University of Regina STEM professors share their research as part of International Women’s Day 2019

By Jon Tewksbury Posted: March 8, 2019 2:00 p.m.

(l-r) Dr. Britt Hall, Dr. Christine Chan, Dr. Karen Meagher, Dr. Maria Velez, Dr. Denise Stilling, Dr. Kathleen McNutt
(l-r) Dr. Britt Hall, Dr. Christine Chan, Dr. Karen Meagher, Dr. Maria Velez, Dr. Denise Stilling, Dr. Kathleen McNutt Photo: U of R External Relations

University of Regina researchers are helping to highlight the achievements of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) on International Women’s Day. 

Six University STEM researchers discussed their areas of research focus in seven-minute presentations with the aim of advancing gender quality and empowering women and girls. 

Dr. Kathleen McNutt, Associate Vice-President (Research), and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, said that International Women’s Day is a day to recognize women’s achievements, while also acknowledging the challenges women continue to face in the quest for gender equality. 

“This event is also about recognizing gender bias and working together to remove it,” said McNutt. 

Today’s speakers included:

  • Christine Chan, Canada Research Chair in Energy and Environmental Informatics, and a Professor in
    Software Systems Engineering
  • Britt Hall, Associate Professor of Biology
  • Tanya Dahms, Professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Maria Velez, Associate Professor in Geology
  • Karen Meagher, Associate Professor in Mathematics and Statistics
  • Denise Stilling, Associate Professor in Industrial Systems Engineering

The United Nations declared the 2019 International Women’s Day theme as Think equal, build smart, innovate for change. The Government of Canada is celebrating the day with the hashtag #InnovateForChange with a focus on women and STEM. In Canada, only a third of graduates in STEM are women, a difference that’s magnified in fields like engineering and computer science. 

“In Canada, women still make 74 cents for every dollar a man makes, and women continue to be under-represented in top paying jobs, on corporate boards, and in the fields of science and technology” said McNutt. 

She also noted that while a lot of work has been done and that great strides have been made, there is much still to be done when it comes to challenging the barriers of inequality. 

“Female researchers in STEM are not only doing some amazing research but they also serve as key role models to students, in particular, young women seeking careers in the STEM fields,” said McNutt. “Supporting and advancing the education and careers of these young women will be critical to disrupting old paradigms and advancing an innovation agenda that is both gender responsive and brings diversity to the forefront of innovation.” 

McNutt also announced $200,000 in scholarships for female graduate students entering the Faculties of Science and Engineering beginning in the fall of 2019. The initiative will be one of several designed to support women in STEM and to advance the U of R’s contribution to #InnovateForChange. 

"We must do all we can to increase the number of women in STEM," said McNutt. "By creating more opportunities in STEM, we can improve gender equality and bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the field."