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Best of the WWEST

Author: Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology

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Welcome to Best of the WWEST (Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology), where we believe providing role models for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can change the world. Come along with us as we talk to incredible women in STEM about their lives, careers, and everything in between.
138 Episodes
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In this episode, we speak with former wildland firefighter Jen Beverly. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Alberta and leads the Wildfire Analytics research team, where she teaches and conducts research on wildfire science and management. Jen talks about what drew her to firefighting and wildfire research in our conversation. She also discusses how climate change impacts researchers' ability to track trends and make forecasts. Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.  
In this episode, we speak with Natalia Bussard, who is the program manager for Simon Fraser University's Science Co-op program.   Her team is responsible for helping students find paid work experience in various scientific fields. In our conversation, she talks about what students can expect as they prepare to enter the workforce. She also offers us some insight into navigating today’s challenging job market.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
This episode we speak with Bonnie Douglas, who is the project manager at the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology, or CCWESTT.  She shares how her curiosity about sour cream led her to food engineering and how she now advocates for a diverse STEM workforce in her current role.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
To celebrate International Women's Month, we speak with Dr. Deborah Saucier, the President of the Vancouver Island University and a renowned researcher. A proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Dr. Saucier shares her journey to academic leadership. Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
For a special episode this month, we continue our conversation with the women at the Canadian Association of Girls in Science.  We speak with Diya Kalia, a member and teen ambassador for the organization, about how she's empowering the next generation of girls in STEM.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
STEM is full of opportunities for women passionate about making a difference. But recent studies have shown that women are sorely underrepresented in leadership positions, resulting in limited access to mentorship. This episode we speak with Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko about how her passion for breaking stereotypes has transformed a local initiative into a nationwide movement. Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
According to UN data from 2021, women in the international space industry represent just 20 percent of the workforce. That number has stayed around the same for the past 30 years. This episode we speak with Dr. Parshati Patel about her career as an astrophysicist turned STEM educator and the challenges she faces along the way.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
Four marine biologists are taking on the World's Toughest Row, a challenge that sets sail across the Atlantic Oceean from the Canary Islands to Antigua.  The team is on a mission to raise $500,000 USD for marine science and conservation, including an organization based in B.C.  This episode we speak with the Salty Science Crew's members, Chantale Bégin, Noelle Helder, Isabelle Côté and Lauren Shea, as they set off on their 3000 mile journey.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
From a global pandemic to an ongoing climate crisis, science journalism has become a staple in our lives. But the threat and spread of misinformation has created a gap between the public and scientists. So how can science and journalism work in conjunction to mend this divide? This episode we speak with Amorina Kingdon about her work and the challenges she's faced as a science writer and journalist. Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
According to Statistics Canada, women make up less than 25 per cent of people working in STEM careers. As women continue to break down barriers that once held them back from pursuing STEM, it is becoming more important than ever to address diverse backgrounds and identities in research and industry. So how are some of these women navigating their careers and what can we do to create more equitable workplaces? This episode we speak with Hadeel Mohammed about her work and the challenges she overcame as a muslim woman in STEM.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
Often the assumption is that STEM scientists are mostly white and male, and it's not hard to see why. The media keeps reinforcing this image, and the fact that women, people of color, and other minority groups are seriously underrepresented in STEM doesn't help either. This episode we speak with Dr. Stacey Smith? about her experiencing in STEM breaking stereotypes and making the industry more inclusive.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
With wildfire season taking over several parts of the country, the need for proper management and restoration is becoming even more crucial. This episode Sarah Dickson-Hoyle, a post-doctoral researcher at UBC working iwth the Secwepemcúl’ecw Restoration and Stewardship Society, joins us to talk about the importance of collaborating and working with Indigenous people for wildfire preparation, management, and restoration.   Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
A 2022 Diversity in Tech survey found representation of women and Indigenous people marginally increased in the tech industry over a span of three years.  This episode Maritza Louis, a character modeler at Walt Disney Animation Studios, joins us to talk about her experiences and the need for more diversity in the animation and tech field.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
As the world repeatedly fails to meet climate goals, scientists are the ones on the front lines facing the brunt of the complex issue.  This episode Lynne Quarmby opens up about her own personal struggles with eco-anxiety and the relentless fight scientists face against the global climate crisis. Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
