Sparking Science Interview: Tooba Shakeel
To celebrate the upcoming 2018 Sparking Science through Mentorship Conference, EcoSpark is featuring two STEM mentors from last year’s conference. Sparking Science is an annual event where women working in STEM mentor grade 9 girls from Durham Region. This year’s event will be held on October 10, 2018 at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. For more information and details, click here.
Introducing: Tooba Shakeel!
Tooba is currently a Sustainable Neighbourhoods Coordinator at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC). She works on both the Sustainable Neighborhoods Programs, where she helps develop neighbourhood action plans using scientific data and expertise knowledge from different stakeholders, as well as the Ecological Landscaping programs, where she helps to educate residents on how to grow and maintain environmentally-friendly gardens.
How did you end up in STEM?
Throughout school, my career aspirations were varied. However, through my extracurricular involvement in environmental issues and taking elective courses in university around sustainability, I realized I could pursue a career in protecting the planet. I completed a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto Mississauga with a double major in Physical Anthropology and Environmental Management, and completed a Master of Science from the University of Toronto in Geography. I am also an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certified Arborist. An arborist is a professional that is knowledgeable about tree biology and physiology and has experience in the practice of arboriculture, which is the cultivation, management and study of individual trees.
How did you find last year’s Sparking Science conference?
Sparking Science 2017 was very inspiring and re-energizing! I met so many amazing young women who asked important questions – some questions were so unique and thoughtful that they made me think hard about my career path. I’m excited to be part of Sparking Science again this year as a STEM mentor.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
My team is currently working on developing a new program and there are a number of unknowns. What would this program ultimately accomplish? What kind of resources do we need? Who can we collaborate with and get support from? I’m excited by the ambiguity of the task and the opportunities that exist in pursuing a new program. Challenges are an enjoyable part of work that keeps me motivated and thinking creatively.
What is something you wish you had known earlier in your career?
I've been passionate about my career from the start so I accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. I wish I knew how to maintain work-life balance earlier in my career. After experiencing a few burnouts, I took the time to educate myself. I relied on many special women and men in my professional and personal circle for advice and support. I have learned and will keep learning about steps for taking care of my own mental health so I can continue to do what I love without feeling burnt out.
Brandon contributed this blog as a Communications Assistant Intern at EcoSpark. He is passionate about environmental education and youth engagement in policy issues. During the school year, he attends the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania where he is completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, with intended concentrations in Marketing and Environmental Policy & Management.