Women in Science

Women in Science graphic

Spotlight

The confidence to act on our dreams

Hayet Laggoune

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.

I have always been interested in math and physics, starting when I was a young child. I was fascinated by experimentation, especially the results of certain chemical reactions and the interpretation of them. I remember one of my first experiments where I exposed starch in a slice of bread using an iodine reagent solution. It was amazing to see the orange drop turn blue/black in the presence of starch. I also remember being the first to rush to repair a blown fuse in the house. In short, it was my curiosity to understand the world around me and to explore it piece by piece that attracted me to science.

What I love the most about working in science is the exploration and the search for solutions to issues or challenges, as well as the continuous improvements we make. Seeing the impact of our work is so gratifying!

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Individual profiles

Date Profile Description
November 15, 2022

I am proud to be a CFIA veterinarian – here's why

Mary Jane Ireland

Mary Jane Ireland

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"It's no secret that veterinarians love animals. I came into the profession drawn by a passion for horses and reading (and re-reading) books written by James Herriot."

September 26, 2022

Meet Shae Wasyliw, CFIA meat hygiene inspector

Shae Wasyliw

Shae Wasyliw

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"I've always wanted to work with animals. A childhood filled with fishing, hunting and helping on a family friend's farm in the gorgeous foothills of Southern Alberta had a lot to do with that."

June 10, 2022

Meet Dr. Naheda Sahtout, CFIA science analyst

Dr. Naheda Sahtout

Dr. Naheda Sahtout

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"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."

June 10, 2022

Meet Noelle Smith, CFIA programmer

Noelle Smith

Noelle Smith

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"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."

June 10, 2022

Meet Wei Ke, CFIA application analyst

Wei Ke

Wei Ke

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"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."

April 4, 2022

Meet Jasmine Mander, CFIA science specialist

Jasmine Mander

Jasmine Mander

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"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."

February 7, 2022

The confidence to act on our dreams

Hayet Laggoune

Hayet Laggoune

Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

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.

February 7, 2022

Science: an array of opportunities

Geneviève Bélanger

Geneviève Bélanger

Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

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.

February 9, 2022

A unique path to a scientific career

Lucy Harrison

Lucy Harrison

Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

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.

March 7, 2022

Marie-Claude Gros-Louis - generosity in action

Marie-Claude Gros-Louis

Marie-Claude Gros-Louis

Natural Resources Canada

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.

February 9, 2022

Life sciences – a lifetime interest

Johannie Martin

Johannie Martin

Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

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.

February 9, 2022

Problem-solving and learning by science-based experience

Lynette Esak

Lynette Esak

Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

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.

February 7, 2022

Social science and impact assessment

Marion Doull

Marion Doull

Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

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.

March 8, 2021

Meet Olga Pena, scientist and advocate

Olga Pena

Olga Pena

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"Despite my family's financial challenges, my parents prioritized my education over many other commodities and their efforts meant that I was able to attend university. My dad used to say that, unlike them (mom and dad), who only got elementary education, supporting us in obtaining a university degree was the best and only inheritance they could give us."

October 21, 2021

Meet Rositsa Dimitrova, CFIA plant health risk assessor

Rositsa Dimitrova

Rositsa Dimitrova

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"When the time for university came, I was torn between medical school and a biology degree. My parents were excited about the idea of their daughter becoming a doctor, but I hesitated. I knew that medicine would be very hard for me emotionally, and that's when I decided I wanted to become a biologist."

August 27, 2021

P.L.A.N.T. your career: Advice from a leader with her heart in research, finding a way to give back

Dr. Joyce Boye

Dr. Joyce Boye

Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

"It’s about the quest for knowledge, to know how things came to be and using this knowledge to create new things. It’s mind-blowing what’s possible with science, engineering and technology."

October 28, 2021

Stick with it and get involved: Advice from a coach with strong foundations in Engineering

Serena Ward

Serena Ward

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"What drew me to my current role are the opportunities to do a bit of travel, visiting construction sites during planning and execution phases. I like the hands on practical aspect, it gets me out of the office. It is so satisfying to see the outcome of all the long hours of planning - I love seeing the projects on paper get built."

