Shalini Jagnarine-Azan MIStructE
Date published

30 March 2021

Back to Previous

Shalini Jagnarine-Azan MIStructE

Career Profiles
Date published

30 March 2021

Shalini Jagnarine-Azan MIStructE talks about her experiences in the humanitarian and international development sector. Shalini is a full member of the Institution's Humanitarian and International Development Panel and a Council and Board member.


Describe your current role


A structural engineer consultant and disaster risk reduction specialist with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). I am involved in the technical monitoring and execution of a project called Smart Hospitals aimed at improving the resilience of healthcare infrastructure across seven low GDP countries.

The project is designed to improve critical facilities’ ability to withstand natural hazards and adapt to climate change. I also form part of the PAHO/World Health Organisation (WHO) disaster response team if there are any major events regionally or globally.
 

Describe your path to your current role


My career started with a traditional undergraduate degree in civil engineering, followed by two years of work experience in a design office, before doing my masters degree in structural engineering. I continued working for structural design offices in Trinidad and Jamaica.

During this time I was very active with the IStructE regional group, which offered great networking opportunities with more senior and renowned engineers. When the position at PAHO/WHO opened in the Jamaican Department of Preparedness and Disaster Response, which was far outside my typical sphere of design work, I was encouraged by one of my IStructE networking colleagues to apply.
 

Are there any key things you did, or learnt, that helped you on your career path?


Volunteering, being curious and flexible with your time and making active contributions in your career opens you up to possibilities and experiences that become a part of your development as a person and an engineer.

I was asked to take on an active role in the IStructE regional group quite early in my career, through my employer and fellow engineers. Although it was demanding at times, the benefits of being willing to participate, contribute and learn led to many professional relationships, friendships, and opportunities for broadening my career path. This is a similar approach I take to all aspects of my life, not just professionally in structural engineering.
 

What are your future career aspirations?


Emergency and disaster response has opened my eyes to the gaps that often exist between design and reality. There is a massive need to improve the construction quality of many non-engineered buildings and infrastructure. Furthermore, to improve the awareness of causes of damage and failure from natural hazard events for the benefit of design engineers and the people who are most affected after such events. I hope to make tangible contributions, small ones, through the work that I do in this field across the countries and region that I work and live in.
 

What motivates you to work in relief/development?


Immediate disaster response is what takes place within the first few days or weeks of an event. The work done in this time is pivotal to reducing morbidity and providing relief and support to affected people.

There is gratification in knowing that your work is directly touching people’s lives for the better. Medium and long-term response and projects like Smart Hospitals aid in reducing the impact of major natural hazard events on society and safeguard people’s well-being. These positives outcomes encourage me to keep working in this field.
 

Who should become a structural engineer working in the humanitarian or development sectors?


Engineers in the humanitarian and development sectors operate largely without additional oversight and input from a supervising engineer. This means one would have to be experienced and confident in providing reasonable, practical, safe and cost-effective solutions to problems. A Chartered Engineer with several years of additional post-chartership experience is recommended.

This field of work also requires a wider understanding and awareness of the nuances of local culture, religion, politics and the objectives of different stakeholders. Being a team player, cooperative and collaborative is essential as is being a good communicator and having a willingness to learn.
 

How is membership of the Institution relevant and useful to your work in international development or humanitarian work?


Following the high standards set by the Institution and the Chartered Member Examination, together with its core criteria requirements for all structural engineers is essential in developing a strong knowledge and experience base for working in this field.

The Institution's mandatory continued professional development ensures that you remain relevant and pertinent to this field of work and are aware of developments and changes in different parts of the world.

Lastly, actively taking part in IStructE panels and committees is beneficial in networking with colleagues from around the world who share similar interests from different backgrounds and experiences. Being involved with the panels and committees also offers the possibility of creating positive change in the industry.

 

Related Resources & Events

Course
Structure partly collapsed upon itself

Seismic design of structures

This two-day, online course introduces seismic design of civil engineering structures. It builds on the basics of structural dynamics and engineering seismology. The course focusses on seismic loading and design codes, conceptual seismic design principles and analysis for seismic loading, and design and detailing of structural members.

Date ‐ 5 June 2023
Location ‐ Online
Price ‐ £485 - £745 + VAT
Course
<h4>Eurocode 8: worked examples of the dynamic analysis and seismic design of buildings</h4>

Eurocode 8: worked examples of the dynamic analysis and seismic design of buildings

This advanced one-day, online course delivers key advice using worked examples on the seismic design of structures to Eurocode 8, as well as the application of the Eurocode. Emphasis is placed on reinforced concrete buildings although the concepts are widely applicable.

