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2021 Girls Get WISE Science Summer Camps
For: Teachers/Parents For: Women in SETT/Professionals

2021 Girls Get WISE Science Summer Camps

WISEatlantic has been busy this summer welcoming back campers to our Girls Get WISE Science Summer Camps. Following our virtual camps last year, we were eager to get girls back in the lab!

Our two Junior camps gave participants the chance to assume their roles as biologists-in-training and raise zebrafish for the week. As well as learning about the ins-and-outs of zebrafish development, participants enjoyed other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities, including making aluminum foil boats, designing social media posts to inform others about important science topics, and exploring the psychology behind motivation and group work.  

Our Senior camps always intend to expand participants’ interest beyond the biology lab, and this year was no different! We spent the week observing the Sun (safely!) through telescopes with solar filters, making usable algae strings, learning about sleep and dreams, and creating art using cabbage juice as a pH indicator. Campers also got to learn how to spot fake news when browsing the web, and helped Citizen Science by tracking pollinators in our area.  

All of our camps featured role model sessions where participants got to learn about various STEM careers, including necessary schooling, what a day-in-the-life looks like, and what skills will help them be successful in those careers. Some of our role models’ fields of work included Aerospace Engineering, Environmental Science, Genetic Counselling, Registered Dietetics, and Bat Research.  

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The Impact of Role Models on Girls+ Choosing STEM Careers
For: Teachers/Parents

The Impact of Role Models on Girls+ Choosing STEM Careers

I’ve been the Program Manager for the WISEatlantic program since 2013 and during this time I’ve had the privilege of observing hundreds of girls interacting with role models who look like them and who work in all kinds of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers.

All our signature Girls Get WISE Events, one-day retreats and summer camps, feature a round-robin style mentoring session where small groups of participants meet and chat with women working in various STEM careers. Upon reviewing the evaluations from these events, where we ask participants to rank all the sessions on a scale from 1-5, our role model sessions average a 4.3. This isn’t surprising to me as the participants often leave this session very excited, and this is above hands-on STEM sessions like coding or extracting DNA from fruit! The importance of exposing girls to women STEM role models cannot be understated. In Canada only 20% of STEM jobs are occupied by women (Perreault et al, 2018), even though women make up nearly half of the Canadian workforce (47.4%). Diversity breeds innovation, it allows for different perspectives and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, just what we need to help tackle the important issues of our time, such as climate change. As the effects of climate change disproportionately impact women around the world, we need more women in STEM to be part of the solution. The majority of girls that WISEatlantic engages with are between the ages of 12 and 16, the age when they may be starting to seriously consider what sort of career they may want to pursue. Research with girls in this age group by González-Pérez et al (2020) showed that role-model intervention has a positive and significant effect on mathematics enjoyment, importance attached to math, expectations of success in math, and girls’ aspirations in STEM, and a negative effect on gender stereotypes. This study was done with 304 girls in similar role model arrangements to ours, informal with multiple diverse female role models, and ensuring that role models speak to how their jobs help society. Our own research has also shown that engaging girls in this way significantly impacts their interest in pursuing these professions (Franz-Odendaal et al. 2020). It’s encouraging to have data that backs-up what I’ve seen anecdotally through our own role model sessions; that exposing young girls to women role models in a variety of STEM careers helps them to see themselves in those careers in the future. Here is a snippet of feedback we’ve received from girls at various Girls Get WISE events, this feedback was taken from our general ‘leave a comment’ section of our evaluations: “The role model session helped to round out questions I had about university.” “The Role Model session was really great because you get to explore various careers and see how it worked for those people and how their hard work paid off.” “Really enjoyed hearing about different jobs from the role models.” It can be easy to assume that the girls would be more interested in the hands-on STEM activities during our events, and for some this is the case, but for a good portion of the participants connecting with role models leaves a lasting and positive impression. Another activity that we’ve done with participants, one we call ‘Budgeting for Life’, has been a big hit. In this activity the girls randomly choose either a STEM career or a non-STEM career and plan a budget around the typical salary for their career. The girls use a budget template on Excel and have to account for typical expenses such as rent/mortgage, transportation, food, etc. We have them search for and find a place to live that fits within their budget and discuss discretionary spending. Through this type of activity the girls learn quite quickly the typical salary difference between a STEM and non-STEM job and just how much things cost, which is always more than they expect! We’ve had comments from participants that they wished this activity was longer they enjoyed it so much. I think activities like this paired with exposure to STEM role models can be very beneficial in showcasing the positive aspects of a career in STEM, and hopefully encourage more girls to seriously consider these careers. You may be wondering how YOU as a parent, caregiver, or teacher can assist with showcasing women STEM role models to the girl(s) in your life, here are a few ways:

