***Important Notice about WISEatlantic’s response to the evolving situation with COVID-19.
In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and following federal and provincial directives, we will be postponing our Halifax 2020 Girls Get WISE Science Retreat. We are currently working to secure an alternate date which we hope to announce by early May. However, as this is a rapidly evolving situation, this could change so we encourage you to monitor our website and our social media channels for further updates.
We will also provide an update as soon as possible regarding the 2020 Pictou Girls Get WISE Science Retreat currently scheduled for May 9th at the NSCC Pictou Location. As of right now, NSCC locations are cancelling all events until April 30th and will reassess at that time.
We thank you for your patience during these unsettling times.
The WISEatlantic Team.
The 2020 CCWESTT Conference Committee and CCWESTT Board has been closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and given that COVID-19 will remain a public health threat for the foreseeable future, the decision to cancel the in-person conference was made.
However, they are pleased to share that in its stead, we will be offering the CCWESTT 2020 Virtual Speaker Series.
Throughout the month of November 2020, we will feature virtual sessions with our CCWESTT 2020 keynote speakers, including Dr. Marcia Anderson, Dr. Gina Cody, Julie Angus, and Sherry Holmes. Further details on session times and registration will be available in the coming weeks.
To learn more about the CCWESTT 2020 Conference Click Here
The first booklet in the Career Spotlight Series - Women in Science, has been completed. The Career Spotlight Series is directed at young girls in Junior and Senior High Schools and will be distributed to various schools and teachers’ conferences in the Atlantic Provinces. The aim of the Career Spotlight Series is to showcase the variety of careers available in the STEM fields.
The first booklet features a diverse group of women working in Geology, Molecular Microbiology, Physics, Marine Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Biology. This is the first in the series of four booklets. The next career booklet will come out in the fall of 2020 and will shine the spotlight on Engineers. The following years will feature women in Information Technology and Math and Aboriginal STEM professionals.
Find the Women in Science booklet on our resources page!
This program is an opportunity for community organizations in Atlantic Canada to apply for small one-year sponsorships for new activities and/or projects that promote the outreach, recruitment, and retention for girls, young women, and industry professionals in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).
If you have a great idea for a new activity, conference, workshops etc. that aims to support girls and women in STEM and you and/or your organization is located in any of the Atlantic Provinces, then be sure to apply. You could receive a sponsorship of up to $3,000!
Applications will be accepted from September 4 to October 23, 2020. Due to COVID, we are also accepting applications for virtual programming this year.
Make sure to visit our Partnerships Program page for eligibility requirements and the application form.
The CWSE Network will be accepting applications for the next round of the Dr. Margaret-Ann National Conference Grant between September 7-15th, 2020. The purpose of this grant is to support the organization of non-profit national conferences that contribute to the advancement of women in STEM.
Due to COVID-19, we will consider applications for virtual conferences and workshops for the 2020-2021 year. To find out more or to download the grant forms, visit our Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour Conference Grant page
Starting May 4th we challenge you to complete our online bingo card for a chance to win a prize!
Submit your completed bingo card to WISEatlantic@msvu.ca (by copying the URL of completed card), along with a paragraph on which activity was your favorite and why, as well as a bit about yourself!
Submissions will be entered into a random draw to win ONE of the following:
Please Note: this contest is open to those who identify as girls ages 12-16 years.
Contest closes June 5th at 10:00pm
Our Pioneers in Skirts movie screening on March 4 was a great way to kick-off celebrations for International Women's Day 2020.
WISEatlantic was pleased to partner with Women in Aerospace Canada Atlantic (WIA) for an International Women’s Day celebration. The event showcased “Pioneers in Skirts”, a 60-minute documentary on achieving gender equity in the workplace and world. The event had a great turn-out with over 80 people in attendance ranging from youth to adults.
Following the film, WISEatlantic Chair Dr. Franz-Odendaal and WIA Atlantic VP Eva Martinez, led a discussion on impactful moments from the film and how employers can change the work climate to support gender equity.
We would like to thank our Sponsors CAE and Ultra for helping us make this event a success.
If you would like to view this documentary and engage your family in a discussion on gender equity in the workplace, visit pioneersinskirts.com/pioneer-at-home/
On Friday March 6th 2020, the Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender, and Social Justice at Mount Saint Vincent University will being holding the 2020 Girls Conference in celebration of International Women's Day.
