WRC Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient 2020
Arshiya Shareef is an epidemiology researcher with Alberta Health Services. She graduated from UCalgary with a biological sciences degree with distinction in 2018.
Her work as a researcher led her to discover that despite the policies in place, Canadians were still being exposed to cancerous drugs. This then got her to look into occupational policies around the globe to help reform Canadian policies and guidelines.
Shareef has co-authored a research paper on the topic which led to three provinces initiating changes to occupational safety. Her work has also been presented nationally.
Shareef grew up in a small town in India where girls are discouraged from getting an education. She was also part of a religious minority in her community which led to further difficulty. This didn’t deter her however, and Shareef kept up with her studies and ensured she sat her exams at the end of each year. She even graduated high school at the top of her class. She also managed to secure scholarships so she could study in Canada.
Shareef is passionate about community and helping other women. She started an initiative, TruBeau, to empower young women by promoting body positivity as an act of self-care. As another way of giving back to her community, she has successfully tutored seven girls in India for English language proficiency tests and all enrolled in post-secondary in the United States, Sri Lanka and Singapore.
Locally, Shareef has done a lot of work for Syrian refugees including co-leading a youth group, hosting community events and conducting workshops to educate them on topics such as youth employment and post-secondary education. She is also a blood drive organizer for the Muslim Association of Canada’s Calgary chapter and hosted drives during low donation times – Christmas, New Year and over the summer months – to cover blood shortages.
Shareef is hoping to pursue medical school.