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Sura Abdul-Razzak, BEng Scty '07, MEPP '08

Mechanical Engineering & Society | Engineering a better world

Sura Abdul-Razzak always knew she wanted to make an impact.

That desire drew her to the Mechanical Engineering & Society program, and after earning her undergraduate degree in 2007, led her to the Master of Engineering and Public Policy program, where she specialized in environmental systems and energy policy.

Both degrees allowed her to explore ways to marry her technical skills and her interest in serving the public good, says Abdul-Razzak, who has spent the last decade in roles related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and public policy.

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency offer a way to move toward a better society for people,” she says. “To me, it’s less about a specific technology, but more of an avenue to address the social issues. The environment impacts people, it impacts quality of life, it impacts future generations.”

Encouraging people and companies to embrace energy conservation is at the heart of Abdul-Razzak’s current position. As supervisor of program design with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the agency tasked with delivering electricity and providing long-term electrical planning for the province, she oversees the team that designs conservation initiatives.

 “My team is responsible for the designing and updating or modifying energy efficiency programs to make sure they are relevant to the marketplace,” she says.

The job gives her the satisfaction of knowing that she’s using her skills to help people, and also allows her to work with very talented experts on an important issue.

“I like where I’m at because it gives me a high-level, strategic view of where we are in the province,” she adds. “I feel like I can have some influence on issues that I care about.”

She encourages students to avoid rigidity in their career plans.

“Experiment a little bit, whether in your job, your volunteer work, or your school, and try to be a little bit flexible,” she says. “You’re going to learn about new things that you don’t even know exist right now and your interests might also change over time.”