Artificial intelligence is penetrating almost every walk of life and changing how we approach everyday life. While it shares a glimpse of the near future, AI still reflects our current society and the large gaps that have yet to be filled. This episode we speak with Katrina Ingram, founder and CEO of Ethically Aligned AI, to learn more about the need for ethical discussions and diversity in AI and the tech industry.    Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
In this episode, Jade Boyd takes us through her life as a qualitative researcher scientist with British Columbia's Centre of Substance Use to understand the experiences and challenges of women who use drugs. This year the provincee of British Columbia legalised possession of 2.5 grams of certain illicit drugs for people 18 years and older. This is part of a three-year pilot in which  MDMA, Cocaine, Methamphetamines, and opioids have been decriminalised in hopes to tamp down on the escalating opioid crisis.    Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
In this episode, Shayle Graham talks to us about Black ESTEEM, a non-profit organization supporting Black girls' interest and confidence in STEM, economics, and entrepreneurship. Through her experience as an educator and an equity, anti-racism, anti-Black and anti-oppression coach for one of the largest school boards in Canada, Graham works to celebrate the beauty and brilliance of Black girls and their communities.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
In this episode, Jessica Vandenberghe talks to us about her experiences as an Indigenous engineer at the forefront of addressing reconciliation in the STEM field. From working in the oil and mining industries to becoming the Assistant Dean at the University of Alberta's faculty of engineering, Vandenberghe talks about the importance of truth & reconciliation to build stronger communities with well-informed engineers.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
In this episode, Damineh Akhavan takes us through her life as an aerospace engineer and a human rights activist protesting weekly for women's rights in Iran. From the streets of Iran to the heart of Downtown Vancouver, activists like Akhavan are standing up to bring awareness to the cause and change to their home country. Protests in Iran and around the world follow the death of 23 year old Mahsa Amini, who was killed by Iran's morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly.  Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
In this episode, Dr. Naheda Sahtout and Dr. Nicole Brown sit with us to discuss the experiences of individuals with disabilities in STEM and academia, and how we can make STEM more accessible for disabled individuals in the workplace, lab, and classroom! Dr. Naheda Sahtout (Ph.D) is an award-winning academic, researcher, scientist, and leader. Naheda completed her B.Sc. (Honours) in Biology from the University of Waterloo, M.Sc. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Guelph, and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Saskatchewan. She is currently a Science Analyst in the Office of the Chief Science Operating Officer with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Naheda developed a strong interest in STEM outreach and finding innovative and creative ways of bringing STEM to rural and Indigenous communities during her graduate programs. She also found her passion in enhancing graduate education, and as a student leader worked hard to strengthening the student-supervisory relationship, finding more resources for graduate students, increasing the networking opportunities for graduate students with non-academic partners, and working on initiatives that prepare graduate students for non-academic careers. Aside from all her efforts on campus, she also finds time to volunteer in the community and spent much of her time in Saskatoon helping refugees and newcomers with the Saskatoon Open Door Society. Currently, she is the Managing director of the Muslim Achieving Excellence Scholarships Fund program, a national program dedicated to supporting excellence in youth. Having herself tackled an academic journey with a visual impairment; she is passionate about advocating for inclusivity, diversity, equality and accessibility in science. She is committed to redefining the landscape and finding ways to support women and girls succeed. She continues to dedicate her time to these matters, whether it is in the workplace or at a global level. Her unique background and first-hand experience navigating academia, combined with her fierce and enthusiastic nature, have given her the tools to be an excellent advocate for the matters that are close to her heart. Dr. Nicole Brown is a writer, social researcher, and associate professor working on the cusp of research/practice/teaching. She is Director of Social Research & Practice and Education Ltd and Associate Professor at University College London. Nicole’s creative and research work relate to physical and material representations of experiences, the generation of knowledge, the use of metaphors, and more generally, research methods and approaches to explore identity and body work. Her books include Lived Experiences of Ableism in Academia: Strategies for Inclusion in Higher Education, Ableism in Academia: Theorising Experiences of Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses in Higher Education, Embodied Inquiry: Research Methods, and Making the Most of Your Research Journal. Her next books are Creativity in Education: International Perspectives and Photovoice, Reimagined. Nicole's creative nonfiction has been published in the Journal of Participatory Research Methods, So Fi Zine and The AutoEthnographer. Nicole shares her work at https://www.nicole-brown.co.uk and she tweets as @ncjbrown and @AbleismAcademia Listen to the Best of the WWEST on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, iHeart, Gaana, and Castbox Visit wwest-cwse.ca to learn more about WWEST and to listen to other available episodes.
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Comments (2)

kambrielle

Wow so much great content. Thought-provoking.

Jun 5th
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kambrielle

Rike’s most memorable moment cracked me up!

Apr 23rd
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