September 2001

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Major Conference Highlights Final Year
Of U of C Chair

Keep the Women in Science Momentum Going, Says Dr. Cannon

The end is in sight for a University of Calgary five-year chair geared to building the presence of women in science and engineering. But its leader is confident the effects will carry on.

"We've got another 10 months. I think there's a lot we can do to keep the momentum going," says Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, P.Eng., NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (Prairie Region).

One of those momentum builders is the hosting of the Prairie Conference on Women in Science and Engineering, Oct. 26 and 27 at the U o f C, sponsored in part by APEGGA. Well over 100 people were booked for the conference by late last month. Dr. Cannon says a wide range of students, speakers and participants from industry, government, academia, professional associations and technical societies will make the conference worthwhile.

"And it's not just for women, it's for men and women," says Dr. Cannon. "In many cases it's men in supervisor roles who support and encourage women in science and engineering."
Sessions, presentations, meetings and workshops cover an array of issues. For example, Karen Martinson, P.Eng., and Deborah Wolfe, P.Eng., both representing the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, are joined by Dr. Cannon to look at retention of women in engineering programs and the profession. A personal and professional development session by Karin Porat, president and principal consultant of KLP Consulting Ltd., explores staying equal in an unequal world. In a workshop, she facilitates "the art of the schmooze."

Among other topics are women in leadership, opportunities and benefits to a graduate degree, successful science and engineering outreach programs, effective communication, work and family (a roundtable), and attracting women to academia.

For registration information, contact Marcia Inch at (403) 284-1980.

At U of C the importance of attracting women to science and is well established, Dr. Cannon says. "We're always working on this. As a faculty, I see a lot of commitment and resolve."
U of C was the first Canadian university to create a women in engineering committee, in 1994. Nearly a quarter of the engineering students at U of C are women. A decade ago that figure was about 10 per cent.



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