Empowering women in chemistry through mentorship and networking

From: National Research Council Canada

Panel discussion marks the centennial of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

February 12, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Research Council of Canada

A panel discussion on the important roles mentorship and networking play in empowering women to succeed in their scientific careers was held today with leading chemists in academia and government. The event was hosted by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Canadian National Committee for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (CNC-IUPAC).

The event, held in Ottawa, was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of IUPAC. It kicked off with a keynote address by the NRC’s Vice-President of Emerging Technologies, Dr. Geneviève Tanguay, who shared personal stories of her time as a student scientist and how privileged she was to be surrounded by mentors—including her family and scientific role models—who believed in her and offered guidance and support throughout her career.

Moderator Dr. Danial Wayner, Chief Science Officer of the NRC, then launched the discussion with panellists

Dr. Deryn Fogg, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Ottawa; Dr. Donna Kirkwood, Chief Scientist at Natural Resources Canada; Dr. Maria DeRosa, Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Carleton University; and Dr. Michael Schuurman, Research Officer at the NRC. The panel raised questions such as: Who were your role models or mentors early in your careers? How did they influence you? How can I find a mentor? What attributes should I look for?

Panellist shared sound advice and useful tips with the audience of chemists, researchers, government representatives, and university students from Canada’s National Capital Region.

Background information:

  • The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) supports women taking on leading roles in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and encourages young women to enter these fields to increase equity and inclusion in STEM
  • Having diversity in science and research brings different perspectives, experience, and creativity to the table or the lab and allows to find innovative solutions to common issues
  • Consistent with the Government of Canada’s commitment to diversity and employment equity, the NRC aims to enhance diversity and equality in its workplace, with a focus on supporting women in science and management positions
  • The NRC is a key part of the Innovation and Skills Plan and Budget 2018’s commitment to supporting Canada’s researchers to build a more innovative economy

“In the course of my career, I had many role models who often became my sponsors. They saw things in me that I didn’t see, and they not only encouraged me, but also promoted me. I can’t stress enough the importance of supporting and encouraging young women in STEM as having this type of diversity will help to connect skills, creativity, and talents to expand research across our communities.”

Dr. Geneviève Tanguay

Vice-President, Emerging Technologies, National Research Council of Canada

“Women in STEM have a different way of tackling issues and challenges we face in our society. They anticipate and see things through a different lens and find innovative solutions to address previously unrecognized needs. I hope that today’s discussion was able to put a spotlight on the importance of role models and mentors who encourage young women to pursue studies in STEM and provide ongoing support as they pursue their aspirations for successful, creative careers.”

Dr. Danial Wayner

Chief Science Officer, National Research Council of Canada

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