2nd Biennial Inspiring Young Women in STEM Conference

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Great Hall

Somerville House

Western University

London, ON N6G 2V4


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Refunds up to 7 days before event

Event description



The Inspiring Young Women in STEM Conference aims to inspire, engage, and empower young women who are considering a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by connecting them with role models in leadership positions, cultivating early research skills, and providing networking opportunities with the STEM industry within the context of a supportive community.

Undergraduate, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers of all genders from Canadian universities are invited to attend this one-day conference to hear from four key leaders in academia and industry discuss their exciting research and inspirational career paths, network with professionals at our Industry Fair, learn about research opportunities at our STEM Graduate Program Expo, and have the unique opportunity to present your own scientific research in the Undergraduate Poster Competition.

This conference is organized by the Western Women in Neuroscience graduate student group and funded by Western University's BrainsCAN initiative.

Conference Overview

Keynote speakers

  • Dr. Emily Lalone, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
  • Claudette Critchley, Chief Operating Officer at Big Blue Bubble
  • Dr. Lisa Saksida, Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Catherine Karakatsanis, Chief Operating Officer at Morrison Hershfield

Industry Fair

STEM Graduate Program Expo

Undergraduate Poster Competition

Q&A Panel Discussion with our Keynote Speakers

Catered lunch and coffee breaks!


Undergraduate Poster Competition

We encourage undergraduate students to present STEM research posters. Posters may include ongoing or completed research projects (volunteer, work-study, thesis, independent study), original and innovative research proposals, or an original meta-analysis.

This is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to gain experience presenting scientific material, improve communication skills, network with graduate students (which may lead to future research opportunities), prepare for your final thesis presentation, and not to mention an impressive addition to any junior CV or resume.

All posters will be judged by graduate students and the top three posters will receive a monetary award at the closing ceremonies!

1st place: $200
2nd place: $150
3rd place: $100

Deadline to submit abstracts: January 31, 2018 by 11:59 pm

Abstract submission form: https://goo.gl/forms/hccuL8hHt5mDCvHn1


Dr. Emily Lalone, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Dr. Emily Lalone completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering (2012) at Western University and is now an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department at Western. The goal of her research is to integrate biomechanical and imaging innovations to understand human joint structure and function.

Dr. Lalone's research program strives to develop biomedical and imaging innovations that offer new diagnostic and treatment technologies that improve health and quality of life in patients with musculoskeletal problems. Her specific research interests are in human orthopedic biomechanics with special focus on joint contact mechanics and joint kinematics. Dr. Lalone also plans to leverage her interest in Rehabilitative Sciences to develop interventions for primary prevention of MSK disorders, solutions for self-care strategies for patients and quantitative functional outcome measures of joint motion.


Claudette Critchley, Chief Operating Officer at Big Blue Bubble

Claudette graduated with honors from Western University, where she obtained both her Computer Science and Education degrees. After university, she started her career at a private college as an instructor, where she quickly advanced into the role of regional education manager.

In 2000, she ventured on to her next challenge - video game development at EA’s DICE Studios, where she became the lead programmer on several AAA+ Disney and Dreamworks titles. Her versatility and continued drive for excellence led her to co-found Big Blue Bubble in 2004. As Chief Operating Officer, Claudette has been creating pivotal growth for the company by overseeing and expanding company operations while managing their communications infrastructure. Claudette is a pro-active contributor to the tech and academic sectors, as well as an award-winning lecturer on the subject. She currently sits on the Board of Directors at Tech Alliance, in addition to the Advisory Board for Computer Science at Western University.


Dr. Lisa Saksida, Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology

Dr. Lisa Saksida is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Translational Cognitive Neuroscience, Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, a Scientist in the Robarts Research Institute, and a Principal Investigator in the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University in Canada. She is also Scientific Director of BrainsCAN (Western’s $66M Canada First Research Excellence Fund program in cognitive neuroscience) and a Senior Fellow in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Lisa’s research focuses on the psychological processes underlying memory and perception, through a program of theoretically-driven experimental research using several converging methods of enquiry including localized pharmacological methods, transgenic and knock-out mice, and computational modelling. She also has a particular interest in the development of translational methods for cognitive assessment. She is co-inventor of a touchscreen-based cognitive assessment system that allows for comprehensive cognitive phenotyping of rodent models through the assessment of multiple aspects of cognition using tasks that are highly translatable to human patients.


Catherine Karakatsanis, Chief Operating Officer of Morrison Hershfield

Catherine Karakatsanis is the Chief Operating Officer of Morrison Hershfield, an employee-owned consulting engineering and management ‘Top 100 North American Engineering firm’ with 19 offices across North America, and an office in India. She is also a Director and Secretary on the firm’s Board. Catherine has also had professional leadership volunteer and public service roles. She has served as Chair of Engineers Canada; Chair of Ontario’s licensure and advocacy engineering bodies; served on the boards of Hydro One, The Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation, The Foundation For Education. She currently sits on the boards of Engineers Without Borders and Western University.

She has been recognized for her business and engineering contributions including having been inducted in to the Canadian Academy of Engineering as a Fellow; awarded the ‘Engineering Medal of Management’; inducted into ‘Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame’; awarded Profession Engineers Ontario’s Order of Honour's highest distinction, the rank of Companion; and Ontario Women’s Directorate – Leading Women Building Communities Award to name a few.


