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Women in Science

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Spotlight

Meet Dr. Naheda Sahtout, CFIA science analyst

As a Palestinian born in Kuwait and raised in Malaysia, my parents sacrificed a lot to remove my brother and me from war-torn Kuwait in 1990. More than anything, they wanted to secure a safe childhood and good education for us.

In addition to my own family, I credit the teachers I had in elementary, middle, and high school for pushing me to excel and navigate my childhood with a visual impairment. I was told to be curious, to challenge the norm, and to not accept defeat because I had a disability.

I was fascinated by science from an early age. I longed to work with chemicals, dissect frogs, and learn all about dry ice. I even challenged myself to take advanced chemistry, physics and biology during the International Baccalaureate, a specialized high school diploma program taught in more than 140 countries.

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Profiles

Noelle Smith

Meet Noelle Smith, CFIA programmer

My name is Noelle Smith. Computers and programming have always come easily to me. In grade 7, I helped set up the school's computer lab. From that point, I was the go-to "tech person" for teachers and students alike.

Wei Ke

Meet Wei Ke, CFIA application analyst

The year was 1999. On a warm August night, I stepped foot on Canadian soil for the first time at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. I didn't know what to expect, but wanted to try my best to see where and how far I could go from here.

Dr. Naheda Sahtout

Meet Dr. Naheda Sahtout, CFIA science analyst

As a Palestinian born in Kuwait and raised in Malaysia, my parents sacrificed a lot to remove my brother and me from war-torn Kuwait in 1990. More than anything, they wanted to secure a safe childhood and good education for us.

Jasmine Mander

Meet Jasmine Mander, CFIA science specialist

My name is Jasmine Mander. Born and raised in Ottawa, I was privileged from a very young age with easy access to the natural world. Location is everything. In a valley surrounded by rivers, the Gatineau Hills and bountiful urban parks and trails, and with access to the Rideau Canal, of course, I was able to discover the beauty around me while fostering my passion for science.

Marie-Claude Gros-Louis

Marie-Claude Gros-Louis - generosity in action

A biologist by training, Marie-Claude Gros-Louis has worked at the LFC for over 20 years. In 2020, she successfully began a career shift that few public servants make. She stepped from the world of science into the world of partnerships by becoming a liaison for national Indigenous forestry programs.

Hayet Laggoune

The confidence to act on our dreams

Hayet Laggoune is a scientist who works as an Analyst in Ottawa. Hayet’s curiosity to understand the world around her and explore its wonders led her to a career in the sciences. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in applied sciences in renewable energies from the Université de Constantine in Algeria and a doctorate in engineering in image processing from the Université de Bourgogne in France.

Geneviève Bélanger

Science: an array of opportunities

Geneviève Bélanger is a scientist who works as an Acting Associate Director in Quebec. As a young adult, she contemplated being an astrophysicist. Although she continues to look up at the stars, her fascination with biological sciences took precedence. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with specialization in wildlife management, and a master’s degree in wildlife and habitat management, both from the Université du Québec à Rimouski.

Marion Doull

Social science and impact assessment

Marion Doull is a Senior Policy Analyst in Ottawa. She provides subject matter expertise on health and gender-based analysis plus. Her studies include a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Ottawa, a Master’s of Health Sciences in Health Promotion from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in Population Health from the University of Ottawa.

Lynette Esak

Problem-solving and learning by science-based experience

Lynette Esak is a Project Manager in Edmonton. Lynette’s drive to solve puzzles made her a natural fit for a career in the sciences. Her studies include a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with focus on plants, soils and economics, and a Master of Science in Soil Science, both from the University of Alberta.

Lucy Harrison

A unique path to a scientific career

Lucy Harrison is a Project Manager in Vancouver. Find out how scuba diving with her father at 12 years old sparked her interest in marine biology and led her on a very unique career path. Her studies include a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Plymouth in Marine Biology and a Master’s Degree from Simon Fraser University in Tropical Marine Ecology.

Johannie Martin

Life sciences—a lifetime interest

Johannie Martin knew from a young age that biological sciences were an “obvious choice” for her. Find out how her love of saving snails led her on a path to working as a Project Manager in Quebec. She attended Université Laval in Québec City, where she acquired a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, a master’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in oceanography.

Olga Pena

Olga Pena

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
CFIA science specialist

Meet Victoria Arling and Annie Locas

Victoria Arling and Annie Locas

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Section Head for the Microbiology Unit / National Manager of Microbiology

Rositsa Dimitrova

Rositsa Dimitrova

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
CFIA plant health risk assessor

Serena Ward

Serena Ward

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC)
Regional Engineer

Sonja Fransen

Sonja Fransen

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC)
Water Management Engineer

Dr. Joyce Boye

Dr. Joyce Boye

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC)
Director General, Prairie Region

Erin Zoski

Erin Zoski

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC)
Water Quality Engineer

Karen Colbourne

Karen Colbourne

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Officer

Rolande D’Amour

Rolande D’Amour

Public Health Agency of Canada
Senior Nurse Consultant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Surveillance System