  • Do any of your friends or family members work in STEM? If so, ask if they would speak about their career with the young girls you know.
  • There are many great books out now that feature Women in STEM, we have a list of some of them on our website, http://www.wiseatlantic.ca/resources/?subject=stem
  • Check out programs like Techsploration, Terranaut Club, Diversity of Nature, CAGIS, all programs that expose youth to role models in STEM. We have compiled these into a pamphlet, available at, http://www.wiseatlantic.ca/resources/?subject=edi
  • Are you a teacher? Schedule a virtual Career Corner session with WISEatlantic for your class, we will arrange for 3-4 female STEM role models to interact with your class in careers of your choosing. You can arrange a session any time by contacting WISEatlantic@msvu.ca
  • We also have a series of posters and career booklets featuring local Women in STEM, you can order these at any time by contacting us at the email listed above. They are also available for download on our website at http://www.wiseatlantic.ca/resources/?subject=career-exploration. Also available on this page is our Budgeting for Life activity mentioned above.

But above all, encourage girls to be curious and don’t miss an opportunity to show them that women ARE doing STEM jobs, excelling at them, and so can they!     References: Franz-Odendaal, TA, French F, Joy, P and Blotnicky K. 2020. Math self-efficacy and the likelihood of pursuing a STEM-based career: a comparative analysis of girls versus boys and the impacts of an all-girls Science camp.  Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education. González-Pérez, S., Mateos de Cabo, R., Sáinz, M. (2020). Girls in STEM: Is It a Female Role-Model Thing? Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 11. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02204 Perreault, A., Franz-Odendaal, T., Langelier, E., Farenhorst, A., Mavriplis, C., Shannon, L. (2018). Analysis of the distribution of gender in STEM fields in Canada. Version 1.1.

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Partnerships Program - Success Stories
For: Students For: Teachers/Parents For: Women in SETT/Professionals

Partnerships Program - Success Stories

The WISEatlantic Partnerships Program is an opportunity for community organizations in Atlantic Canada to receive a small one-year sponsorship for projects that promote the outreach, recruitment, and retention for girls, young women, and industry professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

In 2020/2021 WISEatlantic granted Fundy Geological Museum a sponsorship to host the Paleontologist for a Weekend Camp. Twenty-one girls participated over the course of two camps in September, which gave participants the opportunity to explore what being a paleontologist is like. Some of the activities included a trip to the Fundy fossil research site, sieving for fossils, using digital microscopes, and preparing fossil casts. Providing campers with the chance to engage in every-day paleontology activities involved the combination of both art and science, in addition to encouraging critical thinking skills. Fundy Geological Museum intends on hosting the camps again in the future.  

Diversity of Nature was another recipient of the Partnerships Program sponsorship. Funding went towards hosting two 3-day field camps that brought thirty participants in grades 10-12 together to engage in numerous workshops lead by female scientists. Some of the topics covered included mycology and plant diversity, taxonomic identification, microorganisms and microscopes, and plant pigments and extraction. Additionally, workshops were held on BIPOC leadership and environmental racism, and Indigenous ecological knowledge. Furthermore, Diversity of Nature reached a total of 544 youth from K-12 with a diverse array of STEM programming. More programming is expected in the new year! 

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Engineers and Scientists are Everyday People!
For: Students For: Teachers/Parents For: Women in SETT/Professionals

Engineers and Scientists are Everyday People!

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity and honor of interviewing and photographing amazing Atlantic Canadian women in the STEM fields for a WISEatlantic project called the “Career Spotlight Booklet Series”. I say honor, as I was blown away by the talent these women emulated. Each one of them made me feel welcomed (even though I thought I would be intimated!) and all were excited to share with me their educational and career experiences and triumphs.

To date, I have completed two books in the series, “Women in Science” and “Women in Engineering” and presently in the process of completing “Indigenous Women in STEM”.  You can find these two booklets on the WISEatlantic website, on the resource page, and they have also been distributed to some schools in Atlantic Canada.