RenixUIX™ – Renix is the world's only steady state ion exchange system used to purify materials we use everyday, such as food and water. We welcome Christine Haas (P. Eng), President and Founder of Renix, to our Industry Fair. Christine will share some experiences and insights about being a female leader in business and engineering and tell you more about the exciting work happening at Renix.

Women in Communications and Technology (WCT), London WCT is a national organization dedicated to the advancement of women through a network of professionals in communications and technology. WCT offers mentorship, skills development, and leadership training to help women achieve professional success. Meet representatives from WCT and learn how you can join this network of talented professional women!

Surface Science Western As a consulting and research lab, Surface Science Western combines the worlds of industry application and academic research. Surface Science Western specializes in analysis and characterization of surfaces and materials and have served in a range of industry sectors, including aerospace, defence, energy and nuclear power, medical/health, and more!

CARPROOF CARPROOF is the leading provider of the most comprehensive used-vehicle history report. CARPROOF has earned a spot as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies and witnessed 1,017% growth over the past 5 years. CARPROOF has several incredible career opportunities for graduates with a computer science background and programming experience. Visit their booth at our Industry Fair and learn more about joining this award-winning company!

Ferrero CanadaFerrero's distinguishing characteristic is that it is "glocal" (think globally, act locally), and focuses on interational development without losing sight of its relationship with local communities. Ferrero Canada has enjoyed double-digit growth for 4 years in a row, and is looking forward to continuing that trend. Ferrero's products have become Canadian household staples, such as Nutella®, Ferrero Rocher®, Ferrero Collection®, Rafaello®, Tic Tac®, Kinder®, Kinder Bueno®, and Kinder Chocolate®.

R-Ladies – Programming is an in-demand skill for many employers, but learning how to program can be intimidating for beginners. R-Ladies is a worldwide community that promotes gender diversity in the R community via meetups, mentorship, and global collaboration. Through R-Ladies workshops, you will learn a variety of skills such as data visualization and analysis, script writing, machine learning, and much more!

ZTR Control Systems – ZTR is a global high-tech company that continues to develop new and innovative solutions for off-road industrial equipment markets, specifically in Locomotive Modernization and Industrial Internet of Things, and has been named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. Visit ZTR at the Industry Fair and meet Heather Shipley, the Engineering Leader from the Product Development Group, where she will share her own career-related experiences, give advice to aspiring engineers, and fill you in on the latest products and services offered at ZTR.

Info-Tech Research Group – Info-Tech is the global leader in providing tactical, practical Information Technology research and analysis. They are North America's fastest growing full-service IT analyst firm and has been repeatedly recognized as one of Canada's Best Workplaces. Info-Tech is aware that women are underrepresented in the IT sector, and is keen to include more women to their diverse and talented team.

Cambridge Brain SciencesCBS takes neuroscience out of the lab and into the real world to quantify brain health and solve mysteries about how lifestyle impacts cognition. The CBS platform is a web-based set of cognitive tests that assess a range of cognitive abilities including reasoning, problem solving, planning, attention, concentration and memory. CBS is developed by Dr. Adrian Owen, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at Western University, and has been featured on BBC, CNN, Nature, Discovery Channel, CBC, and National Geographic!

Mitacs – Mitacs builds partnerships between academia, industry, and the world to create a more innovative Canada. They offer internships and placement programs to help students launch their careers and provide funding for international research collaborations. Mitacs also provides professional development training to advanced degree graduates, supplementing their education and research experience with the tools necessary to succeed in today’s workforce.


Participating departments TBA

Graduate students can apply to represent their department by filling out this application form by January 31, 2018: https://goo.gl/forms/bp4RKzwUS5W5qTJz2


Please contact us if you are interested in sponsporing this event: inspiringyoungwomeninstem@gmail.com

Conference Committee


Organizing Team

Eva Berlot, PhD student in Neuroscience
Anna Blumenthal, PhD student in Psychology
Ysi Domingo, PhD student in Psychology
Kathryn Manning, PhD student in Medical Biophysics
Olivia Stanley, PhD student in Medical Biophysics


Megan Fennema, MSc student in Medical Biophysics
Natalie Ossowski, MSc graduate in Neuroscience
Ana-Bianca Popa
, MSc student in Neuroscience
Heather Young, MSc student in Medical Biophysics


Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

You must be a current undergraduate student, graduate student, or post-doctoral researcher at a Canadian university and will be asked to present your Student ID to enter the event. There are no age limits to enter the event.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

By bus: LTC routes 2, 6, 9, 29, 10, 102, and 106 make a stop at Alumni Hall. Somerville House is a 1 minute walk from the bus stop.
By car: Convenient and free parking is just steps away at the Weldon parking lot, located between the Law School and the Weldon Library, directly across from Somerville House. Alternatively, you can park for free at Althouse, Springett, Elborn, Medway Hall, Huron Flats. For more information, visit http://www.uwo.ca/parking/find/summer_evening_weekend.html under 'Weekend Parking Options – Complimentary Parking'.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Email us at inspiringyoungwomeninstem@gmail.com.

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Date and Time


Great Hall

Somerville House

Western University

London, ON N6G 2V4


View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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