The conference is for junior and senior high school girls from across the province, with workshops and presentations for participants to attend. The conference will be held at Mount Saint Vincent University with the theme Courageous, Creative, Confident.
WISEatlantic will be holding the “Game of Life” workshop where participants will have the opportunity to explore the realities of the working world as you get assigned a career and have to create a budget based on your given salary. Have fun choosing a home, car, pets, etc. all while sticking to a budget! Just like in the real world, life events can either add to your life or throw you into the deep end. In this life simulator, you will experience the ups-and-downs of the working world and attempt to come out on top. Do you think you’re ready for the “Game of Life”?
To learn more and register visit: https://www.msvu.ca/en/home/research/chairs/centresandinstitutes/IWGSJ/Events/girls2020/default.aspx
Another Successful STEMaware event took place on November. 5th, 2019 at Mount Saint Vincent University.
WISEatlantic hosted our third annual STEMaware event, which aims to connect High School girls and current Mount Saint Vincent University science students with past Bachelor of Science alumni. Many students are not necessarily aware of what they can do with their education, post-graduation. Nineteen students, ranging from grade nine to fourth year university, got to chat with Bachelor of Science graduates about their career paths and what they are using their degree’s for. Among our graduates were Nicole Snow, a genetic counsellor, Jessica Romo, an environmental scientist, Courtney Masey, a registered dietician, Holly Cook, a Chemistry and Physics laboratory technician, and Giovanni Johnson, a microbiologist and entrepreneur.
Mount Saint Vincent University recruitment was also in attendance and managed a booth during the event.
Our Science Literacy Week event on September 18, 2019 was a great success!
WISEatlantic teamed up with the Halifax North Memorial Public Library to host “Exploring Careers in Ocean Science”. The event was one of many around the city in support of Science Literacy Week, which was centered around oceans this year. Around 40 junior high and high school students attended a panel which highlighted three women in ocean sciences – Stephanie Kienast, an associate professor in Dalhousie’s Oceanography department, Hillary Murphy, a whale biologist at BIO, and Sue Molloy, president and CEO of Glas Ocean Electric. Our role models talked about their careers, as well as the importance of research in ocean sciences. Following the panel, COVE lead a boat-building activity that had participants examine and follow design instructions to create their own floating boat.
This event was also the first CAGIS event for our junior high girls. CAGIS aims to provide girls with more hands-on activities surrounding science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as informing them of the variety of opportunities that exist for them in STEM fields.
The third biennial Atlantic ConnecTions Conference was held on May 30 & 31, 2019 at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PE, and was hosted by the Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering. The main theme of the conference was “Sustaining Women in SETT”, and as such the program particularly focused on how best to retain women and gender minorities in SETT in Atlantic Canada.
ACT 2019 provided an opportunity for attendee’s to share their experiences of studying and working in male-dominated fields, to network with others, and to discuss successful strategies for recruiting and retaining women in SETT. ACT 2019 welcomed 84 students, academics and industry professionals from SETT sectors across Atlantic Canada.
Read the full conference report on the conference website, http://atlanticconnections.ca/
Last week, WISEatlantic held their third Senior Girls Get WISE Science Summer Camp. The four-day event exposed a group of high school girls to a variety of STEM careers. While they got to participate in plenty of hands-on activities, they also got a taste of what university life is like.
The girls shook off those first-day jitters by participating in a group challenge to create windmills that lift tea-bags off the ground as they spin – the least amount of materials, the better. They explored the concept of regeneration by working with planaria, a flatworm species that has the ability to grow back missing parts of their bodies, or even create whole new beings from smaller pieces. The girls tried their hands at drone building, to a variety of success, but had a thrilling time getting them to fly. They left the lab smelling beautiful by making soap with the Laughing Pear Soap Company; they even got to bring some sweet-smelling soap home! Each girl also had the chance to create their own website using HTML and CSS coding with Code Mobile.
In addition to participating in these activities, they got to learn about some unique career options. The girls got the opportunity to talk to a pediatric resident at the IWK who, alongside her hours at the hospital, is conducting specialized research that the girls were able to participate in. They got to visit the campus beehive and learn about the amazing world of beekeeping, as well as trying some delicious honey! They also explored how StatsCan aids in spreading real statistical data on a variety of subjects by creating their own visual representations of data related to a topic they were interested in.
