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Shoshanna Saxe

Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair Sustainable Infrastructure, Civil and Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto

Year: 2021

Shoshanna Saxe

Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair Sustainable Infrastructure, Civil and Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto

Magic Moment: I have always felt guilty if I didn’t make the sustainable choice (e.g. left the water running or lights on; if I drive when I could bike) it suddenly occurred to me one day in the lunch room that few people think like this all the time. I realized we need to build our infrastructure (our background operating system) sustainably; so the sustainable choice became the easiest one, the default choice. This has been foundational to my entire career since.

Key Influence: Eric Miller and Heather MacLean.

Key Lesson: He is a brilliant researcher and thinker; also warm and encouraging. He is generous of his time and support. He gave me space to experiment and hired me when I needed a job.

She challenged me to be better and pay more attention to the details.

Next Big Challenge As An Industry: We need to figure out how to tackle the dual challenges of both needing more – more housing, more transport, more space for more people – while consuming less. Less construction materials, less pollutions, less stuff overall. A first step is to study the problem, we can’t fix things we don’t understand and don’t measure. Simultaneously we need to act, through experimentations, higher standards, and spending more effort in design and stewardship of our built environment.

On Championing Others… I am a teacher and a cheerleader.

One word that captures you: Persistent. My response to failure is to try again, harder.

Secret Talent: I bake a mean croissant.