Rising Star Researcher Receives Young Women in Energy Award - InnoTech Alberta

Posted on: January 29, 2019

Our very own Shauna-Lee Chai, PhD, a researcher in Ecosystems and Plant Sciences, has been recognized by the Young Women in Energy Network for her leadership in facilitating participation by Indigenous people in the energy sector in Alberta.  Over the last few years, Shauna-Lee has developed a suite of innovative programs focused on environmental sampling, pipeline monitoring, and most recently wildlife monitoring using remote cameras.  She was instrumental in developing the Aboriginal Environmental Services Network (AESN) (https://www.aesninfo.ca/), a web-based platform that fosters interaction between Indigenous communities and its members. The network highlights learning and employment opportunities, and links government and industry agencies with skilled workers to conduct environmental work.  Shauna-Lee’s leadership and dedication have been pivotal in opening new opportunities for Indigenous people in Alberta. Many of the students that have participated in her programs are now working in the environmental industry and a number of them have established their own companies to provide specialized monitoring services, with the energy sector being their primary client.

Shauna-Lee has been able to combine her scientific background with a love of conservation and a deep respect for people of other cultures.  She has found a connection with Indigenous communities in Alberta. “As an immigrant, I feel privileged to work with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. There is something poetic in the first (peoples) and the last (immigrants) coming together. Had it not been for their sacrifices, many of us would not enjoy the benefits we do today”, says Shauna-Lee.

As part of her Young Women in Energy Award, which she formally received in December 2018 at a gala event in Calgary, Shauna-Lee was invited to attend a three-day workshop in Kananaskis Country which focused on empowering emerging female leaders to advance Canada’s Energy Industry.  This experience heightened her awareness of the challenges that women still face in the energy sector and elsewhere and has inspired her to take a more active role in promoting gender equality in the workplace.

Learn more about the Young Women in Energy network (https://www.youngwomeninenergy.com/), and about gender equality
in the energy sector (https://www.equalby30.org/en and https://www.calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com/newsroom/solve-a-thon-promotes-diversity-in-the-energy-sector/).

If you are interested in learning more about Shauna-Lee’s programs, her perspective on gender equality in the workplace, or want to discuss climate change, plant ecology, and invasive species (some of her  research interests), feel free to contact her at Shauna-Lee.Chai@innotechalberta.ca.