Weeklong Brock event to inspire next generation of women in STEM

Women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will gather at Brock University next week with the goal of inspiring the next generation.

The weeklong Women in STEM event, which is free and open to the public, will see women share their journey in their respective fields, including how they got to where they are today, and challenges and opportunities experienced along the way.

Sessions will be offered in person and online from Monday, Feb. 6 to Friday, Feb. 10, touching on a variety of issues that affect women, both academically and professionally.

“In some countries, we are seeing women barred from attending universities, women facing wage disparity, lost advancement opportunities and harassment,” says Brock Biological Sciences PhD candidate Mariana Garrido, who leads the event’s organizing committee.

The event is intended to empower women interested in choosing a career in STEM and to identify and address issues that may discourage them from continuing on that chosen path.

“Hearing a role model talk about the issues they overcame has proven valuable to our young STEM scientists, not just in academia, but in their careers as well,” Garrido says.

The initiative tackles the under-representation of women and other minorities in science and sparks discussions about what can be done to achieve gender equity in STEM fields.

Women in STEM kicks off Monday, Feb. 6 with an Academia Showcase featuring short talks from women professors and graduate students sharing their research and experiences.

Among the week’s wide range of speakers, panellists and presenters, including scientists from LGBTQ+ and Indigenous communities, will be physicist Jessica Wade, an Imperial College London Research Fellow and British Empire Medal recipient, who will speak on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Internationally lauded for her efforts to increase gender diversity in science and inspire the next generation, Wade has created more than 1,600 Wikipedia pages for women in STEM who had not received recognition for their contributions.

A full lineup of Women in STEM sessions can be found on the event website, with information on speakers, panels and how to register. Once registered, attendees will be provided with either an online link and/or meeting location at Brock.

Last year’s virtual event drew 280 participants from 28 STEM fields, with 40 per cent of attendees joining from outside the Brock community.

Women in STEM is open to all Brock students, faculty and staff members as well as the general public. Many of the sessions, such as the Picture a Scientist screening and panel discussion taking place Wednesday, Feb. 8, are beneficial for men who strive to be allies of women in the STEM community, Garrido says.

The expansion of Women in STEM was made possible by support from Brock’s Office of the Vice-President, Research, and nine donors from local businesses in the Niagara region.

Event updates are available on the @WomenInSTEM.BrockU Instagram page.

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