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All SySTEMs Go!

Posted by Sanjeev Seahra & Dorette Pronk on May 20, 2019 in Mathematics and Statistics, News, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Mathematics and Statistics
Turchetti, Banks & Pronk
Turchetti, Banks & Pronk

All SySTEMs Go 2019

An AARMS-Girl Guides event

On May 11-12, 2019, AARMS hosted the second annual All SySTEMs Go event in collaboration with the Girl Guides of Nova Scotia. This year’s event involved nearly 500 girls aged 9-17 and almost 200 adult volunteers from the Guiding community.

Over the course of the two days, each of the girls attended five one-hour mini-workshop sessions. There were nearly 100 sessions offered in total delivered by more than 80 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students from Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie universities. The workshops covered the entire spectrum of the STEM disciplines, including sessions on mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, computer science, and engineering. Here is a sample of the session titles:

● How to use a slide rule

● Neuroscience with the human-human interface

● Engineering a space habitat

● Busting myths about girls and STEM

From our department, Jason Brown, Dorette Pronk, Peter Selinger, Mayada Shahada, Asmita Sodhi, and Annamieka Aerts participated as workshop presenters.

On Saturday evening, the older girls got a chance to ask a diverse group of women working in the STEM fields about their current jobs and career paths. The panel consisted of a mathematician, an oceanographer working in the private sector, a physicist, a software developer, and a veterinarian. The younger girls participated in a round robin event where they interacted in small groups with twenty female scientists and engineers. They learned about the medical science program at Dalhousie, the mathematics of robot planning, the formation of rocks and fossils, the breathing of the ocean, the mathematics of polyhedra and weaving, the fun of coding, and many other topics.

The AARMS-Girl Guides collaboration started in 2017 and is supported by the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) via the PromoScience program. A large number of outreach organizations helped organize workshop sessions, including Let’s Talk Science, the Discovery Centre, Women in Technology and Science (WiTS), Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Brilliant Labs, Supernova, and Engineers Nova Scotia.

The principal event organizers were Darlene Banks (Girl Guides of Nova Scotia), Dorette Pronk (Dalhousie University), and Daniele Turchetti (AARMS and Dalhousie University). The student assistants, Kieran Bhaskara, Sarah Li, Tammy Zhang played a crucial role in promptly solving any issue that arose and making sure that the whole weekend ran smoothly. Next year’s STEM event will be at the Memorial University of Newfoundland before returning to the University of New Brunswick in 2021.