Careers in STEM Conference – 2020

Taking advantage of virtual programming, we launched a new event this year, the Careers in STEM Conference – Highlighting Women in STEM! This full day conference took place on October 25th and highlighted women in various STEM fields and invited high school girls from across Canada and the globe to participate in a series of panel sessions learning from these amazing women, with the option to join a break-out room with the panelist of their choice.

Introduction and Keynote

Our day started out with an introduction from the BrainSTEM Alliance and an amazing keynote presentation from Dr. Anne Weiss who is an Educator Professional Development Specialist at Langley Research Center with NASA.

Panel A: Education and Innovation

The first panel of the day was focused on Education and Innovation. Dr. Weiss joined us on the first panel along with:

  • Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie (she/her), an Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry at Cape Breton University and Associate Dean of Science and Technology.
  • Folake Oyewole, a Ph.D. candidate in the food engineering lab at the University of Toronto, with research focused on the fortification of commonly consumed beverages in Sub-Saharan Africa to address micronutrient deficiencies within the region.
  • Dr. Diana Castaneda Santos, a lecturer at the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing and math outreach educator.
  • Liz Hildebrandt, a Mechanical Engineer working with Nike at their World Headquarters in Portland, OR as a Test & Reliability Engineer on a project.

Our lead Ambassador Loree D’Orsay moderated this panel.

Panel B: Health

The second panel of the day focused on Health and had a diverse representation of STEM professionals who work in health related fields. The panel was moderated by Ambassador Somto Ibe. The panelists included:

  • Dr. Laura Buckland is a veterinarian and anatomic pathologist for the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
  • Kritika Kuttiyappan is a graduate of the Health Management program at York University and is currently working at a healthcare software company called PointClickCare.
  • Sayo is a Registered Nurse with experience as a Health Research Analyst.
  • Jade Pyo completed an undergraduate degree in physiology, then went on to complete her MSc in animal science before taking on a few research assistant positions.
  • Camille Williams, originally from Jamaica, moved to Canada in 2003, and completed her undergraduate degree in engineering science, master’s degree in clinical engineering and a doctoral degree in rehabilitation science, all from the University of Toronto.

Panel C: Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Panel C was focused on women in leadership and entrepreneurship and was moderated by D’Andre Wilson-Ihejirika. Panelists included the following speakers:

  • Mavis Ure, Director of Tailings Operations at Suncor Energy
  • Adrienne McCarthy, Owner of studio fitness franchises called Pure Barre
  • Kathi Brewer-Gouthro, Director of Upstream Projects at Suncor Energy
  • Eguono Onoyovwi, Director of Digital Strategy at CIBC
  • Heather Friesen, General Manager of Drilling, Completions, Logistics and Land at Suncor Energy

Panel D: Technology

The fourth panel of the day was focused on technology. It was moderated by our Vice President, Doyin Osuntugun and featured the following panelists:

  • Ijeoma Theresa Opurum is currently a Tech Transformation Manager at Pepsico where she leads innovative Go-To-Market Initiatives using Data, Robotic Process Automation & other technologies
  • Kelty MacEachern works currently at Finning International as an Enterprise Security Operations Analyst. Her professional background is IT with a wealth of knowledge as a security analyst.
  • Roslynn Ricard has been employed with Tesla Motors in the San Francisco Bay area for the last 3 years as a Controls Systems Engineer working on the Manufacturing side of the business.
  • Rezwana Sharmin graduated from the University of Toronto and has been working at Qualcomm on display subsystem and peripheral development.
  • Sowmya Thottambeti is a software engineer at Nike. She studied Electronics and Telecommunications with degrees in ICT (B.Sc) & Computer Science (M.Sc).

Panel E: Energy and Environment

The fifth and final panel of the day was focused on energy and the environment. We had a diverse set of panelists to wrap up the day including the following women:

  • Abigail Amponsah is an Environmental Engineer with 8 years of experience working in air quality permitting and design.
  • Anna Jiang is currently a civil EIT at a water resources engineering consulting firm in Alberta.
  • Elizabeth Namuddu Mbaja graduated from The University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and has worked for Suncor Energy as senior PSM engineer for 7 years before taking a role as an Environmental and Regulatory Advisor.
  • Amreen Rahman graduated from Mechanical Engineering at McGill University and have worked in mining, oil and gas and utilities fields.
  • Erica Ward began her career in the Oil & Gas industry in 2010. She worked for a contractor as a Process Operator and then as a Working Foreman. She is now a Dayshift Supervisor at Suncor Energy.

Thank You!

We had over 100 registered participants for this event from across the globe and we are super excited about the success of this program that we hope to continue it as an annual event! Thank you to all of the amazing Women in STEM who volunteered their time as panelists to help inspire the next generation of STEM professionals!

And thank you to all of the participants for being engaged! We hope to see you at the next event!

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