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#SheInspiresMe - Laurentian SETAC celebrates International Women's Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day, members of the Women in Science Committee wrote about a Woman in Science that inspires them. Submitted by Amila De Silva, Katie Hill, Ève Gilroy and Oana Birceanu Presentation courtesy of Michelle Bargel, Senior Information Specialist, Knowledge Services, Information Systems Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada / Government of Canada Amila DeSilva, Research Scientist, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington #SheInspiresMe: Christine Spencer, Research Technician, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington Christine Spencer is a chemical technologist at ECCC.  In the early 90s as a grad student, she was the only woman from her graduating class in the Department of Geography at University of Toronto Mississauga. All of her professors during her B.Sc. and MSc. were men.  Thereafter, she joined ECCC as a junior research technician first on contract, then term and eventually permanent status.  She worked hard and acquired new skills, doing field work in the High Arctic on Ellesmere Island.  Now she operates state-of-the-art mass spectrometry for trace organic analysis.  Whenever I am asked about work-life balance, I think about how Christine managed a demanding career in science whilst having two children when the maternity leave policy was 6 months or less. Christine paved the way for future generations of women in science like myself by continuously demonstrating that there was nothing she couldn’t do.  As a colleague, a scientist, mother, sister, daughter, and friend, she is an exceptional role model. Katie Hill, Environmental Risk Assessor, Intrinsik Corp, Ottawa #SheInspiresme: Sara Rodney, Scientist, Intrinsik Corp, Ottawa Sara has been an important mentor figure for me in the five years I’ve been with Intrinsik. She is a critical thinker, an experienced risk assessor, and a clear communicator, with a great sense of humour to boot. Not only is Sara working tirelessly towards her MSc while leading several projects at Intrinsik, but she is also a devoted mother of two. Thank you Sara for being an inspiration to me as a strong, successful woman in science! Ève Gilroy, Owner and Toxicologist, Green House Science/Biologist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Burlington #SheInspiresMe: Alison Fraser, Risk Assessment Specialist, Shared Value Solutions, Guelph Leading a successful career as a Risk Assessment Specialist and raising three amazing daughters, Alison has also been a guiding force amongst L-SETAC for over a decade. A few years ago, Alison founded Mom2Mom Africa, a non-profit organization raising awareness about the challenges that young women in Africa face to receiving a quality education. Thanks to her boundless energy and enthusiasm, what started as a backyard fundraiser to send a young woman back to school turned into an official Non-Profit Organization that funds the educational needs of more than 74 boys and girls, supports the education of school teachers and inspires global. Alison is a charismatic and energetic leader. I am inspired by her creativity, her generosity and her enthusiasm. Oana Birceanu, Post-doctoral Fellow, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo #SheInspiresMe: Patty Gillis - Research Scientist, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington I met Patty when I was working on my undergraduate thesis. She was kind enough to help me with my metal exposures many years ago and we struck up a conversation right away. I had a pretty rough set of experiments planned out, with multiple time points. I had it all laid out, even the breaks for my helpers: Patty and my supervisor. The one thing that I did forget was to plan a break for myself. I remember Patty pulling me aside, pointing out that in order to succeed, I needed to take good care of myself, even during crazy sampling time periods. I later found out that Patty became a mom during her PhD studies, much like myself, and we have been able to have conversations about that whenever we met at conferences. She once told me that balance comes from accepting that you cannot do it all, but plan for it anyway and see what you get :). Although I would see her on and off, she was actually one of the first people that I talked to about the challenges of maintaining that elusive work-life balance. Her kind words always come to mind when things get busy and I am grateful for knowing her.

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