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I am a firm believer that every individual action has a ripple effect. I also believe that life is about growth, self-improvement, and learning from others. As a result of this outlook, I have always tried to seek out opportunities that engage with sustainability, especially within my own community. This means that I’m constantly criticizing my own actions, ensuring that they are intentional and have long-standing positive impacts. Advocating for what I believe is right has always been at the forefront of any endeavour I embark on, from my academics to my extracurriculars and even in my personal life.  

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

I believe that businesses that act sustainably are not only attempting to make a profit, but they also have interests in driving positive change. When it comes to sustainable technology, an industry I am interested in pursuing, organizations must draw the line between what they can do and what they should do. Simply put, businesses should consider how their interactions can actually enhance the systems with which they interact, as well as ensuring that their decisions result in more benefits than harms. These are concepts learned from the course I am currently enrolled in called the Tech Stewardship Program. 

What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?  

I have three passions in life: environmental advocacy, gender equity and mental health. 

In addition to my Ivey degree, I am also pursuing a degree in Mechatronics Engineering. Although I can envision myself working at a diverse set of companies, and even across industries, I know that my commitment to these three passions will not waver. This could look like working at a female-founded robotics company that upcycles tires, or incorporating discussions about mental health in the workplace; or even starting my own company constructed to uphold all three of these pillars. How exactly these passions will come into play, I am unsure; however, I know that they will be integral to my professional career. Ultimately, I envision myself as part of a future where businesses are able to craft sustainable solutions that are not only economically viable, but are also transformational. 

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in? 

Throughout my undergraduate career, I spent a large amount of my time with a club called International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM). I started as a general member and progressively took on more responsibility through my role as Director of Human Practices, and later created and fulfilled the role of VP Advocacy. I was also part of the transition of iGEM into Environmental Synthetic Biology (EnviroSynBio), whose new mission is to promote sustainable biotechnology. With EnviroSynBio, I wrote and presented a policy memo regarding wastewater treatment plants to the Ministry of Environment as well as completed primary and secondary research on Ontario’s plastic process and the importance of a circular economy. I also ran an event for Riverfest2022 (a series of events to celebrate and connect with Deshkan Ziibiing, also known as the Antler/Thames River). Our event consisted of a variety of interactive games and quizzes that challenged participants to gain a better understanding of London’s waste disposal guidelines and processes. With a majority of Western students not being from London, this event provided the necessary information for students to begin thoughtfully disposing of their waste. 

Kierra Holowachuk

Kierra Holowachuk

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