Simona Touma; @Team6875
What grade are you in?
I’m in grade 11 and I am currently studying English, computer science, visual arts, math, biology, business, French and fashion studies. In post-secondary, I would like to study fashion or digital design.
Tell us about your biggest accomplishment to date!
Being a part of the Amazon Warriors team [believed to be the first all-female and female-mentored robotics team in Canada] and competing in the FRC Worlds competition togeher.
Can you describe a typical day, detailing everything you do from when you first get up to when you head back to bed?
I wake up at 6 a.m. on a typical weekday to get ready for the day. I then take the bus to school and attend my classes. After school, I participate in a variety of extracurriculars—including school plays, robotics, my school’s comic book club, and help out at my local church. Then I complete my homework and have dinner with my family. In the evenings, I like to save time to work on my sketches [which consist of] usually whatever comes to mind. In my art class, we’re told let our imagination run wild. However, this year, we’re doing our own exhibits with our own theme; mine is ‘Fashion Through the Ages.’
What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten in relation to following your dreams?
I was told that going into a career in the arts was an unwise decision and was pushed to pursue a medical career. I don’t have any desire to pursue that line of work. Instead, I am choosing to follow my passion.
What would you say has been the most significant challenge in life you’ve had to face to date? How did you overcome it (or learn to live with it)?
Before joining this team, I was terrified of social situations. This was especially difficult to deal with on the robotics team because there are many social interactions involved—including answering judges’ questions and doing presentations. With the help and encouragement from my team, I now feel more confident talking to people.
When you’re feeling low about school or something else, what’s the one thing you always do/watch/read/listen to bring yourself back up again?
I like talk to friends or other family members and watch comedy shows (like Big Bang Theory) to cheer me up.
What’s the number one biggest issue facing young women your age in Canada right now? How can this be fixed/eliminated?
I hate the fact that sexual assault is still a very common issue. Recent studies have shown that 52% of women have been sexually harassed in the workplace and, even worse, when they spoke up about it, 75% of them experienced retaliation. One of the scariest parts is that women ages 15 to 24 are 18 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women of other ages—and we’re not even legal adults yet. I believe that there also needs to be a safe places for women to speak up about these assaults and more protection overall.
What’s your best piece of advice for other young women who want to make a difference in the world?
Keep doing what you’re passionate about and don’t let anyone stop you.