Date ‐ 29 March 2023
Location ‐ Online
Price ‐ £275 - £425 + VAT
Course
<h4>Eurocode 8: an introduction to seismic design of buildings</h4>

Eurocode 8: an introduction to seismic design of buildings

This one-day, online course delivers key advice and guidance on the seismic design of structures to Eurocode 8, as well as the application of the Eurocode. Emphasis is placed on reinforced concrete buildings although the concepts are widely applicable.

Date ‐ 28 March 2023
Location ‐ Online
Price ‐ £275 - £425 + VAT
Conference
<h4>Climate emergency e-conference: People and planet</h4>

Climate emergency e-conference: People and planet

Join this e-conference to hear from leading engineers working to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency.

Date ‐ 5 October 2022
Location ‐ Online
Price ‐ Free
Blog
Blue abstract blocks

Traversing the development sector - IABSE Journey to Success

On April 25 2022 the Institution’s Humanitarian and International Development (HID) Panel hosted “Journey to Success” in collaboration with IABSE (British Group): a panel discussion and mentoring event for early-years professionals interested in working in the development sector.

Date ‐ 1 September 2022
Author ‐ Julia Ratcliffe
Price ‐ Free
The Structural Engineer
Balancing industrial pollution and climate

Engineering climate justice: how can we contribute to equitable global decarbonisation?

In this personal perspective, Tom Newby argues that high-income countries have a moral responsibility to decarbonise faster, and urges structural engineers to advocate for changes in the way infrastructure is designed and built in order to work towards this goal.

Date ‐ 9 August 2022
Author ‐ Tom Newby
Price ‐ £0
Blue abstract blocks

Recreating History – The Christchurch Town Hall Reinstatement

Hear how Holmes Consulting used high end analysis to minimise the strengthening work required for the Christchurch Town Hall superstructure.

Date ‐ 16 June 2022
Author ‐ Mark Browne and John Hare
Price ‐ Free
The Structural Engineer
<h4>Structuring a safer world in developing countries</h4>

Structuring a safer world in developing countries

This article, based on the winning entry to the IStructE Excellence in Structural Engineering Education Award 2021, discusses innovative approaches implemented at Stellenbosch University, South Africa to develop technical competency in structural engineering and associated fields.

Date ‐ 1 April 2022
Author ‐ Richard Walls
Price ‐ £9
Guidance
<h4>Seismic design (two-volume package)</h4>

Seismic design (two-volume package)

Includes both 'Manual for the seismic design of steel and concrete buildings to Eurocode 8' and the new, accompanying guidance 'Examples for the seismic design of steel and concrete buildings to Eurocode 8'.

Date ‐ 24 February 2022
Author ‐ Various
Price ‐ £64.00
Guidance
<h4>Examples for the seismic design of steel and concrete buildings to Eurocode 8</h4>

Examples for the seismic design of steel and concrete buildings to Eurocode 8

Simple design calculations for basic steel and concrete elements for buildings within the scope of BS EN 1998.

Date ‐ 24 February 2022
Author ‐ Costas Georgopoulos and Kong Kian Hau
Price ‐ £37.50
Training
Blue abstract blocks

EEFIT remote reconnaissance mission report: 2021 Haiti earthquake

This lecture summarised EEFIT’s response to the Haitian earthquake and reflected the combined remote work with local partners in the field.

Date ‐ 28 January 2022
Author ‐ Michael Whitworth, Joshua Macabuag, Tracy Kijewski-Correa, Luigi Di Sarno, Francesco Pugliese, Kokcan Donmez, Valentina Macchiarulo, Mobin Ojaghi, Fatemeh (Mahtab) Foroughnia, Jacob Black, Alessandra Orfeo and Camilla Penney
Training
Blue abstract blocks

EEFIT research projects showcase 2021

A showcase of the findings from two research projects undertaken by the 2019 Grant winners.

Date ‐ 28 January 2022
Author ‐ Enrico Tubaldi, Gianluca Pescaroli and Gemma Cremen
The Structural Engineer
FRP retrofit schemes for beam-column joint subassemblies

Assessment and retrofit of deficient reinforced concrete structures using advanced composites

Umut Akguzel describes his research into seismic retrofitting of reinforced concrete structures using advanced composites, which won the Institution's inaugural Research into Practice essay competition in 2019.

Date ‐ 4 January 2022
Author ‐ Umut Akguzel
Price ‐ £9
Training
Blue abstract blocks

Sustainable bamboo housing

The development of a vernacular-improved affordable, sustainable, and seismically-resilient bamboo housing technology for Latin America and beyond.

Date ‐ 23 November 2021
Author ‐ Seb Kaminski
Price ‐ Free
Guidance
<h4>What are you going to do about it?</h4>

What are you going to do about it?

Five leading structural engineers explain why we need to take our professional responsibility seriously and commit to doing things better, starting today.

Date ‐ 9 November 2021
Price ‐ Free