Meet the Women in Engineering at MHnS

Honoring extraordinary women who are engineers that are breaking barriers and creating positive change in our world.

Women have historically been underrepresented in engineering, but this is changing. More women are entering the profession and becoming leaders. Celebrating their achievements challenges stereotypes, fosters inclusivity, and encourages more women to consider engineering careers.

Women who are engineers offer unique perspectives that drive innovation. Recognizing their contributions signifies progress in the field, though there is still work to be done. We must continue to dismantle gender barriers and create a welcoming environment for everyone.

At Morrison Hershfield now Stantec, we proudly share the inspiring stories of our colleagues making significant impacts. Our goal is to inspire more women to pursue fulfilling careers in engineering.

TaraWhat do you do at work? I insulate and I facilitate. I insulate the noise from my team - information coming from a client that isn’t relevant in terms of the project delivery so that the project team can focus on the task at hand and the deliverable at hand. And facilitate - having processes and procedures and tools in place so that I can help my team deliver what it is that they're working on. I am also the last set of eyes on deliverables as before they go out the door. At the end of the day, any issue that your team comes up against, that's your issue. Any issue that the client presents, that's your issue. It keeps you on your toes for sure.

Why did you choose to go into engineering? I really enjoyed math and my whole life, I really enjoyed the logic aspect of it, that it's very black and white. And that enjoyment of math, coupled with my enjoyment of problem solving and big picture thinking led me to engineering as a viable career path. I also really liked the idea of being able to graduate from university with a degree that a had a clear career path and but was also quite versatile. Tara quote

How did you get to where you are today? I was influenced originally in my path in academics by my family. In my career, I've been extraordinarily lucky to work with strong mentors. I can recall at the time when I first started, a senior engineer sitting with me and going through how to design X and spending hours reviewing and answering any questions and always being a point of support. And then on the project management side, the same thing I've had people who have gone out of their way to have conversations with me, answer questions and take a chance on me.

How does the work you do affect people’s lives and the communities you serve? I’m in the buildings group, so our focus is on that vertical infrastructure. We design things like transportation hubs which, once constructed, will serve the city. A lot of the time the buildings that we work on are going to be used by the community or have that direct link to community. On the surface it may not look like it's community serving, but I can't think of any one of my projects that doesn't have a tie to community.

As a professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering? Just being a woman in engineering and staying in that field of practice is an influence to help advancement of women in engineering. I think the more girls growing up see women in this industry and in these roles is a good influence. I also think reciprocating the mentorship that I've gotten to others and being an example of balance in life and career as women in engineering. I've got a 2-year-old girl, so being an example of showing that you can have a full and successful career and have a life outside of that career.

Tara quote 2Tips for starting and building a successful career in engineering. Absorb as much as you can. Learn as much as you can. Ask as many questions as you can but do your due diligence first and try to solve things yourself and bring a solution to the table. 

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? I'm a big reader. My go to is murder mystery fiction. I also spend a lot of time playing with my toddler these days, going for walks and taking her to the park.

When I was in high school, I was …. I think I very much the same. I was academic but, pretty social, very positive. I've always been a very positive, optimistic person, always excited for new things and learning and growing. I saw myself where I am now. I've been very fortunate in life that I'm very satisfied in my career in satisfied in my family life.

ShravyaWhat do you do at work? The majority of my work is office based where I plan and design drainage for major civil engineering projects such as roads and bridges. I undertake hydrologic and hydraulic modeling and analysis of highway drainage systems, including bridges, culverts, ditches etc. for public sector clients and conservation authorities. I also have occasional field visits, which I find super exciting!

Why did you choose to go into engineering? I was always interested and fascinated by science, especially physics and geography, and deciding to choose engineering came easy to me as I liked solving problems with creative thinking. I was drawn towards civil engineering due to the idea of designing and constructing infrastructure that serves communities.

How did you get to where you are today? I grew up in a small, laid back, yet a beautiful town in southern India where I completed my schooling and undergrad. Growing up I didn’t have much exposure to the opportunities that studying/ working abroad held. It was during the pandemic I came across the idea of doing Masters in Canada, and my family has always been very supportive of my choices and decisions. Once I moved here, I networked a lot, and I met some amazing folks who helped me through my journey. I sure had my fair share of setbacks but understanding that it's just a part of the process helped me get to where I am today. Shravya quote

How does the work you do affect people’s lives and the communities you serve? The work I do has a critical role in managing one of the world's most vital resources- water. I get to help develop strategies to mitigate the impact of flooding on communities by designing and developing flood control infrastructures and stormwater management systems. We also work to preserve and restore natural water ecosystems by developing strategies for managing water resources sustainably, while also balancing the human needs within needs of the environment. In addition to this, we work towards controlling the rainfall runoff, which impacts the water infrastructures for urban communities and designing all of this while keeping the climate change in mind.

