Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

February 11, 2021

February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! According to the United Nations website, in 2015, the "UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish an annual International Day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities." https://www.un.org/en/observances/women-and-girls-in-science-day/background

The Biological Sciences Outreach and Engagement Committee wanted to celebrate the day by showcasing the work of women practicing science in our department. Below is a sampling. It's clear we have (and have had) many gifted women in the department - alumni, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, and staff - performing ground breaking science, and doing a fabulous job of documenting their work! Thanks to all who sent in their photos and videos.

Kudos to the women in our department!!

For more information about International Day of Women and Girls in Science, visit:

Postdoctoral Fellow Sophie Bourgeon (Williams lab) with a European starling chick in hand!

Allison Cornell (Williams lab) PhD 2013-17: building a flight chamber for European starling chicks

Helen Yan
Hannah Watkins

Check out this short video about seagrass research by Jillian Dunic, Helen Yan, and Hannah Watkins of the Côté lab!

Colleen Gillespie, UG 2017 (Williams lab) – helping with bird banding

Lena Ware and Tess Forstner (below) both in the Green lab/Centre for Wildlife Ecology, studying avian ecology and conservation. For more information: https://davidgreensfu.com/

Lena Ware holding a black oystercatcher in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Tess Forstner holding a black oystercatcher in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, BC

"My name is Katie Leonard (Williams lab) and I am a Master's of Science student researching factors that fine-tune timing of egg-laying in European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), specifically temperature, prey availability, and female social networks."

"A beautiful male European starling, my study species, in breeding plumage."

"Measuring height and width of eggs to add to long-term data on egg-laying order and egg size."

"During a nestbox check, I was excited to see a chick hatching!"

"Two tipulids, a primary food source for starlings, that I extracted from soil samples taken to examine how prey availability influences timing of egg laying."

"We do nest checks to monitor nest success or failure ... it's fun to look into nest boxes and see cute starling nestlings looking up at you."

Jayme Lewthwaite (below) is a PhD candidate in the Mooers lab.

Doing field surveys in the Okanagan searching for the endangered Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo) butterfly, in order to assess the feasibility of captive breeding efforts

Doing field work in the south of France, in the Pyrenee Mountains

Working with the butterfly collections at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Check out this three-minute video created by Rachel Munger (below left) in the Côté Lab, featuring the team's sea cucumber research in the Bahamas and BC!

Rachel Munger and members of the sea cucumber team: Hannah Watkins and Rachel Munger (above middle) and Isabelle Côté (above right).

"Here is my shameless plug for women in science" from Danielle Ogilvie, horticulturalist in the Cory Lab studying moths, gut microbiomes, and pathogen interactions.

Melissa Orobko is a PhD Candidate in The Marine Ecology Lab studying multiple stressors, non-linearities, and cumulative effects in marine ecosystems."

Siddhi Patel is an undergraduate student working in Dr. Lisa Julian's lab. She is learning to culture human stem cells. Siddhi is working on investigating how gene mutations that cause epilepsy and autism affect the early development of human brain cells.

Leah Purdey, USRA 2019 (Williams lab) – checking European starling nest box

"My name is Debby Reeves and I am a MSc student in the Marlatt Lab. I’m looking at the sub-lethal effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on wild early-life stage sockeye salmon 🐟"

"My name is Stephanie Renkers and I am a second-year Master's of Environmental Toxicology candidate. In my research, I use bivalves as a biomonitor to investigate the abundance, distribution, and toxicity of microplastics and their additives in the Burrard Inlet. On this day, I was searching for Purple varnish clams at Third Beach in Stanley Park."

Check out Stephanie's video: