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September 1, 2017

Minister K. Duncan 2017-08 WISE Camp-56On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, Canada’s Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, stopped by the Girls Get WISE Science Summer Camp at the Mount. The camp is led by professor Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal and her WISEatlantic team. 

Minister Duncan took the opportunity to chat with each girl and encouraged all of them to follow their dreams. She also shared with the girls her own experiences working as a scientific researcher. Minister Duncan holds a PhD in geography from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Prior to entering politics, she was an Associate Professor of Health Studies at the University of Toronto and Research Director for the AIC Institute of Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management. 

This week’s Girls Get WISE Science Summer Camp at the Mount is an all-new one in that it targets girls aged 15 and 16. Previous camps have been held for girls in grades seven and eight. The camp encourages girls to explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and was made possible by a NSERC PromoScience Grant

Minister K. Duncan 2017-08 WISE Camp-5Participants experienced hands-on workshops and activities, including soldering circuits for a flight simulator with Lockheed Martin. They also learned about current research by local scientists and explored various career options in STEM by meeting and chatting with women working in these fields, including women working in diverse careers within the Canadian Forces. 

“Our research shows that girls who are highly engaged in STEM activities, such as our camp, are 3.4 times more likely to consider careers in these fields,” said Dr. Franz-Odendaal, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Atlantic Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (WISEatlantic). “Through our Girls Get WISE program, we’re making sure girls get hands-on experiences and the chance to meet female role models who can open their eyes to new possibilities.”

According to a recent Statistics Canada report, 24.4% of those employed in professional occupations in natural and applied science are women, and women account for only 17.2% of engineers. 

Minister K. Duncan Group 2017-08 WISE Camp-7From left to right: Dr. Elizabeth Church, Vice-President Academic and Provost, Mount Saint Vincent University; The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science; Dr. Mary Bluechardt, President and Vice-Chancellor, Mount Saint Vincent University; Dr. Gayle MacDonald, Associate Vice-President Research, Mount Saint Vincent University; Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal, professor of biology and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Atlantic Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (WISEatlantic), Mount Saint Vincent University.