As a professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering? I think by talking to more and more people about my profession, I could bring awareness to it, especially among young girls. Also, showcasing the work of women in engineering, through conferences or seminars, and promoting these via social media. And I think by just excelling in what I do, I could lead by an example to help break barriers and stereotypes. I would also advocate for diversity and inclusion within my workplace and offer support and guidance for anyone who needs it.

Shravya quote 2What activities do you enjoy outside of work? Outside of work you can find me hiking in the woods and traveling. I love binging documentaries, movies, and sitcoms. I also have budding interest in photography, and I would like to join community service clubs sometime in the near future.

When I was in high school, I was …. The shortest girl in the class who was always interested in activities outside the classroom!


LexyWhat do you do at work? I look for opportunities to integrate sustainability into building design, considering environmental impact and sustainability features as well as climate resilience. I also try to stay abreast of the most current relevant emerging areas in the climate change space.

Why did you choose to go into engineering? I was looking for the area where I would have the most opportunity and would have to write the fewest essays and I loved math and physics. Another driver was partly the École Polytechnique massacre. I was applying for school when it occurred, and it was additional motivation to stand up for women in engineering and science. I wasn't trying to make a big political statement, but I felt like it was important to move forward and show that that women can do this and are deserving of being in these roles and undertaking these areas of study. I have always been very influenced by people telling me I can't do something because then I go and do it.

How did you get to where you are today? I had managers who believed in me and were willing to let me try and fail and support me. I think part of one of the reasons I was able to move ahead was that I would always identify gaps in what we were doing, and I'd jump in. Because I've been willing to step up and start undertaking additional activities and just try it and I was being supported, I was able to take on new exciting opportunities including moving to a different country despite not having a ton of experience.

Lexy quoteWhat motivates you in your career? I've always been passionate about working on environmental issues. Even when the work we are doing is smaller scale, it shows that change is possible. That is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Could I be working in an area that's more lucrative? Probably, but that's not what I want to be doing. I want to make sure that I'm doing something that I can live with where I feel like I'm making a difference in in an area that I'm passionate about.

How does the work you do affect people’s lives and the communities you serve? On the climate resilience side, we're trying to make sure that communities and infrastructure operators and owners can continue to offer the services and provide that level of quality of service for whatever the infrastructure is, whether it's a building or a road or a bridge or an entire municipality of different assets, they need to provide a certain level of service. Working to make sure that our communities, residents, and people who work in these areas and these buildings are kept safe from the changing climate. And then on the decarbonization side, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is important to sustainability and we can do that on a building-by-building basis, or at scale across hundreds or thousands of buildings. We can replace fossil fuel-burning heating systems with clean energy sources or find other ways to reduce emissions.

Lexy quote 2As a professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering? Having the opportunity to be present as somebody who has worked in this arena for a while means that they are able to see that there is opportunity for women in the industry. Early in my career there wasn't many other women who I could point to and say, oh, there's somebody who's gone through this before so at least I can be present and demonstrate that there are other women who have paved the way and who have gone through this.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? I love being outdoors, I spend a lot of time hiking in the forest and mountains. My teenagers take a lot of energy, but I ensure that I have time for myself. I play a lot of sports, particularly Ultimate Frisbee and some soccer. I also do some trail running, paddle boarding, yoga, skiing, and snowboarding. I play piano and I have been teaching myself ukulele the last three years. I'm obsessed with my dog and I just love taking her for hikes in the forest.

When I was in high school, I was …. I was definitely not in the popular crowd. People didn't really know where I fit in. I was very academic in high school, but I also did sports. I was on the math team and the cheerleading team. I think I was always independent and introverted. Once I got to university I found my people. I was happy to be done with high school!

Joan pic

What do you do at work?  I focus on minimizing risk exposure for MHnS by implementing targeted practices, policies, and procedures tailored to the types of projects we deliver to our clients. We have a robust project delivery system that ensures high-quality outcomes. As the firm continues to mature, our technical expertise, project delivery, and project management capabilities also advance. By continually strengthening our project delivery system, we are positioning ourselves to become leaders in the industry.