October 28, 2021

Keep Your Options Open: Advice from an Engineer Bringing Water to Farmers

Sonja Fransen

Sonja Fransen

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"What some might find surprising about engineering is that there is a mix of office work and field work; which I really enjoy. My first job as a student involved going outdoors to collect data. Even now, I’m out setting up a new edge of field study. When I have students working for me, I make sure to take them into the field so they can understand where all the data comes from for our projects."

October 28, 2021

Just go for it! Advice from an Engineer bringing clean water to your cup and to the environment

Erin Zoski

Erin Zoski

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"In my classes there weren’t a lot of women, and at the time it would have been nice to have someone to look up to and guide me. Now that there are more women in this field, I see more potential role models. In addition to mentorship, we should provide opportunities for training, professional development and outreach; the Diversity Network at AAFC is perfect for this!"

January 25, 2019

Pursue your Passions: Advice from a Technician with her Feet on the Ground!

Jake Freeman

Jake Freeman

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"I have a Chemical and Biosciences Diploma from college and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba. While I studied to be a lab technician, I found that I needed to be more connected to the outdoors. When I started as a soil and water conservation technician with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA), my attention to detail, note keeping, and lab protocols came in handy. Not being afraid of getting dirty was also an asset."

January 22, 2019

The Importance of a Good Skill Set: Advice from a Farm Manager

Jan. Holmes

Jan. Holmes

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"I think my strong suits are organization, planning, and problem-solving. Those things are important in this kind of job because it’s like a moving puzzle. You have to be flexible because equipment can break down, someone can call in sick, or it starts to rain. I probably have three plans in my head at any one time."

January 22, 2019

Follow your aspirations and passions: Advice from a strategy coordinator working in integrated pest management

Dr. Cezarina Kora

Dr. Cezarina Kora

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"It inspires me to see that more and more women are involved in science in the past decade and so many of them have joined the public service workforce. I feel fortunate to have studied and worked in environments that support women and I know firsthand the value of being understood and supported; currently I work in a group where 70 percent is made up by women."

November 16, 2018

Reaching for the Stars: Advice from a Scientist in Satellite Research

Dr. Heather McNairn

Dr. Heather McNairn

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"Role models and mentorship are very important. It takes just one person to make a difference—one person in your life who you look up to and who inspires you. I currently mentor two young women who I meet with once a month to talk about their careers and other things in their life."

January 25, 2019

Use Your Creativity to Make Great Choices: Advice from an Associate Director

Josée Owen

Josée Owen

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"Now that I am the Associate Director of an Agricultural Research and Development Centre, I think people would be surprised that I don’t make decisions all day long. It’s really more about finding ways to enable people to use their own creativity, expertise, and character to make great decisions about how they will move their science forward, and how they will in turn enable their own people to make great decisions."

January 25, 2019

Don’t be scared to ask questions: Advice from a scientist who tried something new

Dr. Anne Smith

Dr. Anne Smith

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"Don’t be scared to try something and to ask questions. If some aspect of science tweaks your interest, search out who to talk to, ask to visit them, or better yet spend a day job-shadowing. Find some aspect of science that interests you and that you enjoy. "

May 4, 2018

Karen Colbourne BN, RN, CCHN(C)

Karen Colbourne

Karen Colbourne

Public Health Agency of Canada

During regional communicable disease outbreaks such as Syphilis, Tuberculosis and H1N1 Karen has worked on local multi-disciplinary teams to develop and initiate interventions and contribute to outbreak response efforts. She also collaborated closely with Indigenous youth, elders, and educators throughout the Northwest Territories to develop sexual health programs and initiatives. “Seeing first-hand the positive impact of my work has been a real highlight of my career,” she told us.

