2020-2021 WiSER executive team
Co-Chairs: Zeenat Ladak and Megha Bajaj
Zeenat is a Master’s student in Medical Sciences at the University of Alberta with a focus on pediatrics. When starting off her graduate degree, Zeenat decided to see what opportunities she could take advantage of to build professional development skills, and she came across the UA-WISE/WISER Mentoring Program. She took part in the program as an early-career professional in 2017 and loved the experience. Zeenat is also the recipient of AWSN‘s Athena Outsanding Volunteer Award in 2019, a recognition for volunteers that made significant contributions to the AWSN community.
Megha completed her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Alberta in 2017. She currently works at Innovate Calgary as an Innovation Manager. Megha has over three years of professional experience in technology transfer and business development with specialization in the areas of intellectual property (IP), business strategy, contract negotiation, and stakeholder engagement. Prior to joining Innovate Calgary, Megha worked as a Technology Management Officer at TEC Edmonton where she helped researchers at the University of Alberta protect their IP and commercialized their inventions. In her free time, she enjoys knitting and traveling.
Financial Managers: Howard Choi and Annie Kuang
Howard is pursuing a M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Alberta. Specifically, he is focusing on using solvent exchange to control crystallization of beta-alanine. He joined WiSER as he wanted to be part of a community with great causes and have the opportunity to meet and learn from individuals with varying backgrounds.
She is a M.Sc. student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Alberta, focusing on bitumen extraction using solvents. When not occupied with work, Annie enjoys watching movies and reading. She is the chair of the 2020 Faculty of Engineering Graduate Research Symposium.
Communications Lead: Noor Al-Zanoon
Noor is pursuing a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science with a focus on technology and head and neck cancer treatment at the University of Alberta. As a rehabilitation science researcher, Noor has two primary goals: 1) improve the quality of care through the development of technologically advanced methods for personalized and patient-centered speech rehabilitation after head and neck cancer, and 2) translate research evidence to policy and practice leaders. She is working towards these goals by generating innovative research through meaningful research assistantships and volunteer positions. Noor holds joint executive positions as the Communications Lead and UA-WiSE Liaison at WiSER.
Website & Marketing Coordinators: Ali Chou and Jessica Santos
Formally trained as a scientist, a project manager, and with an avid interest in visual design, Ali is the current Communications Associate at GlycoNet, a national science research network connecting scientists across Canada to develop health solutions for Canadians through the study of carbohydrates (sugars). Prior to joining GlycoNet, she worked as a research scientist in a drug discovery startup company in Edmonton, and before that, Ali was a contracted research assistant at the University of Alberta. Having worked in the academia, biotech startup, and the NGO sector, Ali has over four years of experience in event planning, digital marketing, and project management.
Before completing her B.Sc in Biology at MacEwan University in 2017, Jessica took some programming courses and realized her true calling in website design. Having learned scientific discipline from her degree, and taking advantage of a long-standing interest in fine art and animation, Jessica enjoys learning new things every day. She continues her journey in design where she is now enrolled in the Digital Media and Information Technology (DMIT) program following the Web Development stream. Jessica holds joint executive positions as the reporter and the website & marketing coordinator at WiSER.
Sponsorship Managers: Amira Fitieh and Eileen Santos
Amira completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta in 2015. She then joined the Cross Cancer Institute at the University of Alberta as a Postdoctoral Fellow, with the goal of conducting cancer research to help save the lives of cancer patients and improve their quality of life. She also volunteers as a Science Communication Fellow at Telus World of Science. As a working mother, Amira resonates with the challenges that women face in STEM fields, and she is passionate about creating a support system that provides equity for women in STEM. In her parallel life aside from science, Amira is a cat-lover, enthusiast of music, poetry, and all forms of art. She also enjoys the Canadian outdoors and traveling.
As a bio-resource and food engineering researcher, Eileen is passionate about implementing and standardizing green solutions during the formulation and production of food products. During her Ph.D. program at the University of Alberta, Eileen has used supercritical fluid technology as a sustainable solution to concentrate bioactive with health benefits from agri-food by-products, which potentially could be used as value-added ingredients in human consumption products. Eileen is also a contributing writer at Engineer your Mission, where she serves as a mental health advocate to raise awareness of well-being practices in the STEM work environment. She loves to cook, bike, and connect with people to support community well-being. She is involved in different social organizations.
Mentorship Program Co-Leads: Carlie Lewis and Noor Al-Zanoon
Carlie is an alumna of the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta and an aspiring environmental management professional. She is a volunteer at the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, where she helps raise awareness of the issues facing Alberta’s natural ecosystems. Prior to joining WiSER in 2019, she was recruited at Yaruki Switch Group to teach English in Japan for two years. She enjoys traveling and have visited fascinating places like Tarva Mare in Transylvania where she surveyed exotic plants and animal biodiversity. Carlie holds joint executive positions as the reporter and Mentorship Co-Lead at WiSER.
Event Planner: Lily Olayinka and Zohreh Poursoti
Lily completed her Ph.D. in Medical Sciences (Oncology) from the Hull York Medical School, England in 2017 and she currently works at the University of Alberta as a Research Coordinator. As an early-career professional in a new city, she was searching for opportunities to meet other professionals in STEM fields and came across WiSER. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, friends and trying out new recipes.
Zohreh is a Ph.D. student from the Department of Electrical Engineering focusing on Plasmonics at the University of Alberta. She joined WiSER in 2016 after hearing about how the organization greatly impacted the STEM community. Zohreh was the co-lead of the UA-WiSE/WiSER Mentorship program from 2018 to 2020. Being part of WiSER provided Zohreh a great opportunity to meet new people in the STEM fields and helped her develop leadership skills.
UA-WiSE Liaison: Noor Al-Zanoon
Reporters: Jessica Santos and Carlie Lewis
Mentors in Residence: Minji Kim, Madeleine Jensen-Fontaine, and Shoma Sinha
Minji completed her Master’s in Environmental Science from University of Toronto in 2014 and moved to Edmonton shortly after. As a recent graduate seeking a career in a new city, she attended WiSER events to network and to learn about industries in Edmonton. During WiSER’s Industry Mixer, Minji met her current employer (Gliead Sciences) and gained insight on the company culture and values which aligned with what she was looking for in a company. Minji is now a Senior Research Associate at Gilead, a biotechnology company that focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing therapeutics in the areas of unmet medical needs.
Madeleine completed her Masters in Analytical Chemistry in 2012. As an early-career professional, she found WiSER’s events as excellent source of information and a great place to meet other professionals in STEM fields. She joined WiSER as the financial manager in early 2014 and was co-chair from 2015 to 2017. For Madeleine, it has been great to see how WiSER’s programs and events impacted positively on the participants, specifically the mentorship program. Madeleine now works at University of Alberta’s DiscoverE, a program serving youth by inspiring the engaging them through fun and meaningful STEM activities.
Shoma is the Senior Advisor Advanced Technologies at Government of Alberta’s Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. Shoma has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Alberta and is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the University. In 2008, she co-founded WiSER with a group of talented students and professionals. She became a Mentor in Residence at WiSER after completing her Ph.D. and continued to share her passion for helping others achieve their full potentials in STEM fields. She is the Past President of Alberta Women’s Science Network (AWSN).