Students got a lesson in leadership from successful women scientists on Friday, Feb. 9.
In honour of the International Day for Women and Girls in Science, the Faculty of Science’s Women in Science (WinS) held a panel discussion on leadership. Eight women leaders from various disciplines within the Faculty of Science shared their personal stories of resilience and persistence.
Acting dean of science Dora Cavallo-Medved leads the WinS group out of the USci Network. She started off the discussion by answering a question about the best qualities of a leader.
“I believe it takes good listening skills, patience, as well as a thoughtful approach. It is about building relationships with people,” says Dr. Cavallo-Medved. “Ultimately, it is about our success as a collective.”
Other panellists tackled questions about overcoming challenges, leadership styles, biggest setbacks, and the imposter phenomenon.
Undergraduate Rabia Ali is a WinS co-leader and a biology major.
“We organized this panel because we wanted to celebrate the International Day for Women and Girls in Science and to hear from the team of women leaders in science. The panellists’ stories were so great and funny too,” says Ali.
“They even had personal stories that we could relate to, and I could really relate being in leadership positions as a co-lead of Women in Science. I believe it was helpful for everyone.”
Physics major Hadia Malik is also a co-leader for WinS.
“I think that, especially when talking about imposter phenomenon, it was really relatable, and it made me feel good that even professors who are in higher-up positions also have those feelings themselves,” says Malik.
Cavallo-Medved adds: “Having our women leaders connect with our students also promotes mentorship and empowers our students to take on challenges knowing that there is support for them in science.”
The panel also included:
- Arunita Jaekel, computer science, acting associate dean, undergraduate affairs;
- Isabelle Barrette-Ng, head of integrative biology;
- Shari Forbes, chemistry and biochemistry, incoming forensic science program chair ;
- Maria Cioppa, environment, outgoing forensic science administrator;
- Lisa Porter, biomedical sciences, executive director, WE-Spark Health Institute;
- Chitra Rangan, physics, associate dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies; and
- Alice Grgicak-Mannion, acting director, School of the Environment.
The United Nations General Assembly designated Feb. 11 the International Day for Women and Girls in Science to strive towards gender equality for women and girls pursuing STEM-related fields.