds Adèle.

Ensuring water quality and sanitation

WSP water treatment

Another Canadian STEM expert, Marie-Noëlle Boisclair, works at WSP as an Engineer & Project Manager in Water Treatment.

Marie-Noëlle helps water treatment facilities’ owners bring their projects to life - from the planning through the commissioning stages. Marie-Noëlle approaches her WSP projects with the same sense of rigour as her adrenaline activities, rock climbing and backcountry skiing, recognizing the key importance of clear and constant communication to avoid dangerous situations. Marie-Noëlle also draws on her knowledge of occupational health and safety measures to make her more alert to risks while practicing her favourite sports.

“I focus on the quality of wastewater returned to the environment. The more effective the treatment process, the better the quality of the water returned to the environment," says Marie-Noëlle.

Marie-Noëlle shares her advice for aspiring scientists: "Each day presents new learning opportunities. Surround yourself with people you trust and who will help you thrive."

Helping clients find the best solutions to tomorrow’s challenges

WSP Lead Advisor

Sweden-based Lead Advisor Ella Wessén has a mission is to work with clients to make the green transition a reality. Ella ensures that all necessary infrastructure permits are obtained while securing Sweden’s raw material supply in an ecologically sustainable way.

“I have the privilege of working with an incredibly talented team dedicated to helping clients reduce their ecological footprint. My specific contribution consists of finding ways to protect water quality and prevent biodiversity loss," says Ella.

Ella loves working with colleagues and clients at WSP to devise technical solutions that make a real difference in mitigating or in the best-case scenario, reversing the negative impacts on the climate. 

Ella encourages aspiring scientists to "be curious" and "dare to ask questions".

"Remember that we can achieve more together than we can individually. If you get a mentorship opportunity, take it. Be aware of your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Strive to find collaborators who complement your weaknesses. Always do your best to be kind," says Ella.

Tackling climate change challenges

WSP renewable energy

Tara Kennedy is a WSP National Energy Sector Lead, Earth and Environment, based in Australia. Tara has a passion for environmental conservation inspired her to study environment and resources law, leading her to a rewarding career helping communities transition to a more sustainable future.

More specifically, Tara helps WSP’s clients navigate complex legislative and policy frameworks to tackle their challenges in climate change and transition to a low-carbon future, particularly with solutions around renewable energy generation and storage. 

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to focus my career on renewable energy while supporting clients through the energy transition. Providing access to clean, cheap energy is critical to reducing long-term climate change impacts in a way that provides a just transition for our communities," explains Tara.

Tara's tips for aspiring scientists: "The challenges we are working on today will evolve significantly over the next 5, 10 or 20 years. Being open to change and new opportunities will allow you to better navigate a world in transformation."

Work for an inclusive and diverse company

WSP is committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse working environment that reflects the communities in which employees work and live. Through ESG commitments, WSP is aiming for a 5 per cent year-over-year increase in the representation of women and under-represented groups.

WSP is striving to advance gender equity in science because it sparks innovation, attracts the best talent and is essential for building a better world.

Enjoy an impactful career at WSP.


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