February 11 is the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGS). UN Secretary-General António Guterres says of the event, “To rise to the challenges of the 21st century, we need to harness our full potential. That requires dismantling gender stereotypes. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s pledge to end the gender imbalance in science.”
As institutions and organizations around the world celebrate women in science and work to ensure the next generation has every opportunity to reach their full potential, SNOLAB is proud to be among them. The SNOLAB outreach team is running workshops as part of the full day programming organized by Laurentian University and CROSH at the Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building for grade six students in Sudbury. We are running a soundscape workshop where each particle of background radiation is represented by a musical instrument. The students journey underground and inside a detector, listening for the very quiet sounds of particle interactions. Additionally, post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Cindy Lin, gave a talk on neutrinos and her work on the SNO+ experiment.
There are many talented women leading and supporting the science programme at SNOLAB. To learn about some of the women in science working at SNOLAB and what they have to say to girls interested in STEM, read through the profiles below.
“Shaking up the traditional look of male-dominated fields benefits everyone. We need new perspectives, experiences, methods and ideas to evolve. Don’t be afraid to speak out, ask questions and just be yourself. I think the biggest takeaway is that you don’t need to be perfect or right all the time. From my experience, being the only woman in the room or the field can be daunting when you feel you’re representing all women. Don’t forget that you’re human and not infallible. Make mistakes, learn from them and keep pushing forward.”
“My experience working as an EIT at SNOLAB has been very diverse, both with the work that I do and the people I have the privilege to work with. I have worked on a variety of challenging projects that have helped me grow as a professional, and in what seems to be a rare occurrence, I have been able to do it all on a team with equal representation!”
“Engineering has been what my interests have pointed me to ever since I was small, but I didn’t know it. I knew engineering was a career path but I never felt like it was one I would undertake, that is, until someone I didn’t even know pointed it out to me. It just felt like a career path other people do, surely not something I would do. I was wrong; this is the field I belong in. Anyone, regardless of gender or other factors, can find themselves in engineering if it lines up with your interests, of course. I get to troubleshoot, fix, and find new solutions to things all day long and I love it.”
“Don’t let anyone convince you that you can not develop a career in science because it is challenging. It is alright to sit with the discomfort of not knowing the answer right away. But once you find it the whole process of getting there is very rewarding.”
“Science is a fun subject and gives you freedom to explore. Don’t be afraid of science. Just believe in yourself and you will learn that a scientist can just look like you. Be a woman with scientific ideas!”
“I came into science communication to share my passion for science, but also to make science accessible, interesting, and relevant to more people. It’s important that all young people can see themselves reflected in STEM careers and see that STEM can be their pathway to success. Diversity in role models – people of colour, persons with disabilities, and marginalized sexes and genders – will paint that picture for a wider audience!”
“Science fascinates me and has given me the opportunity to do things I would never have imagined. With science comes inspiration, challenges, learning and hope. Embrace each challenge that comes your way, believe in yourself, your abilities and you will shine!”
“When I was at school, my headteacher was also my Physics teacher and she went above and beyond to help us understand. I found her a very inspiring woman, and seeing her able to pursue a career in Physics made me see that it was an option for me too.”