#TechWomen16 at Northgate

October 6, 2016

Time flies when you’re having fun! There are only three more days of the professional mentorship component of the 2016 TechWomen program that began on September 19 at 37 host companies across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Northgate has been a proud participant since the first year of the program in 2011, and has hosted TechWomen Emerging Leaders (ELs) from Morocco, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, and South Africa. This year Northgate is mentoring two ELs: Lisette Shyamba from Rwanda and Ozoda Ismailova from Uzbekistan. During the 15 days that the ELs are at their host company’s office, they work alongside their professional mentors on projects and professional development activities in line with their individual interests and goals.

Lissette is passionate about the environment and is learning about environmental characterization, management, mitigation, and regulation. While at Northgate, she has worked alongside our scientists and engineers to characterize soil that will be excavated for a new recycled water pipeline, and reviewed in-situ cleanup technologies and their relative “environmental footprints” as part of a feasibility study for a groundwater remediation and redevelopment project.

Ozoda is interested in product life-cycle analysis, environmental management systems, pollution prevention, wastewater treatment, and waste minimization. While at Northgate, she has been collaborating with our scientists and engineers on projects related to disadvantaged communities’ drinking water and wastewater systems, and how to use green infrastructure for stormwater treatment. She also learned how urban forestry can help grow healthy communities at the “Connecting Communities through Trees” conference.

Outside of their professional mentorship, the ELs are kept extremely busy attending workshops, seminars, facility tours, and cultural events. On September 27 the ELs and their Northgate mentors—Nancy Hendrickson, Elizabeth Nixon, and Maile Smith—were treated to an eye-, ear-, and nose-opening tour of the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Wastewater Treatment Plant by Wastewater Operations Coordinator, Carol Weir. We had a detailed overview of the sewer systems that feed to the plant and the processes at the plant (primary, secondary, and energy production) followed by a walkthrough of the facility. It was fascinating to learn how the combination of physical, chemical, and microbial processes turn our dirtiest wastewater into water clean enough to discharge into our bay. The ELs also give back to the greater Bay Area community by contributing a day of service. Last Saturday, Lisette packed groceries for Project Open Hand and Ozoda performed invasive species abatement with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Last night, Northgate hosted an East Bay Networking Reception for TechWomen ELs, mentors, and our STEM colleagues who are interested in learning more about the program.

And this Friday, each country cohort will pitch an action plan to address a socioeconomic challenge in their home country. The top action plan teams will receive a seed grant to help implement their project upon returning home. You are invited to join us and the entire TechWomen community at the TechWomen Community Celebration on October 10, where the grant winners will be announced.

Please contact Maile Smith, Northgate Principal Geologist and TechWomen Professional Mentor, if you’d like to learn more about the program and how you can get involved.