May 4, 2018

Rolande D’Amour, RN, BScN, MN

Rolande D’Amour

Rolande D’Amour

Public Health Agency of Canada

Rolande is currently a senior nurse consultant for the Public Health Agency of Canada's Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Surveillance System, in Ottawa, Ontario. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the most common form of human prion disease. Prion diseases are rare, fatal, degenerative brain disorders that are thought to occur worldwide in both humans and animals. The term CJD is often used to refer to all forms of human prion disease. In 1998, Health Canada launched a national CJD surveillance system to monitor for the disease in Canada. Rolande and her nurse colleagues manage about 100 CJD cases a year.

May 4, 2018

Kathy Dunn, RN, BScN, MN

Kathy Dunn

Kathy Dunn

Public Health Agency of Canada

Kathy is engaged and inspired by her leadership role in the area of professional guidelines and public health practice at the federal level. However, she fondly remembers the personal interactions and intimate moments spent caring for patients and families in her early years as a nurse. It is these experiences that continue to guide her, providing the foundation for a rewarding career and her current work with PHAC.

May 4, 2018

Lynn M. Menard RN, BScN, MA

Lynn Menard

Lynn Menard

Public Health Agency of Canada

Lynn Menard works with the maternal and child health team at the Public Health Agency of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. She is currently working alongside numerous external maternal and newborn health experts to revise the Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care (FCMNC) National Guidelines.

May 4, 2018

Samantha Wilson-Clark, RN, BScN, MSc

Samantha Wilson-Clark

Samantha Wilson-Clark

Public Health Agency of Canada

Samantha Wilson-Clark sees her nursing education and training as invaluable to her public health career. “Being a nurse makes me a better public health professional,” she said. “Nursing taught me how to think critically, how to work under pressure and how to be flexible and adaptable. It provided me with the theoretical foundation to think big while not forgetting the person sitting in front of me.” Samantha especially enjoys connecting with people on the job and knowing that her work has a positive impact on Canadians.

February 8, 2018

Dr. Candice Didychuk, Medical Biophysicist/Chemist, Research Scientist Radiobiology and Health

Dr. Candice Didychuk

Dr. Candice Didychuk

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

"I work in the area of internal dosimetry research. I am looking at the solubility of biokinetics of different contamination hazards that our workers could be exposed to. Second, is preclinical studies towards some of the targeted alpha therapy research that is being performed at CNL, where I am basically evaluating those entities in the body and determining the dosimetry and the efficiency at targeting tumor sites and treatment of the disease."

February 8, 2018

Dr. Marilyne Stuart, Senior Research Scientist, Environmental Sciences

Dr. Marilyne Stuart

Dr. Marilyne Stuart

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

" I am currently trying to understand how plants and animals respond to different things like radiation, chemicals or environmental changes. Part of my work is also to look at biomarkers, and try to find new ways to evaluate health. A biomarker is, basically, a test or a measurable change that can give us information about health. "

February 8, 2018

Larkin Mosscrop-Kee, Biologist and Project Leader, Science & Technology Operations

Larkin Mosscrop-Kee

Larkin Mosscrop-Kee

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

"One of the coolest things I've been working on is actually the conversion of trains to hydrogen fuel cells. This is incredible, because you don't have overhead electrification and you can use hydrogen as a way to store energy and then create fuel for the trains."

February 8, 2018

Dr. Bronwyn Hyland, Physicist and Program Manager, Small Modular Reactors

Dr. Bronwyn Hyland

Dr. Bronwyn Hyland

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

"I'm working on our small modular reactor technologies program. Our goal of that is to demonstrate the commercial viability of a small modular reactor within the next 10 years. That will include hosting a new demonstration nuclear reactor at a CNL site."

February 8, 2018

Christina Van Drunen, Professional Engineer (Mechanical), Director of S&T Strategy and Collaboration

Christina Van Drunen

Christina Van Drunen

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

What would you say to aspiring young women considering a career in STEM fields? I would say absolutely go for it. The beauty of science and math is that you can be very directly involved in tangibly solving challenges that the world has today and that we're going to need addressed so that we can have a great future.

