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Building community connections for Women in STEM

Posted by Jocelyn Adams Moss on March 8, 2024 in Alumni & Friends
L-R: Lamisa Rahman and Harshita Pasumarthi, moderators of a Women in STEM event this week, and alumni panelists Aleysha Mullen, Leanne Lucas and Chelsea McLean. (Nick Pearce photos)
L-R: Lamisa Rahman and Harshita Pasumarthi, moderators of a Women in STEM event this week, and alumni panelists Aleysha Mullen, Leanne Lucas and Chelsea McLean. (Nick Pearce photos)

In celebration of International Women’s Day, a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, the Faculties of Computer Science, Engineering and Science hosted the sixth annual Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Panel and Networking Event.

This year’s discussion leaned into inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders and was held at the Atlantica Hotel in Halifax on Wednesday (March 6).

The sold-out event brought together Dalhousie alumni, students, and members of the community.

The panel discussion included three alumni from the Faculties of Computer Science, Engineering, and Science: Aleysha Mullen (BINF, CS'17), Leanne Lucas (MSc'13, Physics) and Chelsea McLean (BEng'15), who all shared their experiences and provided career advice to new graduates. 

What do their workdays look like?

Mullen, a software developer at Mobia explains, “I write a lot of code. I have daily meetings and touchpoints with different members of my team.” 

“Every day is different no day is typical. One day I could be in meetings with faculty and staff or developing policies and for work safety,” shares Lucas, a safety advisor at Saint Mary’s University.

“I work in energy management for commercial buildings," says McLean, a senior energy manager at Efficiency One. "What my day looks like can vary. Attending client and team meetings, participating in building audits, and managing a team of seven energy managers”

Career advice to new grads?

“Make decisions that are going to serve you in the long run," says MacLean. "Those aren’t always going to be easy decisions, they’re decisions that will take you out of your comfort zone to help you learn and develop. It’s like professional self care. Also make sure to cast a wide net socially and get involved in a lot of different things. Forming connections is important."

Mullen recommended, “Say yes! It will keep doors open if you say yes,” while Lucas suggests trying new opportunities.

The panel was moderated by Dalhousie science students Lamisa Rahman and Harshita Pasumarthi.

At the end of the discussion, the audience had an opportunity to pose questions and share experiences.

Lamisa Rahman and Harshita Pasumarthi.

Mentorship opportunities

Over the past six years, the women in STEM event has become a platform for mentorship and connection.

“The annual event is inspiring. By recognizing the contributions of women, the event promotes opportunities for women and girls interested in science as their career path. It also provides unique mentorship opportunities, essential for strengthening the participation of women in STEM,” says Dr. Sophia Stone, associate dean of graduate studies and global relations in the Faculty of Science.

Last year, Dr. Stone was a panelist and continues to mentor students from the event.

“I was able to make meaningful connections with some amazing aspiring scientists, providing support, encouragement and advice towards accomplishing their career goals. I gained a lot of inspiration from meeting and just being around such accomplished women.”

To learn more about upcoming Women in STEM initiatives, please visit the Dal Women in STEM Society @wistem.dal on Instagram.

International Women's Day 2024

  • Jody Couch, Dal's chief information officer and assistant vice-president of Information Technology Services, was encouraged by others when first starting out in tech. Now, she strives to pay it back.

  • This Saturday, Dal faculty members are among a group of accomplished writers coming together for a free, off-campus reading event in honour of International Women's Day.

  • Cynthia Pilichos, co-lead on the Dalhousie Alumni Association, introduces us to the roots of the Women's Division — the oldest alumni association at Dal — and the evolution of fundraising from the 1980s to now.