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
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
Have you heard the good news?! Halifax is getting it's own chapter of the Canadian Association of Girls in Science (CAGIS)! Starting in September, 2019.
CAGIS is an award-winning club for girls aged 11 to 16 that facilitates interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). CAGIS chapter members meet monthly to explore STEM with fun, hands-on activities led by women and men experts in a variety of STEM fields.
These monthly events often occur at the work places of our STEM experts, giving girls a behind-the-scenes view and allowing them to experience the lab and field environment for themselves!
If you’d like to learn more, or register, please visit the CAGIS national website at girlsinscience.ca
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.”
We had a fantastic time at the first-ever Girls Get WISE Science Retreat at St. FX University on March 23, 2019.
The 11 girls who participated in the event learned the physics behind roller coasters and used that knowledge to build their own roller coasters using foam pipe insulation and marbles. X-Chem Outreach coordinator Jennifer Fraser led the other hands-on session; using various methods to test the pH of various household chemicals.
Thanks to our role models, Kelsey Sampson – Primary Care Paramedic, Dr. Genice Hallett-Tapley – Chemist, Brittany MacDonald – Chemical Engineer, and Dr. Tara Taylor – Mathematician, for chatting to the girls about their careers and broadening their knowledge of STEM careers.
A special thanks also goes out to the Women in Science group at St. FX who had seven members volunteer with us!
Visit our Facebook page, facebook.com/WISEatlantic to view pictures of the event.
There is still time to apply for our Partnerships Program for the 2018/19 year. 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!
Make sure to visit the Partnerships Program page of our website for deadlines and application guidelines.
We had a great turn-out for our 2nd annual Senior Girls Get WISE Science Summer Camp this year, 18 girls ages 15 & 16 participated. We had a great week learning about various STEM professions such as Entomology, Psychology, Embryology, Computer Scientist and more!
Campers also participated in many engaging STEM activities such as bee classification, viewing chick embryos. doing flame tests in Chemistry, and learning how an EEG works.
View photos from the camp by clicking here.
On April 7, 2018 WISEatlantic hosted their largest Girls Get WISE Science Retreat yet with 80 girls participating! This year featured three hands-on activities, Nifty Neuroscience, Electrifying Chemistry, and the Mathematics of Winning. We were also fortunate to have El Jones, the Mount's Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies, join us to perform an inspiring spoken word poem. As always, thank you to our sponsors, partners, volunteers, and role models for making this event a success!
The WISEatlantic Partnerships Program is an opportunity for community organizations in Atlantic Canada to apply for small one-year sponsorship for new activities and/or projects that promote the outreach, recruitment, and retention of girls, young women, and industry professionals in STEM. The Partnerships Program had six applicants for 2017 and the following three were successful in receiving funds for innovative programs in 2018:
Congrats to the successful applicants! The next round of submissions will open in September 2018 on our Partnerships Program page.
On November 16th, 2017, twenty-seven Aboriginal youth from across the province came together at Mount Saint Vincent University for a fun day to explore what STEM is all about.
The youth participated in a hands-on engineering design challenge where they worked in teams to design and construct a functioning windmill with limited resources. They also had the opportunity to learn about exciting STEM careers, such as chemical engineering and dietetics, from local Aboriginal professionals working in these fields. The participants found it a challenging but fun day and were enthusiastic to participate in more hands-on activities, with several of the youth commenting ‘it was really fun and would love to come again’.
The new Girls Get WISE Science Camp for girls 15 & 16 years old, which took place August 28-31, 2017, was pleased to welcome the Federal Science Minister, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan.
On Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 the Honourable Kirsty Duncan stopped by the Girls Get WISE Science Camp to share with the girls her experience working as a science researcher. Minister Duncan also spoke with each of the participants and encouraged them to continue their math and science studies. We are thankful to the Minister and her team for the visit! To read more about the Ministers visit click here.
Girls in this camp also had the opportunity to learn about research in areas such as Organic Chemistry, Marine Biology, and Mathematics, from local female researchers who came to share their research with the girls. Of course, participants also participated in fun and challenging hands-on science experiments and activities throughout the week.