A common theme throughout the interviews was the fact that if you don’t know what you want to do right now, don’t worry!  You can always change directions.  Just do “something” and the rest will follow, and if you do change your mind, that’s okay too!  For instance, one woman I interviewed never intended to be a professor as she thought she was an introvert and hated speaking in front of people, but she found once she had the expertise and experience she became more confident.

Another common theme was that you may think you want to do one thing but may end up doing something completely different and unrelated and that’s okay also.  For example, one woman I interviewed thought she wanted to be a veterinarian but when she took a class in Animal Biology she realized it wasn’t for her.

Creativity was also a universal theme throughout.  Almost every one of these amazing women had a creative side they nourished including a writer, artist, and photographer.

 Other Common pieces of advice included:

  • Never give up
  • Be Persistent
  • Be Flexible
  • Be Resilient
  • Stay with it if you are interested in it. Don’t think “I can’t do it”.
  • Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to take on new tasks or something you are not comfortable with
  • Do a co-op placement if available
  • You can learn something from everything you do and every job you try
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have a different perspective or opinion
  • Do what “lights you up”
  • Ask lots of questions of people about jobs you may be interested in
  • Network and volunteer
  • Get a Mentor
  • Keep your options open
  • Don’t prejudge yourself or your capabilities

 Career Highlights

I interviewed one amazing lady who had completed a geology degree and then decided she really wanted to be an aerospace engineer so she did and now she is working on designing a new lighter and more flexible space suit at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for NASA.

I also interviewed a Biomedical engineer who is in the medical field researching the maternal make-up of the heart and how heart valves are remodeled during pregnancy.  I learned about one female working on a vaccine for ovarian cancer, a biologist who monitors areas for the presence of whales using their sounds, and another woman who is researching new sustainable ways to make better plastics like water bottles.

 Educational Paths

Did you know that you can get paid while doing your Masters and PhD’s?!  Yes, you are going to school but it’s a job too!  I also learned that it may seem like a long time in school, but everyone I interviewed said the time goes fast.

When asked about their educational path all the women completed an undergrad degree, Masters degree and most even PhD’s!

Career Impacts

Some of the many broad impacts these amazing scientists and engineers have had on society include:

  • New medical applications such as development of new vaccines, research on impacts of heart valves during pregnancy, and other medical treatments for osteoporosis, knee injuries, medical supplies for military use and space application.
  • Study of environmental impacts on our eco systems, global warming, agricultural waste, biofuel applications, protection of our whale population, lowering gas emissions, and creating sustainable plastic options.
  • Engineering developments such as creating sustainable wind and solar energy resources to guarantee reliable energy options for the future, protecting the public and environment by understanding and reducing dam safety risks, ensuring clean water sources and safe hydro systems, maintaining aircraft safety measures, as well as influencing policy decision makers.

Vision

All these women had a vision of equal opportunity for everyone and equal representation, including pay, promotion and gender equality, as well as hope that more women excelled to positions of leadership.

So yes, I learned lots of great things, including Scientists are everyday people and they all want to exceed!

 

By Jeanette McPherson, WISEatlantic Assistant

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2SLGBTQ+ STEM Professionals’ Experience
For: Teachers/Parents For: Women in SETT/Professionals

2SLGBTQ+ STEM Professionals’ Experience

Diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) drives innovation and creative ideas in the field, because people with different backgrounds and perspectives can find new ways to solve problems. Increasing representation and inclusion of marginalized groups in this field would increase opportunities for these groups and advance equity. Moreover, increasing participation of different groups in this field would grow the field overall, contributing to the economy and scientific advancement. However, STEM fields have historically been male-dominated and associated with masculinity in the minds of many. While there is a substantial body of literature on women’s inclusion in science, LGBTQ+ representation in STEM is something we know less about.

A new study by Cech and Waidzunas (2021) details the disparity in STEM experiences between LGBTQ+ people and their straight counterparts in the US. In surveying a sample of 25,324 full-time STEM professionals, 1,006 of whom were LGBTQ+, they found LGBTQ+ individuals were having worse experiences in STEM across a number of dimensions. The factors they examined were career opportunities, harassment, professional devaluation (colleagues devaluing or discrediting their STEM expertise), social exclusion (not “fitting in” or being invited to things), health and wellness, and intentions to leave STEM.

