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Girls and science: what a team!

February 11, 2019

Chemist Louise Deschênes of AAFC's Women in Science network

February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a chance to highlight the important contributions of women in agricultural science. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers regularly take part in activities to inspire youth.

Chemist Louise Deschênes, a member of AAFC's Women in Science network, organized a tour at the Saint-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre, where approximately 30 students got a taste of potential career paths in agricultural science.

To share their passion for their work, experts in various scientific fields, both women and men, rolled up their sleeves to organize a special day with the theme "Girls and science: what a team!" Fadette High School science students spent the day at the research centre exploring the science of agri-food.

This innovative event, arranged in collaboration with federal partners and a science advocacy organization, was one of several activities planned by AAFC's Women in Science Network. Louise said that the idea was to invite students to meet inspiring female scientists, learn about the passion that drives them and discover new career perspectives through sharing and experimentation.

How can we deepen students' understanding of the little-known science of food processing? With visits to research laboratories, booths staffed by science professionals and exciting conferences. Students tested their ability to do a sensory evaluation on maple syrup and carried out micropipette tests. They also learned about careers in horticultural science.

The experience was greatly appreciated by all: "I liked the booths, the special meal where we discovered another style of food, the taste test." "This showed us career opportunities and inventions we never knew existed." "I appreciated everything. The diversity, awakening our curiosity, openness, the organization, the generosity."

This kind of event is a first for the research centre. It was a great success and has hopefully ignited several students' desire to pursue a career in science. What a wonderful way to prepare the next generation.

Read profiles of leading Canadian women in science and learn about exciting career paths in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or "STEM'" sectors, including agriculture.

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