Young Women Get the Inside Track at Quantum Leaps Conference 2011

Making an informed decision about a career in science and technology is the smart place to start, which is why Northwest Science and Innovation Society in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia hosted the Quantum Leaps Conference 2011 on Tuesday November 15th at UNBC. 

With over thirty young women in attendance, the event was designed to be thought provoking and to demonstrate the diversity of career options available to those interested in the fields of science and technology.  Speaking at the event, guest keynote presenter Alana Clason, MSc, PhD Student at UNBC in Prince George and Associate Researcher at the Bulkley Valley Research Centre in Smithers discussed the rationale behind her career choice in sciences including the need for careful research and the creation of goals.

“I love that I get to spend time working in the outdoors and being challenged to understand complex issues with applications to real world problems of conservation and ecosystem management,” Alana exclaimed.

Rounding out the panel discussions were eight local experts who shared their stories and love of science including:

  • Kate Dillon, BSc, RPBio -  Wildlife Biologist
    McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd.
  • Dr. Candice Griffith, BSc.A, N.D. -  Naturopathic Physician
    Northwest Communities Naturopath Clinic
  • Tara Irwin, BSc - Sustainability Coordinator
    City of Terrace
  • Lori Janzen, H.BA.PE, B.HSc - Physiotherapist
    Cedar River Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre
  • Sarah Jane Railton, BSc, RPF - Silviculture Forester
    Brinkman Forest Ltd.
  • Orié Shiga, BSc, RN - Registered Nurse
    Kitselas Health Services & Northern Health Authority
  • Dr. Catharine White, PhD, Microbiologist and College Professor
    Northwest Community College
  • Courtney Berdan - Integrated Science Student
    University of Northern British Columbia (Terrace Campus)

The panelists clearly communicated their passion for their work and provided a wealth of information and inspiration for the participants.  

One student remarked how she was “inspired to pursue a career in science and felt encouraged by all the speaker’s speeches.”  While other students were pleasantly surprised to find out the diversity of career options available to women in science and technology.  They were also interested in learning more about specific scientific fields and the qualifications required to pursue specialized areas.

NSIS plans to follow up with the young participants to help facilitate mentorship programs, additional career workshops and customized resources.

UNBC in collaboration with NWCC offers a Bachelor of Science Integrated Program in the Northwest.  For more information visit or the UNBC Terrace Campus. 

Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology (SCWIST) promotes, encourages and empowers women and girls in science, engineering and technology.  Ms. Infinity programs are offered across BC and Yukon and expose young women to interesting and exciting career options and positive female role models who are pursuing dynamic careers and education in science and technology.  For more information visit