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Two new NSERC chairs aim to encourage women in science and engineering


May 26, 2015
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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May 26, 2015 – Dr. Lesley Shannon for the British Columbia/Yukon region and Dr. Eve Langelier for the Quebec region have been announced as new Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering during the Creating Connections 4.0 conference at Simon Fraser University (SFU).

The two Canadian women researchers will receive $95,000 each annually for five years, through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), with matching funding from host universities and industry partners, to encourage the participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

According to NSERC, both Chairs have already made important contributions to research by mentoring girls and women and by promoting gender equity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics STEM fields–disciplines that remain predominantly male.

Dr. Shannon teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in computer engineering at SFU. She has long been an advocate of increasing student and worker diversity in science- and engineering-related fields, said the council representatives. Her research focuses on non-traditional computing system design, such as reconfigurable computing, heterogeneous computing, and application-specific architectures, with applications in areas such as machine learning, data analytics, medical imaging, space robotics, and bimolecular analysis.

“We will work to encourage girls to pursue STEM education and strive to increase post-secondary science and engineering enrollment for women. We want to promote aspirational female role models within science and engineering fields and identify and help eliminate barriers for women to pursue science and engineering careers and leadership roles in these companies,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Langelier is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Université de Sherbrooke. She works in the field of mechanobiology and human biomechanics. She is particularly interested in developing approaches to prevent and treat long-term injuries to tissues (like tendons, ligaments and cartilage).

NSERC’s Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Program began in 1996. Its goal is to increase the participation of women in science and engineering, and to provide role models for young women in these fields. The five Chairs are regionally based in the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairie, and B.C./Yukon regions. NSERC funding must be matched by contributions from corporate sponsors.