Best of the WWEST

Best of the WWEST

Welcome to Best of the WWEST (Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology), where we believe providing role models for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can change the world. Come along with us as we talk to incredible women in STEM and explore career choices, work-life balance, and passion for science; as well as experts in issues impacting diversity. Best of the WWEST: Inspiring women with real stories.


June 17, 2024 24 mins

In this episode, we speak with former wildland firefighter Jen Beverly. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Alberta and leads the Wildfire Analytics research team, where she teaches and conducts research on wildfire science and management.

Jen talks about what drew her to firefighting and wildfire research in our conversation. She also discusses how climate change impacts researche...

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In this episode, we speak with Natalia Bussard, who is the program manager for Simon Fraser University's Science Co-op program.  

Her team is responsible for helping students find paid work experience in various scientific fields.

In our conversation, she talks about what students can expect as they prepare to enter the workforce. She also offers us some insight into navigating today’s challenging job mark...

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This episode we speak with Bonnie Douglas, who is the project manager at the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology, or CCWESTT. 

She shares how her curiosity about sour cream led her to food engineering and how she now advocates for a diverse STEM workforce in her current role. 

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To celebrate International Women's Month, we speak with Dr. Deborah Saucier, the President of the Vancouver Island University and a renowned researcher.

A proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Dr. Saucier shares her journey to academic leadership.

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For a special episode this month, we continue our conversation with the women at the Canadian Association of Girls in Science. 

We speak with Diya Kalia, a member and teen ambassador for the organization, about how she's empowering the next generation of girls in STEM. 

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STEM is full of opportunities for women passionate about making a difference. But recent studies have shown that women are sorely underrepresented in leadership positions, resulting in limited access to mentorship.

This episode we speak with Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko about how her passion for breaking stereotypes has transformed a local initiative into a nationwide movement.

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According to UN data from 2021, women in the international space industry represent just 20 percent of the workforce. That number has stayed around the same for the past 30 years.

This episode we speak with Dr. Parshati Patel about her career as an astrophysicist turned STEM educator and the challenges she faces along the way. 

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Four marine biologists are taking on the World's Toughest Row, a challenge that sets sail across the Atlantic Oceean from the Canary Islands to Antigua. 

The team is on a mission to raise $500,000 USD for marine science and conservation, including an organization based in B.C. 

This episode we speak with the Salty Science Crew's members, Chantale Bégin, Noelle Helder, Isabelle Côté and Lauren Shea, as they set off on their 3000 ...

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From a global pandemic to an ongoing climate crisis, science journalism has become a staple in our lives. But the threat and spread of misinformation has created a gap between the public and scientists.

So how can science and journalism work in conjunction to mend this divide?

This episode we speak with Amorina Kingdon about her work and the challenges she's faced as a science writer and journalist.

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According to Statistics Canada, women make up less than 25 per cent of people working in STEM careers. As women continue to break down barriers that once held them back from pursuing STEM, it is becoming more important than ever to address diverse backgrounds and identities in research and industry.

So how are some of these women navigating their careers and what can we do to create more equitable workplaces?

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Often the assumption is that STEM scientists are mostly white and male, and it's not hard to see why. The media keeps reinforcing this image, and the fact that women, people of color, and other minority groups are seriously underrepresented in STEM doesn't help either.

This episode we speak with Dr. Stacey Smith? about her experiencing in STEM breaking stereotypes and making the industry more inclusive. 

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With wildfire season taking over several parts of the country, the need for proper management and restoration is becoming even more crucial.

This episode Sarah Dickson-Hoyle, a post-doctoral researcher at UBC working iwth the Secwepemcúl’ecw Restoration and Stewardship Society, joins us to talk about the importance of collaborating and working with Indigenous people for wildfire preparation, management, and restoration.  

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A 2022 Diversity in Tech survey found representation of women and Indigenous people marginally increased in the tech industry over a span of three years. 

This episode Maritza Louis, a character modeler at Walt Disney Animation Studios, joins us to talk about her experiences and the need for more diversity in the animation and tech field. 

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As the world repeatedly fails to meet climate goals, scientists are the ones on the front lines facing the brunt of the complex issue. 

This episode Lynne Quarmby opens up about her own personal struggles with eco-anxiety and the relentless fight scientists face against the global climate crisis.

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Artificial intelligence is penetrating almost every walk of life and changing how we approach everyday life. While it shares a glimpse of the near future, AI still reflects our current society and the large gaps that have yet to be filled.

This episode we speak with Katrina Ingram, founder and CEO of Ethically Aligned AI, to learn more about the need for ethical discussions and diversity in AI and the tech industry. 



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In this episode, Jade Boyd takes us through her life as a qualitative researcher scientist with British Columbia's Centre of Substance Use to understand the experiences and challenges of women who use drugs.

This year the provincee of British Columbia legalised possession of 2.5 grams of certain illicit drugs for people 18 years and older. This is part of a three-year pilot in which  MDMA, Cocaine, Methamphetamines, and opioids hav...

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In this episode, Shayle Graham talks to us about Black ESTEEM, a non-profit organization supporting Black girls' interest and confidence in STEM, economics, and entrepreneurship. Through her experience as an educator and an equity, anti-racism, anti-Black and anti-oppression coach for one of the largest school boards in Canada, Graham works to celebrate the beauty and brilliance of Black girls and their communities. 

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In this episode, Jessica Vandenberghe talks to us about her experiences as an Indigenous engineer at the forefront of addressing reconciliation in the STEM field. From working in the oil and mining industries to becoming the Assistant Dean at the University of Alberta's faculty of engineering, Vandenberghe talks about the importance of truth & reconciliation to build stronger communities with well-informed engineers. 

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In this episode, Damineh Akhavan takes us through her life as an aerospace engineer and a human rights activist protesting weekly for women's rights in Iran. From the streets of Iran to the heart of Downtown Vancouver, activists like Akhavan are standing up to bring awareness to the cause and change to their home country. Protests in Iran and around the world follow the death of 23 year old Mahsa Amini, who was killed by Iran's mor...

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In this episode, Dr. Naheda Sahtout and Dr. Nicole Brown sit with us to discuss the experiences of individuals with disabilities in STEM and academia, and how we can make STEM more accessible for disabled individuals in the workplace, lab, and classroom!

Dr. Naheda Sahtout (Ph.D) is an award-winning academic, researcher, scientist, and leader. Naheda completed her B.Sc. (Honours) in Biology from the University of Waterloo, M.Sc. i...

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