Samia Sami is already making her mark as an award-winning student and a future engineer who is committed to building a more sustainable future. She recently received the 2021 Global Citizen Youth Award from the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC).
In this article, the SCIC outlined why Sami was chosen for the award and spoke to her about her journey so far and where she sees hope for the future.
SCIC honours Sami for her advocacy about building a sustainable future
Samia Sami is pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan (UofS). By specializing in power and energy, she combines her passion for the environment with a love of design and technology.
Samia conducted two research projects in renewable energy, including the use of artificial intelligence to predict the security status of renewable microgrids in remote communities across Canada and has received the People’s Choice Award in recognition of her research. As a USask delegate, Samia presented her research at the Women in Science and Engineering National Conference in Toronto.
Samia demonstrates a strong commitment to the advancement of sustainable energy in Saskatchewan. She has been selected from Canada to be the 2020's Top IEEE Power and Energy Society Scholar. As a Chair of IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) Student Chapter at the UofS, Samia is committed to providing an international platform for post-secondary students to advance their careers and education in sustainable energy.
Samia is deeply passionate about sustainable innovation. She has co-founded the Saskatoon Solar Shelter project to provide access to sustainable public transit in the city. Samia has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 by The Starfish Canada for her contributions to the advancement of sustainable energy.
Samia coordinated the 2020 IEEE Illumination Conference in Saskatchewan which increased the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion in engineering. The Conference promoted women in engineering and built self-confidence among female engineering students by recognizing the importance of having women work together and share experiences. As Vice President of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) USask Chapter, Samia manages the EWB USask Chapter operations and collaborates with the EWB network on environmental sustainability and gender inclusion initiatives.
Samia is committed to the ongoing pursuit of knowledge and promoting actions necessary to achieve her vision of a prosperous community where people belonging to all races, cultures, religions, and gender collectively work towards a sustainable future.
What does Global Citizenship mean to you?
Global citizenship constitutes recognizing and fulfilling our rights and responsibilities as a common humanity. The journey towards global citizenship starts by acknowledging that we have much more in common than we have differences and continues with utilizing our skills, knowledge, and expertise to leave the world better than we found it. For a global citizen, no change is too small. Every change starts from within yourself and then ripples across your family and friends, peers and colleagues, school and university, community, city, province, country, and the world. On a personal level, determined to foresee my vision of a diverse, sustainable community, as a global citizen, I will continue to help others find their voice in the areas that matter to them the most and inspire them to follow on my sustainable journey.
Where do you find your inspiration?
People like me need to fight to have our voices heard. As a woman, a person of colour, and an immigrant, there are many opportunities in life for which people like me are deemed unfit. As the first female in my family to pursue an engineering degree, I struggled to break down the cultural barriers in my community. My parents are my greatest source of inspiration. I have received a lot of guidance and motivation from my parents throughout my education. My father is a proud power engineer and highly engaged in his profession. He has helped shape my academic career. My mother is an excellent role-model who, by raising three kids while completing her graduate studies, demonstrated that with the right mindset, one can achieve anything. With each twist in my life, my parents have helped me pause, reflect, and grow.
What do you see as one of the most encouraging or innovative trends that is creating positive change in our world right now?
I view diversity and inclusion in Artificial Intelligence (AI) as one of the most innovative and inspiring trends. From medical devices, smartphones, social media to sustainability and self-driving cars, AI is being increasingly integrated into our daily lives. However, what makes diversity in AI beautiful is that with an equal voice, representation and opportunities, AI-based solutions would more accurately and creatively seek to solve the real concerns of the global population. AI assists in turning our ideas into reality. By making AI education and career opportunities more accessible to women and recognizing women as agents of change, the industry would benefit from the diversity of thoughts and opinions, creativity, and innovation to help shape our future. As the pace of change in the AI industry accelerates, a paradigm shift in diversity is emerging. I believe this paradigm shift in diversity is the future of AI.
Canada's National Observer spotlights Samia Sami
As part of a series highlighting the work of young people in adressing climate change, Canada's National Observer interviewed Samia Sami about how her father inspired her and why she is working in the sustainable energy field.
Sami steps out of comfort zone into summer research experience
In the summer of 2019, Samia Sami completed a summer research internship working with Dr. C. Y. (Tony) Chung at the SMARTGEN (Smart Grid and Energy Network) lab, which investigates smart grids, electric power systems and renewable energy. She spoke about what made her experience both challenging and rewarding.