13, 2000, Gazette)
Frontiers, New Traditions conference
240 delegates jammed the Battery Hotel last weekend to take part
in a prestigious national conference co-hosted by Memorial Universitys
NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering
and the local community group WISE (Women in Science and Engineering)
Newfoundland and Labrador.
Frontiers, New Traditions: A National Conference for the Advancement
of Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology brought together
students and industry leaders from across Canada, the United
States, and Sweden to discuss new research concerning gendered
learning styles and working in science and technology fields;
to celebrate womens contributions to these fields; and
to promote opportunities in these areas.
been a tremendous success, said conference chair Carolyn
Emerson. Delegates could not stop saying how terrific the
conference was and how special this place is, and the feedback
on the presentations themselves was equally positive.
topics ranged from emerging trends in retention rates of girls
and women science and engineering fields, to strategies for balancing
work and family life and promoting yourself, to an introduction
to the virtual familya java-based game designed
to interest more teenage girls in computer programming.
speakers included Petro-Canadas vice-president of western
canada development and operations, Kathleen Sendall; Kathy Penney,
the regional vice-president of Jacques Whitford Environmental
in St. Johns; and American computer engineer Gloria Montano
of Compaq Computer Corp. in San Francisco.
Sendall related that while her experience as a woman in engineering
has been an overwhelmingly positive one, the main challenge has
been not male attitudes, but isolation often being the
only woman in the boardroom. She added that it is important for
girls and women to accept praise without reservation or guilt,
because we do all women a disservice when we fail to graciously
accept recognition and celebrate our accomplishments.
Penney shared that as an accomplished student she just
assumed when she left Botwood in 1977 that she would probably
never have the opportunity to return home, except for the occasional
visit. However, citing the success of the Newfoundland economy
in recent years, Ms. Penney was pleased to note that that situation
has changed and that now, Newfoundland and Labrador is
the place to be. The business community is really going to take
off in the next 10 years here, providing us with incredible opportunities
to set new precedents and do things in a new way.
Montano cited the rising number of female engineers in the U.S.
to emphasize that the next big wave to sweep through
the North American economy will be the influence of women on
Any way you cut it, a quarter of a million women who are
fearless in the face of technology is a force to be reckoned
added that the theme of the conference was appropriate given
the threshold women are positioned on in terms of having an impact
on evolving technologies.
all that potential, it is now time to apply ourselves in a very
Emerson agreed that the conference title reflected the fact of
emerging opportunities for women and men in science and engineering,
and was pleased that conference attendance was considerably higher
than projected estimates.
are so many exciting new directions that women can forge and
explore and benefit from; this is our chance, collectively, to
make the world the place we want it to be, to the benefit of
as many people as possible. Technology is evolving everyday,
so its a great opportunity to generate the New Traditions
that will make science and engineering interesting and rewarding