LGBTQ+ individuals in the sample had fewer perceived career opportunities and less resources. They were also less comfortable “whistleblowing” (i.e. reporting harassment or discrimination without retaliation). Significantly more LGBTQ+ individuals in their sample were experiencing professional devaluation and social exclusion. LGBTQ+ respondents were more likely to experience harassment and negative mental health effects, and significantly more LGBTQ+ respondents were considering leaving STEM than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts.

These authors also did an intersectional analysis and found that transgender and gender non-binary respondents reported more health and wellness issues, and were more likely to consider leaving STEM than their cisgender sexual minority counterparts. Similarly, LGBTQ+ women and LGBTQ+ individuals of colour were more likely than LGBTQ+ men and LGBTQ+ white individuals, respectively, to experience harassment and professional devaluation at work.

Though North America has come a long way in terms of marriage equality and other LGBTQ+ rights, this evidence shows us there is still more work to be done to include LGBTQ+ individuals equally and equitably across all sectors of society. Moreover, more research needs to be done in Canada, as most of the current literature is based on US samples. WISEatlantic is currently conducting research with Canadian LGBTQ+ postdocs in STEM, so stay tuned!

There are several organizations focused on LGBTQ+ inclusion and visibility in STEM, which can be checked out at these links! There even is one in Atlantic Canada, QAtCanSTEM:

https://qatcanstem.github.io/

https://Prideinstem.org

https://500queerscientists.com/

https://lgbtqplusstem.ca/

 

By Drew Burchell, WISEatlantic Research Assistant

 

References

Cech, E. A., & Waidzunas, T. J. (2021). Systemic inequalities for LGBTQ professionals in STEM. Science Advances, 7(3), eabe0933

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Girls Get WISE Summer Camps: An Incredible Opportuni
For: Students For: Teachers/Parents

Girls Get WISE Summer Camps: An Incredible Opportuni

Career experience in adolescence is one of the most crucial building blocks of life that many individuals do not have the opportunity to encounter. For the age groups of 12-16-year olds, experience is what derives conversation in order for them to make career decisions in high school that will impact their future.

Discovering mathematical talent or falling in love with human anatomy, can influence minds and allow students to discover their passion. But, the lack of exposure to a range of different opportunities can limit students to only certain or “main” career options that they may not be interested in. Specifically, although the representation of women has increased in areas of STEM, there is still a significant lack in areas such as engineering. I previously read that women made up 34% of STEM bachelor’s degree holders and only 23% of science and technology workers and are under-represented in these fields. Due to this, it is evident now more than ever that opportunities must be presented to young women in order to expand their knowledge on incredible STEM career options.

One of the most incredible opportunities that I took part in and allowed me to expand my interest in STEM was the Girls Get WISE Science Summer Camp. The camp was a week-long event that exposes young women to the sciences, technology, engineering, and math. The activities were so valuable because they were educational along with enjoyable. In particular, some of them included hatching and growing zebrafish, learning basic coding, the process of welding, forensic science, engineering challenges and over 10 more activities. In particular, the zebrafish lab was one of the unforgettable STEM activities that I participated in. The lab activity allowed the campers to view and assist in the process of hatching zebrafish eggs. We learnt about the temperature they resided in, the parts of the embryo, and even basic lab rules. It gave youth such as myself the opportunity to use petri dishes, pipettes, and microscopes. The exposure to a biology lab at a young age allowed me to be more informed when I entered the Pre-IB program in high school. Although my biology class was fast paced, I was able to easily catch up because I knew how to use a microscope and understood the safety rules of a lab that I learned in the WISE camp. Another activity included welding with the NSCSC. In my mind, welding was just a small job done by construction workers, but what I did not know is that it is one of the most important pieces to an industrial site. All the campers and I got first-hand experience on wielding through a VR simulator that gave us an understanding on the level of difficulty. The camp was an absolutely incredible experience and the hands-on activities made it worthwhile.

By Shabad Kaur

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What is Science Communication and Why is it Important?
For: Students For: Teachers/Parents For: Women in SETT/Professionals

What is Science Communication and Why is it Important?

Science communication is a growing field. Its purpose is to educate the general public on science issues or research that is relevant to them, so they are able to form educated opinions and decisions. Our world is evolving rapidly around us, whether it’s the newest technological innovation, species or disease, the topics are endless. We are in a time where scientific changes happen every day and for us to be able to thrive and adapt to these changes, we all need to understand what we are up against.