Why did you choose to go into engineering?  My decision to pursue engineering was influenced by my dad who is also an engineer. Watching him work on various innovative projects had a significant impact on me. He contributed to developing prosthetics for children's hospitals, built components for space exploration, and created a laser leak detection system for automotive assembly lines. Witnessing these remarkable achievements firsthand sparked my passion for science. My father's work inspired me deeply, leaving me with no doubt that engineering was the only career path for me.

How did you get to where you are today?  After graduating from university, I gravitated towards roles that involved both problem-solving and improvement, which allowed me to continuously grow and develop my skills. Throughout my career, I've been fortunate to be surrounded by strong, powerful, and intelligent female engineers, both within Morrison Hershfield and in the broader engineering community. Their mentorship and support have been instrumental in my journey. Joan Quote

How does the work you do affect people’s lives and the communities you serve?  My role ensures that the quality of our work adheres to rigorous standards, positively impacting our clients, our communities, and our people. By upholding ethical engineering practices, we contribute to making the world a better place. The policies and procedures we implement at MH are designed to enhance our projects, making them safer and more environmentally friendly. One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is the ability to collaborate with all staff, creating meaningful and lasting differences in the communities we serve.

As a professional, how can you influence the advancement of women in engineering? The best thing we can do is be positive role models. Get out in the community, work with girls of all ages and encourage them. I coach a program called Girls on the Run for grades 3 to 5 which not only teaches girls how to run but also strengthens foundational life skills such as kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness, and self-advocacy. By building these skills, we empower young girls with the energy, confidence, and resilience needed to succeed in any future career, including engineering. Joan quote 2

What activities do you enjoy outside of work?  I volunteer as the Head Coach and Regional Liaison for a program called Girls on the Run. I also love anything adventurous—whether it’s skiing, mountain biking, or hiking. I really like outdoor activities. I also enjoy cooking and spending time with my husband and daughter.

When I was in high school, I was …. I was both an academic achiever and a varsity athlete. I’m from a very small town, my graduating class in grade 12 consisted of just 60 students, so I often felt like a country mouse! Even then, I knew engineering was my calling and pursued it with passion.

Merriam picWhat does your job title mean? As a Building Energy Engineer, I’m responsible for ensuring that buildings are designed and operated to be energy-efficient. This involves evaluating and optimizing the architectural, mechanical, and electrical systems to meet energy codes and standards. My role includes analyzing energy usage, recommending improvements, and implementing solutions that reduce energy consumption and improve sustainability. The goal is to create environmentally friendly and cost-effective buildings, balancing performance with regulatory requirements.  

Why did you choose to go into engineering? My dad is a civil engineer, as a kid I visited work sites with him and saw him bring home drawings and calculations. This inspired me. I was always interested in the all the construction work and wanted to follow my dad's footsteps. I also had a strong passion for science, math, drawing, and art. Engineering allowed me to combine these interests, enabling me to create functional and aesthetically pleasing designs. Merriam quote 1

What motivates you in your career? I am motivated by solving problems and finding innovative solutions, especially those related to climate change, passive design and sustainability. Helping designers and architects improve their designs from an energy perspective excites me. I enjoy conducting research, analyzing data, and developing optimal solutions that benefit people, society, and the environment.

How does the work you do affect people’s lives and the communities you serve? Our work makes a big difference in everyday life by making buildings more energy-efficient, which saves money on utility bills and reduces our environmental impact. We ensure homes and offices are comfortable and healthy places to be. By meeting energy regulations and using sustainable practices, we help create stronger, greener communities.

merriam quote 2Tips for starting and building a successful career in engineering My suggestion to the young engineers is to keep the big picture in mind when working on a project, you must think of all parts from the beginning to the end to make sure that what you are suggesting makes sense. It’s always important to keep in mind how one part might affect the others. You have to consider how all those things involve the people, the stakeholders, etc. who are also affected by that decision or in that things that you are doing. That is what makes a good engineer.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? I'm very active and love hiking whenever I have time or when the weather is good. Being out in nature is one of my favorite activities.

When I was in high school, I was …. I was a very active person. I was on the basketball team in high school. I also knew for sure I wanted to be an engineer. I didn't think about any other options.

Morrison Hershfield is a market leading, employee-owned professional engineering and management firm that has been making a difference since 1946. We deliver technically sophisticated, cost effective and sustainable infrastructure solutions across the globe.

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