Celebrating International Women’s Day through STEM

Published On March 9, 2020 | By Sydnee Walcott | Life, Sci/Tech
The attendees of the March 8 event having a good time. (Sydnee Walcott)
Sydnee Walcott

Female success in the world of STEM was celebrated at the 20th annual International Women’s Day “Women Recognizing Women” Lunch and Awards ceremony held by the Jamaican Canadian Association.

The event was filled with drumming, dancing, and singing performances including a rendition of “Let It Shine” by Canadian singer Jully Black, who shared with the audience how she looks up to her mother who raised the singer on her own.

The poster for the March 8 award ceremony. (Sydnee Walcott)

The keynote speaker of the event and one of five people receiving an award, Dr. Eugenia Duodu Addy, spoke about her journey into the world of STEM and talked about how her family valued getting a good education.

She is now a scientist, speaker, STEM advocate and the CEO of Visions of Science Network for Learning.

During her presentation Duodou Addy shared a high school setback, when a guidance councillor underestimated her ability to do well because of her gender and background, which made her doubt herself.

Camille Mitchell, who is an architect with one of Canada’s leading design studios and a founding member of the independent organization BEAT – Building Equality in Architecture, Toronto , also received an award.

She said that events like these help uplift black women who are often overlooked and underestimated.

“International Women’s Day for me is recognition,” Mitchell said. “By recognizing them, it gives them an incentive to continue doing what they’re doing,” Mitchell said.

The three other winners that day included Dr. Juliet M. Daniel, a Canadian biology professor at McMaster University, for her work in the cancer biology field, including the discovery and the naming of the new gene, KAISO.

With almost two decades of experience in the world of technology in leading digital transformations, Claudette McGowan, is an author of five published books and the founder of the Black Arts and Innovation Expo.

The final winner of the day was Mary Charles-Hill, who has been an advocate in STEM programming and encouraging black students to get involved in international STEM conventions through workshops, coding, Math and Robotic competitions.

The event also featured guest speakers including a speech by Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, who talked about the importance of celebrating women and fighting against gender discrimination.

“I am a mother, who became single,” is what Black would be told by her mother, who would say that she took on the most important role by becoming a parent.

Since 1962, the year Jamaica became an independent country, the Jamaican Canadian Association have been providing a hub and advocating to improve equity and the well-being of those who are not just only in the Jamaican Canadian community, but also for those a part of the Caribbean and African Canadian community in the GTA.

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