SCWIST Wonderwoman Networking 2018

Fennie Easton van der GraafBy Fennie Easton van der Graaf, Undergraduate Student, Jefferies Lab

Searching for off campus networking opportunities? Considering a career in industry in BC? This post introduces the Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) annual Wonderwoman Networking Event.

To kickstart International Women’s Day (March 8th 2018), this year’s event was held at Science World on March 7th. Women wondering what to do after their Masters, PhD, or considering a career change were introduced to the experience and wisdom of over 30 successful Wonderwomen working in STEM (Science -Technology- Engineering – Mathematics) fields in BC.

SCWIST Networking Session – photo credit: SCWIST

Following a quick round of introductions, with many Wonderwomen representing their profession with props, such as propeller blades and mini rockets, select keynote speakers shared their stories of triumph, failure, career shifts, and quirky hobbies. The audience was inspired to push the boundaries of their capabilities and to find a mentor to support them. The Wonderwomen spoke about the challenges of being working mothers and finding appreciative employers. They addressed the anxiety of feeling underqualified in their positions, and the stress of making a massive mistake at work and owning up to it. Each of them had a moment in their career when they felt stuck, and with the support of a mentor they explained how they accomplished their career goals.

The networking session of the event consisted of each Wonderwoman standing in her designated spot, permitting attendees easy access to a conversation with her. It was an efficient set up of passing through the dinner buffet and then weaving in and out of conversations, collecting business cards and LinkedIn invites. Personally, the most riveting advice that I obtained from this session was to attend networking events that were outside my career field, because if someone is looking for a scientist in a room full of business personnel, they are likely going to interact with you.

I was able to extend the benefits of the networking event by interacting with one of the Wonderwomen through an external informational interview. Ms. Keelin Scully is a junior hydrogeologist at BGC Engineering, and she emphasized the importance of networking with her peers during her M.A.Sc at UBC. She was excited to connect me with her coworkers, and overall I left with the impression that these Wonderwomen really are interested in being supportive mentors.

Why have a networking event specifically addressing women in STEM? High rates of women leaving STEM fields have been observed, with less than 30% of women working in science research and experimental development worldwide (UNESCO, 2014). Please visit to find out more about SCWIST, also see their “Immigrating Women in Science” program:

Check out @SCWIST on twitter to access upcoming Vancouver STEM networking opportunities!

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