Zeenat Ladak, 2019 Athena Outstanding Volunteer
Born and raised in Markham, Ontario, Zeenat took an interest in mathematics and science from a young age. She went on to pursue an undergraduate degree in Honours Biochemistry at York University in Toronto. Over the course of her degree, she tutored kids from grades 1 to 12 in math and science, initiating her later interest in helping children and youth, and mentorship. Following her BSc, Zeenat was enthusiastic to kick start her career whilst being able to travel and explore the rest of Canada. In the summer of 2017, she moved to Edmonton, Alberta where she worked as a Research Assistant in analytical chemistry and volunteered at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. She recognized her strong dedication towards child health and education and started pursuing a Masters of Science in Pediatric Neurology at the University of Alberta in the Fall of 2018. Zeenat’s research focuses on using natural health products to prevent neurodevelopmental disabilities in children. She hopes to develop skills as a researcher, and pursue a PhD in the future. During her masters, Zeenat has taken on the role of Co-President for the Pediatric Graduate Students’ Association where she provides academic and social opportunities to fellow grad students. She has taken the opportunity in this role to create and run a brand-new mentorship program from the ground up. Zeenat is spirited about career development and its importance for youth. She works part-time at the UofA Career Centre helping the UofA community with resumes, cover letters, applications, and giving overall career advice. She also shares her knowledge of career exploration as a mentor with the Youth netWORK Program under Big Brothers Big Sisters. Zeenat believes bridging the gap for youth without any work experience to finding their first job is one of the most important steps in a young professional’s career. As a member of the non-profit organization Women in Science, Engineering and Research (WiSER) since 2018, Zeenat takes part in planning and executing events that provide individuals with an opportunity to establish or advance their career in STEM. From 2018-2019, Zeenat’s primary role was Mentorship Co-Lead where she organized a year-long mentorship program for undergraduates and early career professionals. She is now in a leadership role as Co-Chair with WiSER and is excited to see the organization thrive!