People are flooded with information from so many different sources whether it’s through newspapers, television or social media. This means that as scientists, we need to communicate our information effectively so that our message resonates with the public. Social media can be a great medium for positive connected communication, but it has also changed how society interprets scientific facts. Opinions are now taken at face value and everyone seems to be the expert, except the real experts! This is a huge issue that needs to be addressed and using effective science communication will help. The public deserve evidence-based facts so they can form their own educated opinion on topics that effect their everyday life. Communication is a complex human interaction that can be easily misunderstood, which is why science communication is a crucial type of communication. Using clear, concise science communication allows the public to have access to relevant and understandable science-based information.

People wonder why scientists even need special science communicators to relay their messages. Why should they need other people to share their work? A good scientist should be a good communicator. This is a lesson that could be taught along with cell theory, organic chemistry and Newton’s laws in Science degrees. The whole point of Science is to discover new things and share them with people. The reality is that not everyone understands complex science (often because it is full of scientific jargon), but that doesn’t mean their right to understand should be taken away. Science communication is a field that is always developing because science is ever evolving. Science communication creates lots of room for collaboration and it utilizes creative ways to incorporate science literacy into everyone’s lives. The fact of the matter is that science is in everyday life, you cannot escape it. So, becoming educated on the relevant topics is essential.

Science communication provides a non-confrontational, universal way of communicating information that is important for life on earth (and other planets). The world is changing and so shall we, but we need the right information shared in the appropriate way to adapt to the changes we face as humanity. Science communicators should be a crucial member on political advisor teams, product development, Public relations teams etc. This world is developing, it is time we develop with it.

Here are some great resources if you are interested in learning more about Science Communication:

Science Up First!
Canadian Centre for Science Communication
The Nova Scotian Institute of Science

By Molly Murray.

Molly is a BSc. Science Communication student at MSVU and the WISEatlantic Communications Assistant

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Science Needs Women and Girls in STEM
For: Teachers/Parents For: Women in SETT/Professionals

Science Needs Women and Girls in STEM

Now, more than ever, the world needs all scientists and researchers of diverse and varied backgrounds to aid in the fight against COVID-19. In such a vital time where science is pushing boundaries and rapidly evolving to meet circumstances, you would think that equal numbers of women and men would be at the forefront of the movement. While there have been significant improvements in respect to gender equality in the STEM workforce over the past few months and years, it still yields disappointing figures when compared to desired numbers.

Less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women. That’s a staggering statistic considering women make up slightly more than half of the world’s population. Furthermore, only 35% of those studying in STEM programs are women. There are a variety of explanations as to why this is: inherent assumptions that girls won’t do well in science, less mentors and role models, hostility from others regarding their ‘unnatural’ choice of career path, just to name a few. Even if they persevere through their schooling, the workplace isn’t always kind. Some barriers include unequal pay, glass ceilings (an inability to progress or be promoted beyond a certain point), and a lack of reliable policies to ensure job security in times of pregnancy leave or other life events. Most, if not all, of these barriers are nonexistent to white men.

So, what can we do about it? While we can’t just will gender equality into existence (though I so wish we could), an effective way to get started is raising awareness and celebrating women in STEM. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science was introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 to ensure equal participation of women across STEM fields and to empower them to pursue their scientific ambitions. The day has been designated as February 11th and embraces a theme each year. Last year’s theme was ‘Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth’ and aimed to draw attention to the reality that both women in science and gender equality are necessary if the world intends to meet any internationally agreed developmental goals (an example would be the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development). The theme for 2021 has yet to be announced.

There are a variety of ways you can celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science safely this year. Spend some time researching a woman’s scientific achievements on Google (easily done from the comfort of your couch) or sit down with some of the young girls in your life and chat with them about their ambitions. Encourage them to pursue STEM and make them aware that it’s possible for them to succeed in the field. You can also engage with different at-home STEM activities (a nice collection can be viewed at http://www.wiseatlantic.ca/resources/ ). However you chose to celebrate, be sure to have fun with it, and know that you’re empowering the women in your life and helping create an increasingly gender equal world.  

