Student pours coloured fluids into flasks in the new Gunning/Lemieux Chemistry Centre labs.

Diversity in
Science


The Faculty of Science is working to counteract factors contributing to the under-representation of women and marginalized groups within the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and to foster more diverse, representative science. Increasing diversity in science will bring new perspectives, insights, and innovation, and will help the Faculty to continue to push the boundaries of knowledge in the classroom, laboratory, and field.

On this page, you'll find information about diversity and intersectionality, student diversity initiatives, details about groups and research clusters on campus that focus on empowering women and fostering diversity in science, and news features of diverse perspectives on and off campus.



Dean of Science Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell

The first female Dean of Science joined our faculty in July 2019.

"I would rather be in a place and time where we would not bat an eye at a woman being Dean of Science, but at the same time it is meaningful right now."

Watch Matina's introduction video

Read Matina's interview in The Quad

Dean Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell

Dean of Science Matina Kalcounis‑Rueppell

The first female Dean of Science joined our faculty in July 2019.

"I would rather be in a place and time where we would not bat an eye at a woman being Dean of Science, but at the same time it is meaningful right now."

Watch Matina's introduction video

Read Matina's interview in The Quad


Why is diversity important?

People are influenced by their gender, ethnicity, and backgrounds. These influences can shape their outlook of the world around them and their experiences within it, which often allow them to offer different perspectives and insights.

When approaching tasks and problems, diverse perspectives can lead to creative and innovative problem-solving, new approaches and processes, and an increase in collective intelligence.

These benefits are highly valued by the Faculty of Science, evidenced by our desire to offer platforms for diverse perspectives to be heard and our support of groups and initiatives designed to create spaces for underrepresented groups within the Faculty.



Diversity in research

We acknowledge the importance of intersectionality in research because we are aware that new perspectives come from a variety of intermingled, compounded experiences—many of which are shaped by varying forms of discrimination.

What is intersectionality?

Intersectionality is a concept and framework used to examine how different forms of discrimination often overlap or intersect with one another, creating unique, compounded forms of oppression that affect different individuals to varying degrees.

There are many kinds of discrimination. Some examples include:

  • racism (dislike of or prejudice against people based on race or skin colour)
  • sexism (dislike of or prejudice against people based on sex or gender expression)
  • heterosexism (dislike of or prejudice against people who are non-heterosexual, based on the assumption that heterosexuality is the "normal" sexual orientation)
  • transphobia (discrimination or prejudice against transgender people whose gender expression and/or identity differ from the sex assigned to them at birth)
  • xenophobia (dislike or prejudice against people who are from or "look" like they are from other countries)
  • ableism (discrimination or prejudice against non-able bodied people)
  • classism (discrimination or prejudice against or in favour of people based on their social class)

Intersectionality is an important consideration in science because it is vital to consider how different variations of socioeconomic factors affect and shape identities and perspectives—not only in the classroom, but also in the laboratory and field.

Intersectionality Research Initiative

The University of Alberta endeavors to include intersectionality as a Signature Area for research on campus. Our goal is to become a national and international leader in this area of research using institutions like Research at the Intersections of Gender (RIG).

Learn more about RIG


Diversity initiatives for students

The Faculty of Science is determined to give students opportunities to network and engage with prominent women in science who can offer expertise and mentorship or even champion for diversity with sholarships and endowments.

Margaret-Ann Armour holding a bubbling beaker aloft at a convocation ceremony
Celebrating the legacy of Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour

The University of Alberta mourns Margaret-Ann Armour, Dean of Diversity, who spent most of her life championing women in STEM.

The student group, Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry (UAWIC), organizes an annual lecture series in honour of Margaret-Ann, which celebrates diversity in Chemistry by providing a platform for chemists who do outstanding work both in the lab and in promoting diversity and inclusivity within Chemistry.

Susan Jensen discussing the Indigenous Support Endowment fund around a table of female Indigenous students
Breaking down barriers for Indigenous students

Susan Jensen, the first female Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences, was inspired to support students in a new way with the Susan Jensen Indigenous Support Fund.

The fund is the first of its kind in the Faculty of Science, supporting Indigenous students via undergraduate scholarships, bursaries, and fees for equipment and conferences as they pursue their science education.

Grace Anne Stewart Speaker Series microphone in conference room
Connecting students with female scientists

The Department of Earth and Atmospherice Sciences invites two female scientists to visit the department each year and participate in several events as part of the Grace Anne Stewart Speaker Series.

The program is designed to expand the professional networks of faculty and students, foster discussion about gender equity, and provide students with more female role models and mentors.

 

Groups on campus

There a several groups and hubs on campus that tailor to supporting diversity and gender inclusivity within the Faculty of Science and all the fields and departments contained within.

Some of the groups of note are Ada's Team, UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry (UAWIC), Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology (WiSEST), and Diversity in Physics.

Ada's Team

Ada's Team is a student group dedicated to promoting and supporting diversity in computing, games, and technology.

The group offers tutoring for coding, a comprehensive collection of resources of diversity-focused groups, and access to scholarships and conferences specific to women in computing science.

UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry (UAWIC)

The UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry group (formerly known as Women in Chemistry) is a student initiative that fosters relationships and mentorships between women in the Chemistry Department and women in other fields and industries with backgrounds in chemistry.

The goals of the Ualberta WIC group are to foster camaraderie among female members in the Chemistry Department, create opportunities for students to interact with female role models with events like the LOGIC Retreat, and organize career development workshops to help enhance the resumes of young scholars.

Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology (WiSEST)

Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology (WiSEST) is a hub designed to empower women through hands-on experiences like summer research internships, mentorship and networks, conferences (such as the SET and Choices conferences), and volunteer opportunities.

Diversity in Physics

The Department of Physics has created a portal of resources, news, and events in an effort to engage equity-seeking faculty, students, and community members, including (but not limited to) women, Indigenous Peoples, members of the queer community, persons with disabilities, and members of visibly minorities and racialized groups.

More information can be found on the Diversity in Physics @ UAlberta website.

Latest news

Read about the work being done in science from the perspective of people whose voices, historically, are not always heard.