Weeklong Brock Women in STEM event open to the community

Women working in the science community will come together next week to share their experiences and inspire the next generation during a weeklong initiative at Brock University.

Now in its third year, Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is building on its momentum and expanding its roster of virtual talks and workshops that will be offered from Monday, Feb. 7 to Friday, Feb. 11.

Second-year Centre for Biotechnology master’s student Amanda Williams is one of this year’s Women in STEM organizers.

Previously held as a one-day event, the initiative seeks to raise awareness of the under-representation of women and other minorities in science, and to spark discussions about what can be done to achieve gender equity in STEM fields.

“This year, attendees will hear the stories, experiences and perspectives of scientists in different fields,” said Biological Sciences PhD candidate Mariana Garrido, who is leading the event’s organizing committee. “For the first time, the Women in STEM event is opening its doors to external speakers, with women scientists in positions outside academia joining us as well.”

Event attendance rose from 125 participants in 2020 to 275 last year as a successful shift was made to a virtual format to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.

This year’s initiative will include a wide range of activities, including an academia showcase, ‘Meet a STEM Professional’ session and a trivia night including prizes. Also planned is a screening of the documentary Picture a Scientist, which focuses on sexual harassment and gender inequality in the wider science community.

Second-year Applied Health Sciences master’s student Shawna Hopper is one of this year’s Women in STEM organizers.

A talk on Gender Consent and Supporting Survivors in STEM will be presented by Brock’s Human Rights and Equity team, with the University’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre hosting a session on Burnout and Imposter Syndrome in STEM.

“Previous events were attended by a diverse audience, including students from Brock’s undergraduate and graduate programs, faculty, local high school students and community members,” said Garrido.  “We believe the event improves the recognition and visibility of women in STEM fields and increases awareness of the issues that drive women away once they are involved in science.”

This year’s initiative was organized by a committee of dedicated graduate students, including Garrido, second-year Centre for Biotechnology master’s student Amanda Williams, second-year Applied Health Sciences master’s student Shawna Hopper and Biological Sciences PhD candidate Hannah Charnock.

The expansion of Women in STEM was also made possible by support from Brock’s Office of the Vice-President, Research and key sponsorship from Norgen Biotek Corp.

Hannah Charnock, a PhD candidate in Oenology, Viticulture and Plant Sciences in Brock’s Department of Biological Sciences, is one of this year’s Women in STEM organizers.

The opening ceremony on Monday, Feb. 7 will include keynote speakers Vanessa Tran, Clinical Microbiologist at Public Health Ontario, and Kira Lussier, historian of science and a post-doctoral researcher cross-appointed at the Institute for Management and Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Rotman’s Institute for Gender and the Economy.

A full schedule of Women in STEM speakers and events can be found on ExperienceBU.

Women in STEM is open to all Brock students, faculty and staff members as well as the general public. To register for the free event, fill out an online registration form.

Updates are available through the @WomenInSTEM.BrockU Instagram page.

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