Candice Didychuk

Dr. Candice Didychuk

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Medical Biophysicist/Chemist, Research Scientist Radiobiology and Health

Kathy Dunn

Kathy Dunn

Public Health Agency of Canada
Manager

Jake Freeman

Jake Freeman

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC)
Resource Technician

Jan. Holmes

Jan. Holmes

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC)
Farm Operations Manager

Bronwyn Hyland

Dr. Bronwyn Hyland

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Physicist and Program Manager, Small Modular Reactors

Dr. Cezarina Kora

Dr. Cezarina Kora

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC)
Senior Strategy Coordinator with the Pesticide Risk Reduction team

Dr. Heather McNairn

Dr. Heather McNairn

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC)
Research Scientist

Lynn Menard

Lynn Menard

Public Health Agency of Canada
Team Lead, Maternal and Child Health

Larkin Mosscrop Kee

Larkin Mosscrop Kee

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Biologist and Project Leader, Science & Technology Operations

Josee Owen

Josee Owen

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC)
Associate Director

Dr. Anne Smith

Dr. Anne Smith

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
Research Scientist

Marilyne Stuart

Dr. Marilyne Stuart

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Senior Research Scientist, Environmental Sciences

Christina Van Drunen

Christina Van Drunen

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Professional Engineer (Mechanical) and Director of S&T Strategy and Collaboration

Samantha Wilson-Clark

Samantha Wilson-Clark

Public Health Agency of Canada
Director, Field Service Training and Response

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Videos

Mary-Lynn Dickson

Mary-Lynn Dickson

Director, UNCLOS Program, Natural Resources Canada

"My background is as a sea going oceanographer and to be able to go and work with a team after months and months of planning these cruises is a thrill."

Walta-Anne Rainey

Walta-Anne Rainey

Marine Geoscience Technologist, Natural Resources Canada

Learn about what it is like aboard an ice breaker, the amazing collaborations needed to do the mapping, and unforgettable experiences such as seeing polar bears running alongside the ship.

Ruth Jackson

Ruth Jackson

Research Scientist Emeritus, Natural Resources Canada

Learn about the logistical challenges of mounting a research mission to the Arctic, including the effect of extreme cold on scientific instruments, and the importance of having the right ship and the right people for the job.

Hayley Hung and Sandy Steffen

Hayley Hung and Sandy Steffen

Two Environment Canada scientists reflect on their experience working on contaminants-related issues in the Arctic through the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP).

Lisa Loseto

Lisa Loseto

A research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada speaks about the importance of community based monitoring and involvement, as well as her work with beluga whales to determine ecosystem health in Northern communities.

Romani Makkik, Shannon O'Hara, Betsy Palliser, and Carla Pamak

Romani Makkik, Shannon O'Hara, Betsy Palliser, and Carla Pamak

The Inuit Research Advisors speak to their experiences with getting Northerners involved in the NCP and its research.

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Podcasts

Bree-Ann Lightfoot and Dr. Lisa Hodges

Bree-Ann Lightfoot and Dr. Lisa Hodges, Microbiology Scientists, Dartmouth Laboratory

"My advice for going into science would be – don't be too afraid or too set on a path in your life. Try different subjects. It's such a big field that you might be surprised what turns out to interest you the most."

Dr. Mireille Marcotte

Dr. Mireille Marcotte, National Manager, Plant Health Surveillance

"To date, scientists have catalogued about 1.5 million species of organisms on the planet, with insects making up about two-thirds of this bounty. This whole world of often very small creatures is simply fascinating to me."

Émilie Larocque

Émilie Larocque, Virologist, Saint-Hyacinthe Laboratory

"I love the fact that the process leads to new knowledge, which is what makes science so thrilling."

Anna-Mary Schmidt

Anna-Mary Schmidt, Head Grapevine Diagnostics, Sidney Laboratory

"When I was younger I wanted to be a detective, which is amusing in light of eventually studying science, as both require investigating the unknown and piecing together a puzzle."

Dr. Hana Weingartl

Dr. Hana Weingartl, Head of Special Pathogens Unit, Winnipeg Laboratory

"We work on the development of veterinary vaccines because these are what would stop the transmission of a virus from livestock to humans. It may not be visible, but we definitely maintain a state of readiness."

Dr. Ruojing Wang

Dr. Ruojing Wang, Head of the National Seed Herbarium, Saskatoon Laboratory

"When you have lots of challenges, you have lots of opportunities to rise above those challenges."

Dr. Susan Nadin-Davis

Dr. Susan Nadin-Davis, Research Scientist, Ottawa Laboratory

"Don't be intimidated by science. I think everyone needs to avoid stereotypes and each one of us should be allowed to follow his or her dream and to do what we want to do."

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Features

A young woman conducts an experiment in a science lab.

The 7th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly

United Nations

2022 Theme: “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us”

An adolescent girl conducts an experiment during a chemistry class in Kamulanga Secondary School in Lusaka, Zambia.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11 February

United Nations

Full and equal access and participation for women and girls in science.

Chooose Science

Chooose Science

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

It's never too late to start your journey or to renew your interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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