Spojmai graduated from Carleton’s Environmental Engineering program in 2015.

When she was young, Spojmai Nawabi wanted to be a doctor. She also had parents who, like many Afghan parents, dreamed of their children becoming doctors, engineers or astronauts — maybe even the Prime Minister of Canada.

“I, on the other hand, just wanted to graduate high school, attend university and get a good job,” she says.

She was raised to be hard working, humble and socially responsible whatever path she chose and, after studying Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Ottawa, Spojmai travelled to Botswana to be a Support Worker. She worked with cancer and HIV/AIDS patients at an interim care facility, which she says was eye-opening.

The experience helped Spojmai to realize that she wanted to make a difference in the well-being and health of individuals. When she returned to Ottawa from Botswana, she enrolled in Environmental Engineering at Carleton to help others by promoting environmental awareness. She remembers her four years spent at Carleton with fondness, having graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in 2015.

Many of Spojmai’s experiences at Carleton involve warmth and welcome. She regularly relied on helpful administrative staff as she wrangled her schedule or registered for an interesting elective course. She felt safeguarded from the winter weather in the tunnels between the buildings. And on a recent campus visit with her five-year old son, he announced that he would become an engineer and go to Carleton University just like his mother.

“That brought a lot of comfort and warmth to my heart,” she says.

She knew environmental engineering was the right fit for her when she started working at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) as a co-op student.

“It exposed me to what life would look like after I graduated,” she says. “I got to see the inner workings of policy and regulation, and I realized these are important parts of environmental impact.”

Spojmai also worked as a Technical Planner at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River for a little over a year, a role she describes as very exciting. Afterward, she went to work at ECCC full-time, where she is a now a Senior Program Engineer in the Transportation Division.

Her job deals with regulating air pollutant emissions from all kinds of vehicles and engines. She provides advice and assistance to manufacturers and importers of engines and machines. She and the regulatory compliance team at ECCC also help them with regulatory submissions such as annual emissions reports.

“Many of the courses I took at Carleton included the science of contaminant and pollutant transport and the engineering of emissions control systems,” she says. “In fact, technical knowledge gained in my final year design project assisted me in getting my most recent promotion!”

For the support she received at Carleton, Spojmai was able to give back to the community by working as a Student Leader as the co-op office for several months.

“I was not only able to help other students in their job searching, resume writing and interviewing process, but I was also able to learn skills that allowed me to be confident in my own career search process,” she says. “I still use the skills that I learned at my co-op in my day-to-day life.”

By: Joseph Mathieu

Monday, September 19, 2022 in , , , , ,
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