December 21, 2016

Mary-Lynn Dickson - Director, UNCLOS Program

Mary-Lynn Dickson

Mary-Lynn Dickson

Natural Resources Canada

"I think the best part of my job for me is the opportunity to go to sea. To work with my technicians, geologists, scientists, to collect data in the arctic ocean. 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."

December 21, 2016

Walta-Anne Rainey - Marine Geoscience Technologist

Walta-Anne Rainey

Walta-Anne Rainey

Natural Resources Canada

"You know that the arctic is a vast vast area. And you know it’s cold and you know it’s isolated. Logically you know all these things before you go up. But once you get there and you’re standing on a ship, and you’re breaking ice and you’re looking out over the horizon you don't really grasp the magnitude of where you are and how big an area this is, until you’re sort of standing there."

December 21, 2016

Ruth Jackson - Research Scientist Emeritus

Ruth Jackson

Ruth Jackson

Natural Resources Canada

"In the beginning of the UNCLOS project, I was the chief scientist in the Arctic on the ice camp work and on the ship going programs. For UNCLOS, what we were trying to do to get the maximum claim possible you have to look at bathymetric highs that are attached to your margin and they are both attached, the ones that are significant for us, the Lomonosov Ridge and the Alpha Ridge are both attached north of Ellesmere Island. This is the area we had to begin our work."

December 12, 2016

Lisa Loseto

Lisa Loseto

Lisa Loseto

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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.

June 15, 2019

Dr. Mireille Marcotte, National Manager, Plant Health Surveillance

Dr. Mireille Marcotte

Dr. Mireille Marcotte

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"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."

June 11, 2019

Émilie Larocque, Virologist, Saint-Hyacinthe Laboratory

Émilie Larocque

Émilie Larocque

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"I'd have to say that I love the entire scientific method, starting from asking a big or small question to reviewing everything that's out there on the subject, formulating my own hypothesis and then coming up with an experimental design to test that hypothesis. And obviously follow up and do the experiments and analyze the data to finally give an explanation."

June 13, 2019

Anna-Mary Schmidt, Head Grapevine Diagnostics, Sidney Laboratory

Anna-Mary Schmidt

Anna-Mary Schmidt

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"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."

June 13, 2019

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

Dr. Hana Weingartl

Dr. Hana Weingartl

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"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."

June 23, 2019

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

Dr. Ruojing Wang

Dr. Ruojing Wang

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"I did my PhD in plant ecology. I feel that plant ecology studies really broadened my knowledge and gave me a better understanding of plants, how they interact with each other and also interact with their surroundings. My studies have always centred on plants."

June 13, 2019

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

Dr. Susan Nadin-Davis

Dr. Susan Nadin-Davis

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

"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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Team profiles

Meet the Outbreak Management Division at the Public Health Agency of Canada

October 29, 2021

Meet the Outbreak Management Division at the Public Health Agency of Canada

The Outbreak Management Division (OMD) at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) consists of a team of highly qualified individuals from different backgrounds that assess, detect and coordinate investigations of enteric illness outbreaks (e.g., Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria) occurring in multiple provinces and territories in Canada, or at least one province or territory and another country.

Meet those leading the way in the field of air pollution science

February 11, 2020

Meet those leading the way in the field of air pollution science

The Exposure Assessment Section of Health Canada is a multi-disciplinary research team in the field of air pollution science. Their work supports government decision-making, academic advancement, and scientific resolution of questions related to air pollution exposure in Canada. The team includes dedicated scientists with expertise in epidemiology, geography, (bio)statistics, environmental health and modeling, engineering, and toxicology.

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

June 10, 2019

Bree-Ann Lightfoot and Dr. Lisa Hodges

Bree Ann Lightfoot and Dr. Lisa Hodges work together at the Dartmouth Laboratory where they perform species identification testing of fish and fish products to confirm that companies are accurately labelling their products.

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

December 21, 2016

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.

Hayley Hung and Sandy Steffen

December 12, 2016

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).

 

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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.

Choose Science

Choose 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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