Ten winners from across Canada were announced Thursday by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLE).
“I cannot stress strongly enough how worthy a candidate Samia Sami is for the 2021 3M National Student Fellowship,” wrote Professor Tony Chung, one of Sami’s nominators. “Samia has set out to create a positive change in our world. I feel confident in saying that this is only the beginning for Samia, and her commitment towards a diverse, sustainable future holds much promise.”
It is the latest award for Sami, whose dedication to sustainable innovation led to her receiving the 2021 Global Citizen Youth Award from the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation; she was also recognized as Canada’s Top IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Power and Energy Society Scholar in 2020.
“She stood out for her enthusiasm and dedication to her academics and research, along with excellent communication, and interpersonal skills,” Chung wrote.
Sami, who had considered a career practising environmental law, eventually chose engineering because it allowed her to combine two of her passions: the environment and the technical aspects of engineering.
“I think engineering gives a skill set, a mindset, to really approach things from a direct perspective. We really have this responsibility to serve the community in a lot of different ways,” she says.
Her citation on the STLHE website provides a snapshot of several of her activities as an undergrad, including:
• Being named one of Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25
• Providing one-on-one mentoring as an Engineering Learning Coach and by facilitating weekly sessions on skills for academic success as a co-leader of an Engineering Learning Community
• Performing student advocacy as an Academic Commissioner of the Saskatoon Engineering Students’ Society
• Organizing the IEEE Illumination Conference 2020 and serving as Global Ambassador at the WomenTech Network
• Organizing gender-inclusive initiatives as Vice President of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) USask Chapter
• Conducting research in the area of renewable microgrids and the observability of solar integrated distribution systems
“Her dedication to leadership and learning is truly impressive, matched only by her indefatigable work ethic,” Chung wrote.
Sami says that during her time as an undergrad, she has drawn inspiration and motivation from several people: professors, classmates, family, and friends. Her nomination package for the fellowship was a welcome opportunity to reflect. “It was like a yearbook where all my four years of work are highlighted and I was able to reflect back on them.
"It really helped me connect dots between all of my experiences and I saw, ‘That’s how I did it. That’s why I did it.’ ”
After graduation, Sami will begin a job at SaskPower, though she plans to return to USask in future to earn her Master’s degree, continuing her undergraduate research.