Welcome to Indigenous Futures in Engineering, Queen's University

Sharla Howard

Sharla Howard
Kanehsatake Mohawk
Job title: 
Senior Hydrogeologist

Type(s) of Engineering:

Civil, Environmental, Water Resource
Favourite thing: 

Collaborating with others and continuous challenges

Sharla Howard knew from an early age that she wanted to be an engineer. With an aptitude for mathematics and science and a mechanical engineer for a father, the Kanehsatake Mohawk decided she would pursue what she loves most. After completing a science program at CEGEP, she chose to study civil engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. 

Sharla attributes her success as both a student and a professional engineer to her willingness to keep an open mind and work hard.  She went in thinking she’d be a structural engineer, but found she enjoyed the water related coursework, which changed the direction of both her B.A.Sc. and M.A.Sc. work.

While at university, Sharla faced many of the same challenges as other young people being away from home for the first time. She missed her family and friends in Quebec and felt rather small in the large classes that first-year students often encounter. It didn’t take her long to create a new community of fellow students to share in the anxieties and the triumphs of university life.

After graduation, Sharla worked as an environmental consultant.  In 2008, she moved to Husky Energy in Calgary, where she works in the Upstream Environmental Operations group.   Some of the projects she’s involved with include developing deep groundwater supplies, managing groundwater monitoring programs, and identifying the company’s water use profile and trends.

“I work with different project teams across the company, people with varying specialties and backgrounds. I enjoy the collaboration, and bringing my expertise to a problem,” she says. In addition, Sharla finds her job very interesting and enjoys the constant “new challenges and opportunities to learn.”

Sharla’s advice to young aspiring engineers is to get involved in activities, both academic and recreational, and to not be afraid to ask advice of people who are doing what you want to do. She adds, “I think this is true of anything – if you are passionate about it, you will succeed.”

Life in Calgary offers Sharla a rewarding career as well as adventurous outdoor activities. A former Indigenous Games athlete, she finds fun and physical challenges through running, hiking, road cycling, and mountain biking in the Rocky Mountains. She also volunteers as a ski instructor for visually impaired students with the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing.

It’s clear Sharla Howard is following her passion both in her career and her personal life.


See also:

Profiles of Aboriginal Women in Business, PDF page 20 (Hello I Am An Entrepreneur)



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Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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