P13: From pipeline to network: rethinking graduate training to embrace diversity and promote innovation

Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Ryerson University

We need to broaden graduate training in STEM to incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship.  We also need to bring many more women into these training schemes because it is simply good business and good social practice. We hear a lot about the leaky pipeline – that we lose women from the STEM disciplines along the length of the career trajectory and data support this to some extent. We have traditionally framed this problem as being one of plugging the leaks in the pipeline, keeping more women in the pipeline and encouraging more to enter. But the problem is not the women in the pipeline, it is the pipe – a single, antiquated, and archaic approach to STEM careers, which suggests that there is only one way through the system, ultimately leading to a career as an academic researcher. Evidence suggests that this outcome is the least likely for our graduates leaving them unprepared for the other careers that they inevitably find themselves in. We need to convert the pipeline to a something representing a manifold – a pipe with one inlet and several outlets. By doing this we will capture those individuals (both men and women) who have ability and passion for STEM disciplines but who have aspirations and talents in a diversity of other areas. By broadening and adding complexity to the career paths (not describing them as “alternate” as if there were only one normative route), we will embrace diversity and ability at all levels and encourage innovation by breaking down traditional barriers between science and other areas of human endeavor.


Conestoga-Rovers & Associates Limited

Diane Freeman is a Professional Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Canada. Diane works as an Associate with Conestoga-Rovers & Associates Limited. She has over 20 years of environmental engineering experience with more than 15 years of experience specifically in the Air Quality.

In 2006 and again in 2010 Diane was elected as a Councillor for the City of Waterloo. As a part of her work as an Elected Official, Diane represents municipal issues at a Provincial level through serving as Board Member of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

For the 2010-2011 Council term of Office, Diane served as the President of Professional Engineers Ontario. PEO is the Provincial licensing body for engineers with over 80,000 license holders.

Mentoring a heart of volunteerism and serving the broader community are core values for Diane so in addition to her work already noted, Diane participates as a board member on a variety of not-for-profit Boards of Directors including the Grand River Hospital Corporation, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, College of Veterinarians of Ontario, Engineers Canada and the Air and Waste Management Association.

In 2009 Diane was awarded the KW Oktoberfest Rogers women of the year in the Professional Category recognizing her work as both a Professional Engineer and active volunteer. In 2013 Diane was recognized as a Leading Woman Building Communities Award recipient by the Ontario Woman’s Directorate.

Diane was also privileged to be one of only 230 Canadians chosen to attend the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.

Above all, Diane prioritizes family time with her husband Peter and her two boys Scott and Adam.

Senior Scientist
Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Gabrielle Boulianne is currently a Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) and Professor in the Dept. Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. She is also the Associate Chief, Research Career Development and Director of the Research Training Center at Sick Kids. Her own research is focused on understanding the mechanisms regulating the development and function of the nervous system and developing animal models of human disease.

Interim Dean, Graduate Studies at York University
York University

Dr. Barbara Crow is Interim Dean, Graduate Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada and is co-founder of the Mobile Media Lab, http://mml.ca. Her research interests are in the areas of gender, mobile communications and ageing, http://a-c-m.ca, bacrow@yorku.ca

Founding Dean, Faculty of Science
Ryerson University

Dr. Imogen Coe is the founding Dean, Faculty of Science, Ryerson University, Toronto Canada. Her research interests are in the areas of cell biology and pharmacology. She also has a strong interest in the support, promotion and retention of girls and women in the STEM disciplines.