In 2015, UBC celebrated its centennial – a time to learn from the past and chart the route for the future. At 100 Years WISE, professors, professionals, and others from the UBC community came together to understand UBC’s centennial in the context of women in science and engineering.
After an address by Dr. Martha Piper, we received a special recording from the honourable Kim Campbell, who spoke on the changing landscape of female leadership. The evening’s panel started off with Dr. Nadine Caron, the first Indigenous woman to graduate from the UBC Faculty of Medicine. She explained that although firsts should be celebrated, they can also serve as red flags – why has society been structured in a way that allows these gaps in achievement?
Once it’s shown that it can be done, everyone else who follows can do it. What is possible should be done right away, what is impossible will take a little longer. Don’t wait for people to show you that it can be done. In order to be first, you have to be brave.
Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College, talked about asking for help. She explained that in order to succeed, you have to be brave, although it’s hard to admit that you need help because people think that you are inferior already. She explained that one of the reasons Harvey Mudd has been able to have so many female deans and greater female leadership has been the help-empowered environment they have created.
Other topics included finding strengths, being able to let go of something before it’s perfect, and acknowledging the people in the background who help us achieve our goals. Each speaker was so eloquent and powerful, each with their own unique insight to share.
The night finished off with some fruit, delicious macarons, and various chocolates accompanied by a networking session. It was such an interesting array of students, professors, alumni, and professionals, and an excellent opportunity to open the dialogue around empowering our female leaders in STEM to grow and reach new heights in the upcoming years.
With a variety of programs to encourage female leadership in the field, from mentorship programs to networks and events, UBC has the resources and capabilities to make out next 100 years a century of progress and equality.
Written and prepared by Nika Moeini, International Relations and Commerce Student, UBCevents Communications Assistant.