Somia Sadiq [B.Env.Sc.(Hons.) Co-op, 2006] is an environmental Planner with AECOM. She became interested in the environment when in her second year at the University of Manitoba, she went to a conference titled Exposed for Life – a Conference on Children’s Health. One of the themes at the conference focused on the role of everyday human psychology in environmental pollution. For example, it was absolutely incredible to see how subtle positive changes that we can bring about in society can quite dramatically influence the lives of people who do not have access to clean drinking water. The conference introduced her, as she puts it "to the warm and fuzzy side of environmental sciences". Today her focus is on the human dimension in environmental assessment. Somia enthusiastically cites her experience in the Co-op program as important in her education as it enabled her to meet practitioners really early on in the program and to start doing environmental assessments mid-way through university. As she was one of the first international students going through the program, it provided a great learning opportunity for both her and the Riddell Faculty in understanding issues such as securing work permits so that international students today can experience smoother transitions into the work force. Somia was so inspired by the program that she even worked as a Co-op Recruiter for a while!
Today Somia is an environmental planner, with a focus on stakeholder and Aboriginal engagement in natural resources management. She not only works full-time but she is also a part-time Masters student at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) at U of M. Somia feels that time and financial management are probably the two greatest life skills the University taught her, but as far as her technical skills are concerned the concepts in environmental assessment and natural resources management helped lay a healthy foundation to which she has been able to add through experience and ongoing professional development. Somia maintains a strong commitment to her profession; to quote her: "I love when I’m able to convince my clients to commit to higher standards than what they’re used to – Like committing to more mitigation measures to further reduce an environmental impact, or more monitoring efforts to measure the effectiveness of proposed mitigation. It is always tricky to convince people to go beyond the minimum standards, and when I can pull that off, it restores my faith in what I do".