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Jiya Shoaib, MEPP '10

Technical knowledge informs good public policy

Several years of working as an engineering graduate in the private energy sector led Jiya Shoaib to the recognition that good policy making required a sound understanding of technical principles.

“I wanted to be able to influence such public policy,” says Shoaib, who brought her desire to contribute to the public good to the Master’s in Engineering and Public Policy (MEPP) program.

Now a power system planner with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), Shoaib says her job involves developing business cases for electricity infrastructure projects, advising government bodies on policies and investments, and engaging with municipalities, Indigenous communities, and utilities to build consensus  and align priorities on contentious infrastructure projects.

“We are a neutral party with a mandate to recommend what’s in the best interest of the provincial electricity ratepayer,” she adds.

The 2010 MEPP graduate works on complex project with long lead times. “The things that we recommend typically don’t make it into implementation for five or more years,” she says. “So it’s a great feeling to see projects I’ve recommended make it through the regulatory process and into operation.”

One surprising advantage to the MEPP program has been the development of a strong network with other program graduates, says Shoaib.

“I had the opportunity to meet other like-minded engineering students with similar aspirations,” she says. “We have all ended up in different industries – from environment to healthcare – but we have a strong network that exposes us to different types of dissemination of information, ideas and critical analysis.”

Her advice for today’s engineering students: “Take a writing course and a presentation course -- an engineer that can logically disseminate technical information to decision makers is a powerful combination.”

“And remember that the world is your oyster and you can be anything at any time,” she adds. “This will not be my last career, and it’s a boon to have an engineering undergrad as my foundation as I keep moving forward.”