By Madyn Bourque

Sources: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/womenandgirlinscienceday https://sdg.iisd.org/events/international-day-of-women-and-girls-in-science/ https://www.builtbyme.com/lack-of-women-in-stem-reasons/#:~:text=Fewer%20girls%20keep%20their%20interest,science%2C%20technology%20and%20engineering%20fields. https://nationaltoday.com/international-day-of-women-and-girls-in-science/ https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/international-day-of-women-and-girls-in-science

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Living WISEly - Winner Announcement
For: Students For: Teachers/Parents

Living WISEly - Winner Announcement

In 2020, the WISEatlantic team decided that we wanted to virtually engage young girls in the creative design process to promote their interest in STEM. The Living WISEly App Idea Design Contest was developed as an opportunity for girls aged 14-16 to hone their creative skills to one of today’s most heavily discussed topics: sustainability. Sustainability refers to meeting your own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. Participants were tasked to develop their own interpretations of sustainability and design their own app that either promotes or is related to their definition of sustainability.

The contest was held over many months, with application intake opening in December 2019 and closing in February 2021. In March, we hosted a virtual App 101 Session with app developer Lesley Chard. Participants were introduced to the App design process, as well as various tips and tricks to keep in mind while developing their designs. Later that month, contestants made their first pitch to a small judging panel. Judges provided feedback for each participant to incorporate into their final pitches.

Final pitches were longer and App designs had to be polished and fine-tuned. The presentation style was open, but it had to be clear that thought and effort had gone into their final pitch. A variety of styles were used, including both video and PowerPoint. A judging panel of 5 people attended the presentations and were assessed participants’ App designs according to a variety of criteria including, but not limited to, how well they adhered to theme, the originality and execution of their design, the need for the App, and if they had appropriately used their time during their pitch. The panel met following the presentations and decided on three winners; tied for first place were Shabad Kaur and Bianca Skye, and the runner up was Babitha Pothu. Congratulations to the three of you!

Shabad’s App was called “Plan-It” and was designed to make it easier for individuals to make sustainable purchases at a variety of big-name stores. By incorporating a reward system into her app that gave users the chance to earn discounts when they made certain sustainable choices, she ensured that people would keep coming back to her App and make long-term change.

Bianca’s App, “Go Go Eco”, was aimed towards younger children. Users would have the opportunity to grow a virtual garden by doing various real-time and in-game tasks related to sustainability. Her goal was to teach the younger generation about how they can make sustainable choices from their own home, like growing a vegetable garden, or ditching single-use plastics.

Babitha named her app “Accident Free” because its purpose was to prevent car accidents from occurring. The App would sync with a vehicles’ monitoring systems to alert the driver of any immediate threats. The other feature of the App was that if there was an accident, it would sync with 911 and alert the appropriate emergency assistance and would provide first responders important information such as location of the accident.

Congratulations to all participants! It was amazing to see what you all came up with. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into the contest and we can’t wait to see what you do next!

Thank you also to our judges: Tamara Franz-Odendaal, Sally Marchand, Lesley Chard, Madyn Bourque, and Molly Murray.

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2021 Virtual Girls Get WISE Retreat
For: Teachers/Parents

2021 Virtual Girls Get WISE Retreat

Our 2021 Girls Get WISE Science Retreat went virtual for the first time this year! The event was held on May 1st through Zoom to introduce young girls to various STEM disciplines while engaging them in science related activities.

Thirty-two girls in grades 7-10 participated in a CSI-based spatter analysis activity where they got to put their mathematical skills to the test to determine where a balloon of Fruitopia popped. Additionally, the girls worked together in small groups to make their way through a STEM-themed escape room including tasks in binary coding, pH testing, constellation naming, and DNA transcription and translation. The retreat also featured our always popular role model session which gave participants the chance to interact with female scientists in civil engineering, physics, and environmental science, and learn about their careers.

While the retreat was not able to be held in person this year, it remained a success! Having the event virtually gave us the chance to host girls from outside of the Halifax area, bringing an enthusiastic group of aspiring scientists together safely to celebrate our love for STEM.

Featured below is some feedback we received from participants and their parents about their experiences in our 2021 Virtual Girls Get WISE Science Retreat;

“I really enjoyed the role model session and learning about different jobs in the STEM field.”

“It was a huge hit with our 13-year-old daughter… and a perfect activity while NS is in lockdown, and we are all staying at home.”

“My favorite activity was the escape room. I have been to two of these events in previous years and [have] enjoyed every one!”

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