Throughout Canadian universities, there is a staggering gender gap in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science (STEM) fields.

The Canadian Women In Chemical sciences, engineering, and technology (CWIC) network promotes inclusivity, equity, and diversity in the chemical sciences across Canada by developing a community for women and minorities.

How We Inspire Change

“I feel that the entire process has been super positive as I have learned so much about what I hope to do in my last year. Furthermore, I feel that I have learned so many strategies in approaching/applying for research, coping with mental health, understanding what the “upper” academic environment is like…”

U of T WIC mentee

CWIC works for change by:

  • Creating mentor-mentee partnerships between women and other under represented groups (URG) in the chemical sciences.
    • Over the past two years, 60 mentors and 97 mentees have participated in this mentorship program.
  • Promoting, engaging with, and advocating for women in STEM fields in our universities.
  • Providing outreach to youth and the public.
  • Holding Leaders Overcoming Gender Inequality in Chemistry (LOGIC) retreats to provide professional development and networking opportunities to women and URG in the chemical sciences.
  • Creating a database of resources and contacts (especially influential leaders) to provide a structure for future growth.
  • Measuring impact through participant feedback surveys.

WIC Groups Across Canada

CWIC Leaders

Meet our executive board.

Meagan Oakley, Chief Executive Officer

Meagan was raised on the east coast of Canada and earned her B.Sc. at the University of Prince Edward Island. Her studies in computational chemistry continued at the University of Alberta where she is currently a PhD candidate. Meagan co-founded the UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry group in April 2017 and hosted the Leaders Overcoming Gender Inequality in Chemistry (LOGIC) 2018 conference a year later. Outside the lab, she brews beer and bakes for her friends and family.

Nadia Laschuk, Chief Finance Officer

Nadia O. Laschuk completed her BSc in Chemistry with a minor in Math in 2015 at Ontario Tech University. She simultaneously studied Concurrent Education, and obtained a BEd in 2016 becoming an Ontario Certified Teacher at this time. She began her studies for a PhD in Materials Science in the fall of 2016 at Ontario Tech University, where she currently studies, under the supervision of Dr. Olena V. Zenkina. Nadia’s research is in the area of inorganic materials chemistry. She loves to combine her passion for science and childhood education together, volunteering for programs such as Let’s Talk Science, Science Rendezvous, and LEGO Robotics. 

Milanpreet Kaur, Chief Marketing Officer

Milanpreet Kaur is a PhD candidate in the Van Humbeck Group at University of Calgary. Originally from India, where she did her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Chemistry at University of Delhi. Milan’s research interest is focused on designing a new catalytic system for site selective C-H functionalization in azaheterocycles. Currently, Milan is working towards laying the foundation of Women in Chemistry (WIC) Chapter at University of Calgary. When she has time, she enjoys photography, blogging and exploring different places and culture. Her life goal is to stay purpose driven and to leave a positive impact wherever she goes.

Holly Fruehwald, Chief Administrative Officer

Holly Fruehwald is from Brampton, Ontario, she moved to Oshawa in 2011 where she started her chemistry degree. She completed her BSc in 2017 and started her MSc in Materials Science the same year at Ontario Tech University. She is now pursuing her PhD in Materials Science at the same University. Research interests are the design of novel catalysts for applications in electrochemical energy systems. She also likes reading books about space, space travel, and astronauts in hopes to one day visit another planet. 

Anika Tarasewicz, Member at Large

Anika completed her B.Sc. at the University of Ottawa and currently is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Anika joined WICTO in September 2015 as the social media representative. During her time as social media representative, she expanded the group’s reach on social media, developed the Women of Influence series, and helped with several funding applications. The following two years (June 2016 – May 2018) Anika was Co-Chair of WICTO which allowed her to facilitate the creation of several new WICTO events and activities at the University of Toronto. Her proudest accomplishment was initiating the LOGIC retreat in May 2017 with a group of dedicated WICTO members.

Elaheh Khozeimeh Sarbisheh, Member at Large

I was born in Iran, where I completed my undergraduate and Master’s training in Chemistry, during which time I received the highest academic honours. To further pursue my education, I then moved to Canada to take up PhD studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Upon completion of my PhD studies, I embarked on a new research direction with the goal of exploring my strong interest in applications of Chemistry in Medicine. I am currently a SHRF and CIHR-THRUST postdoctoral fellow. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, running, biking, playing chess, and socializing with friends and family.

Florence Williams, Faculty Advisor

Florence grew up in Pasadena, CA, USA. She obtained her Ph. D. for organometallic catalysis work from University of California, Irvine in the lab of Prof. Elizabeth Jarvo. After post-doctoral research in chemical biology at Princeton in the lab of Prof. Dorothea Fiedler, Florence began her independent career at University of Alberta. Her research areas bridge traditional synthetic methodology development and chemical biology. In 2019, Florence moved to University of Iowa to continue her investigations while solving a two-body academic situation! She is happy to be living in the same location as her husband and new colleague, Prof. David Martin. Florence enjoys spending time with her puppy Fiona, hiking, beer brewing, and the occasional video game.

Nimrat Obhi, Member at Large

Nim is originally from Ottawa and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto where she studies electronic polymers in the Seferos Group. She has been a proud member of WICTO since 2014 and has held positions such as Events Coordinator, Co-Chair, and Seminar Series Coordinator. She is a current member of the CSC Working Group for Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity (WIDE), and hopes to bring her commitment and passion for IDE to the CWIC team. In her spare time, Nim enjoys hiking, swimming, music, skiing, and is an avid cook.

Bryony McAllister, Member at Large

Bryony grew up on Vancouver Island and completed her B.Sc. in chemistry at the University of Victoria. In 2015, she began her PhD at the University of Toronto, studying organic polymer-based energy storage. Bryony joined WICTO at the start of her degree, and has served as the internal events coordinator, treasurer and co-chair. In her spare time, Bryony enjoys hiking, biking and trying new recipes.

Did You Know?

Numbers that are inspiring the creation of CWIC groups:

  • In 2013, women STEM graduates accounted for 16% of all university graduates aged 25-35, whereas men STEM graduates accounted for 36%.
  • Not only are women receiving fewer STEM undergraduate degrees than men, but in chemistry, this gap widens even further (36% to 26%) for women pursuing graduate studies.
  • Research has unequivocally demonstrated that diversity drives innovation.