International Day of Women in STEM

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The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a day of recognition for the critical role women and girls play in science, technology, engineering, and math. Today promotes women and girls rights to full and equal access to participate in science.

We asked some of IWK Health’s incredible women in STEM for the advice they would give to young women starting their STEM careers, and how colleagues can advocate for women within the industry.


Find mentors you can trust and who will share their networks and deploy their capital in order to build you up.

Elevate the voices of other women at least once per day. It’s a muscle we all need to develop and maintain. For example, use micro-techniques, such as bystander interventions, when women’s voices are silenced or overlooked in meetings. Or, nominate other women for leadership positions or awards.”

Dr. Jeannie Shoveller, PhD, VP Research and Innovation


“Believe in yourself and be persistent. You will encounter many barriers, be misunderstood, and feel like quitting. Reassure yourself that you are not alone and just keep being you!

It helps to share our stories. Often, we look at others as a “success” and don’t realize the challenges encountered and tears shed. Amplify and raise other women up whenever you can.

There are lots of ways that men can support their female colleagues, by sharing in and suggesting them for opportunities, showcasing their work, removing barriers, insisting on equitable treatment.” 

Dr. Christine Chambers, PhD, RPsych, Scientific Director SKIP
LinkedIn: Dr C  Chambers
Twitter: @DrCChambers


“It was one of the best choices I ever made to become a Professional Engineer.  The opportunities in STEM are limitless. Your technical training will allow you to focus on issues that ignite your passion and assist Society with addressing problems, large and small.  STEM careers often provide opportunities to travel or to collaborate with colleagues in a broad network inside and outside of Nova Scotia.  Find several mentors (male and female) who will support your career progression to achieve your utmost potential.

Women in STEM need to continue to collaborate and build extensive networks.  The success that results from teams of women working collaboratively instead of competitively continues to inspire all of us. The ongoing mentorship to increase the number of women in STEM is a focus we should all continue to pay forward.”

Colleen Rollings, P.Eng., PMP, Project Manager Service Provider to IWK for MRI Project, Nurse Call Roll out, IWK Facility Projects, Engineer-in-Residence at Dalhousie University
LinkedIn: Colleen Rollings


“Be open to mentoring and sharing your experience with other women.

Start networking early and reach out to people. Do it not because you want to look for a job but to explore and hear first-hand from individuals in different careers. There are many fascinating jobs out there that we do not often hear about in school. You never know who you will meet and it is always fascinating to hear about how people got into the roles they have. Explore your career paths and do not be afraid to ask them questions.”

Catherine Chung, MSc, MBA, Consultant, Strategic Change & Performance Improvement
LinkedIn: Catherine Chung


“Build each other up, instead of competing against each other. Nominate fellow women for awards and support them in their successes.”

Follow your passions, even if they lead you on a non-traditional path. Don’t be afraid to go alone. Seek out mentors who have gone before you.” 

Justine Dol, MSc, PhD(c), PhD Health Candidate, Dalhousie University
LinkedIn: Justine D.
Twitter: @justinedol