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September STEM Showcase - Shania Bhopa Interview

Updated: Sep 12

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and [your instagram account] @wellbyshaniabhopa.


A: I am a second generation Canadian born and raised in the GTA. My upbringing revolved around health and wellness with a naturopath as a mother and a physician as a sister. I created @wellbyshaniabhopa to inspire and educate those around me with evidence based information.


I am a Masters of Global Health student and a certified personal trainer with experience in launching two of my own companies.


As a young girl I felt as though there were always questions I had regarding my hormones, and my immunity and all the diet trends that were thrown at us - at such a young age. I was fortunate enough to have my mother and sister as my resources for health help, but for many if not most young girls they do not have access to such resources. Wellbyshaniabhopa is our way of helping young girls and providing them with trusted information. We are currently in the midst of writing a guidebook that will encapsulate the most current health and well researched information that we hope to be in the hands of every young woman.

Q: How did your passions for entrepreneurship and wellness develop through your journey towards pursuing global health and advocacy? What do you love most about your field of study?


A: As a child I remember I always had the urge to help others. I love teaching and I love communicating with my peers in a way that is progressive and thoughtful. Entrepreneurship for me has been this extreme risk that I have taken to build my resilience and empowerment. It was a very slow process at first, and especially with my media company I started with a social media presence and my close circle of friends and family, and as you build that confidence to promote your work the right clients will find you.


I find that women especially are often deemed “unqualified” or “incapable” of ever owning their own business. This common assumption is what fuels my fire every single day. Once I began brainstorming with my sister on the stream of non-profit organizations we wanted to create and build, the most critical responses came our way. We often heard from our close circle “that's too hard, you can't do that” and this one line sentence was thrown at us every step of the way. This to me is something that built my sense of empowerment and prompted us to fight harder and be stronger than we ever have before. Then the Canadian Courage Project, a registered organization was born. Our goal is to help homeless youth in the GTA that may own an animal. Animals promote positive mental health and we understand the financial burden this may cause for many youth. Our goal is to alleviate as much of that stress as possible.


Something I love most about my field of study is the ability to connect with others and create change for our future youth. My entrepreneurial side complied with my love for health communications has led me into an exciting new phase in my life as I begin my Masters of Science Program as a global health student. My desire to help those around me and enforce optimal health measures is what I am excited for most in the Global Health program. I hope to combine my passions for health, wellness, advocacy and female empowerment in my new learning adventure.


Q: How do you believe we can inspire more young girls to pursue STEM?


A: We need to shatter stereotypes, instill confidence, and encourage girls to follow their dreams. Some of the most critical people you will ever meet are often in your close circle, and I believe that if we instill confidence from within, there will never be the harsh influence from external sources pushing young girls to confide within the stereotypes. We need to push boundaries together, and allow everyone to have the desire to feel passion in a career or hobby they choose.

Q: What challenges have you faced throughout your journey and what coping mechanisms have you/ and do you rely on to overcome these difficulties?


A: The challenge of believing or trusting other people's opinions. I really learnt how to self manage and understand how to cope with the external pressures associated with pushing norms and boundaries from educational podcasts. I really do believe that if you have not lived in my shoes or experienced some of the things I hope to experience, why do I trust your opinion? Understanding and believing in yourself from within is crucial to longevity. I rely on meditation and exercise as a form of connecting with myself on a daily basis, to create that bond between my soul and my head. This strength from within has only motivated me over the years.


Q: Has mentorship played a role in your journey? If so, how?


A: Yes I rely on mentors such as my sister or my mom, or professors I have meant throughout my educational journey. Finding mentors that believe in you and have the desire to push you are crucial. I think for young women it is hard to find strong female mentors that push boundaries and want to create change.


Q: What has been your biggest achievement to date?


A: My biggest achievement to date would have to be the scholarships and grants I have received to go to graduate school, fully funded. In Canada and especially being from an arts background, it is often deemed impossible to receive scholarships for education. I am so pleased to say that 98% of the funding I received are from external sources outside of my university. I worked really hard to research and find these opportunities, and will be sharing my tips in an upcoming educational webinar very soon.


Q: What are 3 key messages you hope to convey to your large social media audience?


A:

  1. Be yourself, be confident in who you are, and believe that you can DO ANYTHING

  2. Health is wealth, understanding that wellness comes from within and your way of life will be optimal once you understand that being and staying well is essential for your mind, body and soul

  3. Fuel your fire with your passion, step out of your comfort zone and trust the process.


Instagram: @wellbyshaniabhopa

LinkedIn: Shania Bhopa


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