Three Edmontonians to watch in 2015
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Robin Mazumder, educator (By Lucy Hanes/for Metro)
When occupational therapist Robin Mazumder moved to Edmonton in 2012, he said he never thought it'd feel like home, but two years later, the 29 year-old is immersed in civic happenings, from taking a place on the board of Make Something Edmonton, to helping organize the summer pop-up bike lanes and this month's first-ever YEG snow fight.
“This city is open and engaging — people are encouraged to get involved, and there's support for vision and ideas,” said Mazumder, whose light bright project with the Stanley Milner Library introduced him to a slew of local “ideas” people. He said while 2015 will feature continued conversations about bike lanes, transit and city infill, he hopes the dialogue will result in a united voice, rather than an "us against them" mentality.
“I can't expect everything to happen at once, but I see our potential,” he said. “There's a surge of positive energy at city hall too — it's exciting to imagine what can happen when we harness that energy.”
Samira Farsinezhad, student
As a U of A grad student researching things like transparent conductive materials and nanoelectronics, Samira Farsinezhad knows her specialized work doesn’t translate easily into the commercial industry — not in Edmonton, and at least, not yet.
“I came to Canada and Edmonton because of wonderful, equipped labs like NanoFab and NINT, but I know there are only a few small companies related to this field here,” said Farsinezhad, who will soon finish her PhD in nanotechnology at the U of A’s electrical and computer engineering department. “The choice for me and my peers is either R & D in an industry job or remain in academia. It’s a challenging field that can have a huge effect in future industry, but the city needs to offer better connections between university and industry.”
While the tech industry overall continues to grow in Edmonton — the newly renamed Edmonton Digital Arts College is one example — Farsinezhad said she hopes more companies like Applied NanoTools, Norcada and Micralyne will emerge to keep grads in the city and country.
Chris Chan, cycling advocate
Christopher Chan pedals his message on making Edmonton a bike-friendly city
As executive director of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society (EBC), Christopher Chan said he’s slowed, but not thrown off track in his efforts to make Edmonton a more bike-friendly city.
“Is two streets in four years fast enough? Edmonton’s still new to the concept of bike commuting, so it’s a big step forward, but we’re falling behind other cities in North America,” said Chan, a 30-year-old Barrhead native who has made bikes his business at work and at city hall.
With EBC, Chan offers how-to-ride and bike safety programs, and oversees two volunteer-run bike shops in the city. He said a planned 2015 municipal travel survey will show what he already knows — that more Edmontonians than ever are cycling, not just for recreation but as year-round commuters.
“It’ll be an interesting year for cycling. Now that council has approved developing 102 Avenue and 83rd Avenue, we want to make sure it’s done right,” he said. “People clearly want to bike, but need to feel safe.”