- Role Model -
Name: Sherisse Richards
Occupation: Senior Digital Skills Educator
Employer: Pinnguaq Association
Education: BA (Honours) - Adult Education & Digital Technology, Ontario Tech University
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Current community of residency: Whitby, ON
What does your typical work day involve?
I love the fact that my workday is never routine. Usually, I work from home. I like to start early to check for any new emails from the previous day. I spend a large part of my day utilizing my laptop and other forms of digital technology. I have numerous independent tasks but collaborate with my colleagues daily as well. I must flexible as I prepare workshops, design content, and facilitate training virtually. My job also consists of travelling to different places to facilitate workshops. I really love my job!
What do you love most about your profession? Why did you choose this career?
As an educator, I am enthusiastic about learning, digital technology and collaborating with others. I really enjoy being a part of amazing experiences that stimulate self-discovery and equitable opportunities. I chose this career because caring educators helped me realize my true passion and ability to make a difference. I genuinely believe that education is the gateway to a better future. Access to digital technology is important for all.
When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?
Ever since I was a little girl, my dad always would bring home the latest technological devices. I get my love of tech from him. My mother always made sure that I volunteered with non-profit programs so that I could be of service to my community. My parents really stressed the importance of a great education. They always told me that STEM and skilled trades were areas that I should explore if I desired to do so. Even as a first grader, I knew that I wanted to work in STEAM, but I just wasn't sure in what capacity until high school.
What were your favorite subjects in school?
I particularly enjoyed courses that consisted of using technology or learning about the social sciences. However, I have always had an intense love of learning overall.
What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?
Dream big and work hard. You can attain your dream career. Don't be afraid to ask questions or to seek guidance.
Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?
We need more women in STEM and the Skilled Trades because we have so much to contribute. So many important conversations are taking place and we need to be a part of them. This is the only way to level the playing field in terms of technological access, the wage gap, and other systematic barriers.
Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?
My mother Angela Touzalin was my role model. She was an engineer for a telecommunications company, and she raised a family. She gave me so many life lessons, opportunities to learn, travel and explore. She always told me that it's important to make a living, but that integrity must come first. She never put her goals before the needs of others. I get my love of social justice and volunteering from my mother.
What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?
I love to travel! I'm always trying to get my hands on new digital devices and gadgets. My son and I love to code, design, and sing together. I really enjoy watching documentaries, reading, meditating, and practicing yoga.
What superhero do you relate to most? Why?
The superhero I can relate to is Storm from X-Men. Her ability to change the weather elements for the good of others is amazing to me. I think we all have encountered stormy times in our lives and triumphed to victory. I can relate to her resilience.
Anything else you wish to share?
Always remember that the sky is the limit.
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