Girls encouraged to get involved in science
In celebration of International Women’s Day on Saturday, the Centre for Women in Science (WinS) at Wilfrid Laurier University hosted an afternoon of activities on campus.
According to Shohini Ghose, associate professor of physics and computer science and director of WinS, the main goal for the event–which was open to the community–was to have people participate and connect with each other.
“Fun is high on the list, as well as to inspire and get people talking to each other. Waterloo is a great community to get connected to various members of the community. So those are our goals: fun, science and connection,” said Ghose.
She added that the event is necessary for International Women’s Day, as women are traditionally underrepresented in this field.
“So that’s why we chose to celebrate it and focus it on that and celebrate what women have done in the past and will do in the future, through all the activities that will inspire kids.”
Joanna Woo, a technical recruitment coordinator for Desire2Learn who participated in the event, reiterated that more women need to be involved with science and technology.
“There’s not a lot of women in science and technology,” Woo said. “So I think this is great to build that awareness, getting them more interested.”
The event was supported by of a variety of sponsors, such as Desire2Learn, Brick Works Academy, Savvy Planet and the Institute for Quantum Computing, as well as WLU’s own booths for chemistry, physics and computer science. The booths held a common theme: science mixed with fun.
Ghose believes that play is essential in science and will help in attracting a younger audience.
“We want to celebrate the day by showing that when you play, it becomes even more fun when you have some science,” she continued. “So science can make play more fun, and we hope that having both men and women here will encourage the younger generation to see that this is an inclusive community.”
Becky Verdun, from Savvy Planet, added, “It’s awesome that so many people can come out and learn more about science.”
WinS is relatively new, having started in 2012. This event is the second International Women’s Day it has hosted. Last year, the event was hosted in conjunction with the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute.
Ghose emphasized that working with organizations from across the community is imperative for the centre.
“You notice that it’s [WinS] not just Laurier based, we’ve got LEGO, Desire2Learn, etc. So different organizations across the community, which I think is important because together, we are far more impactful,” said Ghose.