Experts on International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Humanities, Engineering, Science

Marking International Women and Girls in Science Day – reaching for the stars. Credit: den-belitsky

The following University of Victoria experts are available to media for comment about efforts to encourage more women to choose to study and work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and to discuss their inspirational academic work leading research projects that demonstrate benefits for women in society.

Daniela Damian (Engineering and Computer Science) can discuss an initiative launched at UVic to support women interested in STEM careers. She is program director of INSPIRE: STEM for Social Impact which provides students from under-represented groups in two faculties at UVic—Engineering and Computer Science, and Science—with paid co-op opportunities. Those selected, work in small teams with industry mentors to develop solutions addressing real-life challenges in local communities. (Office: 250-472-5788 or

Read more about INSPIRE in The Ring, UVic’s community newspaper

kids and microscope
Future scientists introduced to science early. Credit: choreograph

Katelyn Dhami (Science Venture) can speak about all-girl programs at Science Venture, a UVic-led youth program, and about the efforts made to break down gender-based stereotypes in science. Science Venture aims to inspire young women to fulfill their role as leaders in STEM and encourages their engagement in fields such as engineering and computer science where women continue to be vastly under-represented. Science Venture’s high-impact, all-girl programs provide girls with safe spaces to design, build and experiment alongside women who act as role models and mentors. (Cell: 250-882-2660 or )

Find out more about Science Venture at UVic  

Sophia Cardenuto (Geography) can speak about women’s role in global food security. Her research team aims to transform global food systems to improve lives and ecosystems. They are dedicated to highlighting the role that women around the world play in producing food for their families, including farming, processing and decision making around what foods to consume.  (Office: 250-853-3281 or

Learn more about food security research.

Christina Hoicka (Geography/Civil Engineering) can discuss her efforts to change the representation of women in the energy sector. She holds an interdisciplinary Canada Research Chair that focuses on just and renewable energy transitions for societal transformation. Hoicka co-founded Women and Inclusivity in Sustainable Energy Research, a global network of researchers. She believes that gender diversity improves the social impact of innovation and discovery in energy transitions. (Office: 250-721-7328 or )

Here are her thoughts about climate change leadership here

Maia Hoeberechts (Ocean Networks Canada – an initiative of University of Victoria) is working to make ocean science more inclusive by creating meaningful, ongoing partnerships with Indigenous communities and providing formal and informal educational opportunities for youth and adults. This spring, ONC is expanding opportunities for women and girls in science with Ocean Decade Challenge, a new national project in partnership with Girl Guides of Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Engaging and fun ocean-science learning activities are designed to empower young Canadians, especially girls, to be actively involved in STEM. (Office: 250-721-8296 or )

Read more about the Ocean Decade Challenge here

Laura Cowen (mathematics and statistics) can discuss the challenges she faced transitioning to a leadership role in higher education, progressing from researcher to Associate Chair in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics to her current role as Associate Dean Research (ADR) in the Faculty of Science. As the inaugural Science ADR Cowen leads Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion efforts in the faculty—like forming the first faculty-wide EDI Council—and coordinates supports for graduate students. As a statistician, Cowen is leading two research initiatives: one in ecological statistics and the other in COVID-19 modelling. (Office: 250-472-4683

Read more about Cowen’s research on COVID-19 modelling.

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Media contacts

Robyn Quinn (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-415-7020 or

In this story

Keywords: International, diversity, technology, research, disease, health, gender, youth, industry partnerships, partnerships, world cultures, interdisciplinary

People: Caroline Cameron, David Jackson, Daniela Damian, Sophia Cardenuto, Christina Hoicka

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