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Women & girls in science: Q&A with Diana Wang-Martin

For The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we connected with IB chemistry teacher, Diana Wang-Martin on why we should support women and girls interested in science. Diana, also a Middle Years Programme (MYP) coordinator, offers practical advice for educators to encourage girls to pursue their scientific interests.

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Each year on February 11, the United Nations focuses on the importance of women and girls in science fields. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to highlight the critical and influential roles that women and girls play in science and technology. By supporting gender equality, we can open new opportunities to develop unique perspectives and ideas to help solve the world’s most pressing issues.

We connected with IB Chemistry teacher at Glenforest Secondary School Diana Wang-Martin, who shares her passion for science and simple ways educators can reinforce a student’s passion for science.

“It continues to be my mission to encourage girls to take science and STEM-related courses”

What makes you passionate about your work?

I enjoy passing my love of chemistry and science to students. I like the challenge of explaining difficult concepts in ways that students may understand. I appreciate being able to share information about science with our future generation and helping them learn to think, analyze and assess related information critically. I love teaching, mentoring and working with youth and helping to make positive impacts in their lives.

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Do you think increasing access to science courses for girls is important? And why?

There should definitely be increased access to science and STEM-related education for girls. The enrollment rate for girls in the physical sciences and engineering at the post-secondary level education remains low. It continues to be my mission to encourage girls to take science and STEM-related courses to pursue careers in those fields and to provide opportunities for them to build the skills necessary to be successful.

Tips for educators to encourage girls to pursue their science interest inside and outside of the classroom:

  • Invite women in science to speak with students
  • Organize mentorship opportunities for girls to connect with women in science
  • Help female students look for opportunities to participate in science events via community and post-secondary science outreach events.
  • Set up and supervise women in science/STEM clubs for female students
  • Encourage female students with a passion for science to mentor younger children and encourage younger children to pursue science/STEM
  • Help female students to organize hands-on science workshops for younger classes or in the community (i.e., Science workshops at local community centers, local elementary schools, etc.)

What advice do you have for girls considering a career in the sciences?

  • Find opportunities to build their transferable soft skills as well as technical skills and knowledge.
  • Seek out and connect with women in science who are willing to provide guidance and mentorship.
  • Participate in, start and/or lead Science clubs within the school or in the community.
  • Participate in science workshops and events offered by post-secondary schools, science/STEM-related workshops.
  • Look for science/STEM research opportunities in post-secondary schools or other research institutions
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Diana Wang-Martin is an IB chemistry teacher, STEM teacher and an IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) coordinator at Glenforest Secondary School, in Ontario, Canada. She holds an Honours Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Waterloo, and Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. She is passionate about promoting STEM education to youth, particularly, to young women. Diana is the recipient of the Canadian Prime Minister’s Awards in Teaching Excellence.

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