In honour of International Day for Women and Girls in Science on February 11, our Chief Scientist Dr. Fred Wrona invited women from across the department to talk about their work and share their experiences as scientists. This is the second of three interviews celebrating the fabulous females in this field.
Shoma Tanzeeba is a hydrologist working in Alberta’s South Saskatchewan Region.
Can you speak to your experience as a female scientist in the department?
At work, although I am often the only female engineer in the room, I found my colleagues and clients to be very respectful and I have not felt adversities as a female engineer.
Tell us about your work as a hydrologist.
I am responsible for providing assessments on the state of water in the region, which support surface water management, regulatory functions and water resources applications under the Water Act. I also provide my expertise during emergency events such as flood and drought, support policy development and participate in provincial and Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) initiatives.
How does your work as a hydrologist impact the lives of Albertans?
As a hydrologist, I provide my subject matter expertise to ensure that government makes informed decisions regarding surface water management, regulation and planning. For example, during water shortage years, I closely monitor the water quantity conditions of the rivers, lakes and reservoirs and help managers to take management actions that are best for our water users and the health of the aquatic environment. I have developed several tools to facilitate these processes so that decisions can be made in efficient manner during emergency situations. I also meet with the stakeholders to update them with provincial water apportionment performance and inform them about the past and future potential water supply situations.
Is there a current project you are especially excited to be working on?
Currently, I am involved in multiple collaborative innovative projects that are funded through the Alberta Environment and Parks Innovation Fund.
One of the projects is developing a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-enabled, web-based tool that can be used to estimate real-time flows on ungauged watersheds in Alberta. This tool will potentially bring consistency to hydrological assessments throughout the province.
Another project I am involved in is the development of a serious gaming tool for integrated water management. Serious gaming brings elements of modelling simulations and game play together. This tool will allow our stakeholders to play around with different water supply and demand management options, which in turn will increase awareness on sustainable water resources management.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the field of engineering?
I would encourage young people who are thinking about studying engineering to seriously consider this option. There are plenty of job opportunities and promising career prospects in this profession. Technology is always evolving and there are many opportunities for innovation and creativity in this field. It is a challenging career and very practical. One can get job satisfaction and pride by being part of a professional community that provides applied, practical and tangible solutions to everyday needs.
Thank you Shoma for bringing your innovation and creativity to Alberta Environment and Parks and for sharing your words of advice! For more on women in science, check out Dr. Wrona’s interview with Tanya Rushcall. Up next, Dr. Cynthia McClain!