“As a community, we need to create a culture that embraces creativity and life-long learning! The world is constantly changing, and the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the future will be immense. The techniques, skills, and knowledge of an engineer must also grow and change to address the challenges of our evolving society.”

At 35 years old, Jennifer Drake leads a research team at the University of Toronto that aims to mitigate the impact that urban centres have on water resources by improving stormwater management infrastructure. She is cross-appointed with the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and is also lead researcher with the award-winning Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory, also known as GritLab. This combined research work, in addition to her role on the Toronto Region Conservation Authority Board of Directors, has had an enormous impact on improving infrastructure policy, including the the City of Toronto’s Green Roof Bylaw and Green Construction Standards, which drew directly on Gritlab’s work. She says, however, that her biggest contributions to the engineering profession will happen via her current and former students—over 30 graduate and 20 undergraduate and counting. She believes that the work they do as water resources engineers will play a critical role in improving the state of urban water resources long-term.

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