The girls got to go on a campus tour where their burning questions surrounding what university life is like were answered. Spending time on campus was a new thing for a lot of the girls and as they start thinking about their post-secondary education, exploring what the Mount has to offer was a fun and inspiring opportunity. They also got to visit the Mount garden, which gave them a peaceful end to a jam-packed week of hands-on fun!
WISEatlantic held their eighth junior girl's science camp this past week! Twenty-three girls attended the event which aimed to expose girls to different areas of STEM. In addition to studying zebrafish development in the lab, the girls got to participate in other activities around campus.
Through-out the week, the girls spent time in the lab studying baby zebrafish under microscopes and staging their development. When they weren’t watching the zebrafish grow, they were participating in other STEM activities around campus. The girls put their detective skills to the test as they scavenged a crime scene for clues – by performing both hair and fingerprint analysis they were able to step into the world of forensic investigation and catch the thief! During a Biology session, they explored the mind-boggling concept of regeneration and got to see it occur first hand by studying planaria. They learned about why water and oil don’t mix, and to visually demonstrate the occurrence, they made cool-colored lava lamps out of recycled bottles. The girls also got to create roller coasters using a limited amount of materials that would hold a marble all the way down the track; the more complex the roller coaster was, the more points they gained.
We had a few guests in to do activities with the girls through-out the week. Lockheed Martin introduced them to Cryptography, and they had to decode an encrypted text to open a briefcase. Code Mobile gave the girls the opportunity to create their own websites using HTML/CSS coding. We got to explore how Virtual Reality can facilitate training for welding with the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council and all the girls got to experience what it’s like to walk along a beam on the MacDonald bridge! In the computer lab, the girls completed a scavenger hunt using the StatsCan website and explored the benefits of having accurate data that can help inform our decisions. Finally, the Nova Scotia Boat Building Association came in to challenge the girls to create their own self-moving boats out of household items – it was more challenging than you’d think!
In addition to all the activities mentioned above, the girls got to talk to a variety of women in STEM during a round-robin styled role model session. They got to ask questions regarding schooling, day-to-day lifestyle, and challenges faced in the workplace. A Chemist, Marine Biologist, IT specialist, and an Engineering Specialist for Jazz Aviation were all present.
You can view pictures from the camp HERE
On March 8, 2019, nations from around the world recognized International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrating women and girls and committing to a vision of a world that does more to support and empower them.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, ‘Balance for Better,’ hit especially close to home for WISEatlantic. The theme focused international attention on working towards a balance of genders in all areas of the workforce in order to better our world. Striving towards the day where gender balance is achieved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers is at the core of what WISE Atlantic does.
“I think the theme was important, because many people assume that we already have a gender equitable workforce as more females are going to university or post-secondary than ever before,” says Sally Marchand, program coordinator at WISEatlantic, “But in some fields such as STEM and Business, a gender equitable workforce isn’t the case.”
STEM fields still show disparity between the percentages of men and women who choose to pursue careers in them and between the percentages of men and women who choose to stay.
“’Balance for Better’ speaks to our mission of increasing the number of women in STEM careers – a more gender equitable workforce will increase innovation and make the working environment better for both women and men.” Sally says.
WISEatlantic has been participating in IWD events since 2012. This year, WISEatlantic ran a session at MSVU during the Girl’s Conference and spoke with young girls and their parents about WISEatlantic programs at the International Women’s Day event hosted at the Halifax Central Library.
The session at the Girl’s Conference featured role models from various STEM careers who spoke with participants about their jobs. The role models were beekeeper and dietician Jillian Ruhl, software engineer Anna Bullen, chemist Christa Brosseau, business analyst Amanda Macphee, mathematician Karyn McLellan and biologist Danielle Gaiter. More than a few girls said that the workshop was their favourite.
“Exploring Careers with Impact was my favorite workshop because I learned a lot about different careers in more detail and from the person themselves. It helped me know about more career options and open up future possibilities.” one girl said.
During the event at the Halifax Central Library, Sally was interviewed by CBC radio. She says that her most memorable moment from this year’s IWD events was also at the library, listening to keynote speaker Dr. Rita Orji.
“She is so inspiring to young girls, as she hadn’t even used a computer before she enrolled in Computer Science in university and now she has a PhD in computer science.” Sally says.
Overall, both events were a success, and it was inspiring to be able to participate in such an important celebration.
“Participating in IWD events is important, as it renews the call to support women in the workforce and the challenges that they still face, particularly for Women in STEM.” Sally says. “It’s encouraging to see how many people and organizations out there are supporting Women in STEM.”