Experts: International Day of Women and Girls in Science | February 11

Published: 9 February 2024

February 11 marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science – a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities, and that their participation should be strengthened. Diversity in research expands the pool of talented researchers, bringing in fresh perspectives, talent and creativity. This day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened. (UN

Here are some experts from McGill University who can comment on this topic:  

Eve J. Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Trottier Space Institute at McGill 

“I was always interested in solving puzzles growing up, and I was fortunate to be able to make that interest into a career. As a theoretical astrophysicist, I like digging into the inner workings of celestial bodies including (exo-)planets and stars. The fact that these objects are so far away and that we cannot directly measure their properties forces us to be creative and often imaginative in designing our investigations, and I like how my work combines logical thinking with the allowance and need for creativity. In terms of navigating a career in STEM as a woman, I found two things to be important: the first is to build a network of supportive mentorship both among peers and with people who are more senior; and the second is to establish boundaries in all professional relationships.” 

 eve.lee [at] (English) 

Eve J. Lee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and the Trottier Space Institute at McGill. She is a theoretical astrophysicist with broad interest in star and planet formation.   

Nada Jabado, Full Professor, Department of Pediatrics 

“As a clinician scientist, improving the treatment of patients is my priority. Research not only provides knowledge but also offers solutions and advancements in therapies, particularly in cases with no effective treatments. This is the driving force behind my commitment to research. My advice is to pursue your dreams, acknowledging that stumbling and failing are inevitable on any path. These challenges are essential for personal growth and open important doors. The key is to persist, fueled by the passion and excitement for our work. I recognize the unique qualities of women, such as greater persistence, tenacity, attention to detail, and a holistic approach. Despite being just as creative and productive as men, there may be self-doubt and a tendency to downplay our seriousness. I see this duality as a double-edged sword that shouldn't be altered. Embracing these aspects is our strength, propelling us to greater heights.” 

nada.jabado [at] (English, French)

Nada Jabado is a Full Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and holds the Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Oncology. Her areas of focus include biomarkers for pediatric glioblastoma through genomics and epigenomics and the role of chromatin remodeling in the genesis of pediatric and young adult astrocytoma. 

Patricia Pelufo Silveira, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry 

“I started medical school at 17. My inaugural physiology class was given by Prof. Maria Marques, who had retired recently. She told us about her work with Profs. Riet Correa and Bernardo A. Houssay. Their collective discoveries about insulin secretion and signaling were pivotal for the understanding of hormonal feedback control, central to all aspects of modern endocrinology. Prof. Marques was so emotional and so passionate during her talk, fascinating me with the idea of having a job where I could be creative, innovative, and passionate. Not long after, I started working with Prof. Carla Dalmaz as an assistant. Prof Dalmaz is an example of an excellent scientist, extremely kind colleague, and dedicated mother. I stayed in her lab until the end of my PhD before moving to Canada. I like to think that I inherited her mentoring skills and her curiosity, and her ability to integrate personal and professional aspects in a very healthy way.” 

Patricia Pelufo Silveira is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a researcher at the Douglas Research Centre. Her areas of focus include child behaviour, eating behavior, functional genomics and neurodevelopment. 

 patricia.silveira [at] (English, French, Portuguese)  

Caroline Palmer, Full Professor, Department of Psychology    

“In grade school, a music teacher took us to see the opera and then helped us to produce the opera in our school. I fell in love with the music, and I became the pianist-accompanist for the school play. One of the actors carried a large sword that flew off the stage and landed in my lap while I played the piano. Our teacher gave me a hug for continuing to play so that the actors could keep the beat and sing their song. This teacher inspired me to do the best I can, and now I encourage young scientists to draw on their strengths when obstacles get in the way. My advice for students is: Think of the most meaningful moments in your life. Which of your strengths did those moments show? If that is how you want to feel every day in your career, try to nurture those strengths.”  

caroline.palmer [at] (English) 

Caroline Palmer is a Full Professor in the Department of Psychology and holds a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Performance. Her areas of focus include speech, emotions, music and rhythm and other auditory behaviours. 

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