Celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Today marks the 9th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day to celebrate the contributions of women and girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) communities, highlight the critical role that women and girls play in scientific and technological innovation, and critically discuss how diverse participation can be facilitated and strengthened.
Liz Pijogge, Lynn Moorman, Deanna-Leonard-Spitzer

(Left to right) Liz Pijogge, Lynn Moorman, Deanna-Leonard-Spitzer

At Adventure Canada, we are proud to collaborate with and support researchers who are leading the way in their respective fields. In honour of this important day, we would like to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of three remarkable women with whom we frequently work. These individuals are at the forefront of leadership and innovation, pushing boundaries, and inspiring the next generation of scientists.

Their dedication and expertise make a significant difference not only in their fields but also in shaping a more inclusive and equitable future for all. On this special day, let us recognize and applaud their groundbreaking work and commitment to scientific excellence. Learn more about these remarkable women in the article and videos below.

Youth catching char

© Photo courtesy of Liz Pijogge

Liz Pijogge showing a young participant how to sample char in Ivitak, Nachvak Fiord, Newfoundland and Labrador, with other youth catching char in the background to be sampled.

For This Inuit Woman of Science, the Preferred Pronoun is "Us"

On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Adventure Canada’s Director of Sustainable and Regenerative Travel Scott McDougall, interviewed Liz Pijogge of Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador. Liz is the Northern Contaminants Researcher at the Nunatsiavut Research Centre where, together with her talented team and partners, they collect data about the effects of plastic pollution and contamination in marine life.

Today, she is a leading Arctic researcher, overseeing one of the most comprehensive plastic monitoring programs in the circumpolar Arctic, along with managing multiple other research projects. Although she plays an important role in facilitating critical work and research, Liz emphasizes that the work she does is about us, not me, pointing out the important role that a variety of partners, collaborators, communities, and community members play in bringing the work to bear.

Learn more about Liz in For This Inuit Woman of Science, the Preferred Pronoun is "Us"–an article written by Scott McDougall.

Liz has travelled with Adventure Canada as a Researcher-in-Residence since 2022 and she will join us again to continue her research on the Greenland and Wild Labrador: A Torngat Mountains Adventure expedition in 2024.

Lynn moorman teaching inuit mappers

© Photo courtesy of Lynn Moorman

Lynn Moorman teaching Inuit mappers how to interpret radar satellite imagery, helping them to make ice safety maps for their communities.

Lynn Moorman: Empowering Through Education, Leadership, and Representation

Lynn Moorman shares her passion for learning about landscapes as a geographer, Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University, and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow and travel ambassador. She wears many hats as a teacher and researcher, specifically in physical geography, geomorphology, and advanced digital mapping and geospatial technologies.

Notably, Lynn serves as the Geospatial Education lead for the award-winning SmartICE program. Developed in collaboration with Inuit communities, SmartICE utilizes near-real-time satellite imagery to map sea ice, ensuring safe ice travel. In this role, she leads the Sikumik Qaujimajjuti project, where she provides training to community-based team members on how to interpret satellite imagery and create ice travel safety maps for their communities.

When it comes to the leadership of women and girls in science, Lynn emphasizes the importance of representation to move the needle: “Women who are leading can offer effective mentorship and create support systems for young women interested in STEM fields, providing a view to career possibilities and opening doors while mitigating challenges and barriers in the system.”

Travelling with Adventure Canada as an expedition team member since 2015, Lynn says, “It is so meaningful to be able to share that science on expeditions, people just light up when I share geographical and geomorphological information about the places we are exploring, and I learn a lot too—this is why I keep coming back! I also love learning about the people on board and in communities we visit—everyone has such a valuable perspective to share—being on expedition is like a meeting of the minds.”

Watch the educational webinar Iceland to Greenland: A Geographer's Perspective where Lynn will share her insights into the fascinating land and seascape of the Vikings’ route from Iceland to Greenland.

Adventure Canada has been privileged to have Lynn on board since 2015, and she will be joining several exciting expeditions in 2024 including Sable Island, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, and the Magdalen Islands: Atlantic Island Odyssey, Newfoundland and Wild Labrador: A Torngat Mountains Adventure, and Out of the Northwest Passage.

Deanna leonard spitzer

© Trevor Wallace

Deanna's unwavering passion and expertise make her an exceptional guide on Adventure Canada expeditions, creating lifechanging experiences as she leads guests on thrilling encounters with marine wildlife.

Marine Biologist and Passionate Lifelong Learner: Deanna Leonard-Spitzer Empowers Women's Critical Skills in STEM

Deanna Leonard-Spitzer is a marine biologist who has worked across the globe studying marine species and ecosystems, most often in polar regions which particularly fascinate and inspire her most passionate work. Her current research examines how climate change affects the distribution of whale species in the North Atlantic Ocean, with a focus on the impact of decreasing sea ice on Arctic-endemic whale species. Deanna also dedicates her efforts to identifying strategies to prevent whale entanglement in fishing gear as commercial activities intensify in polar regions.

When it comes to the leadership of women in science, Deanna notes that “Everything about what we do today and the institutions of science, all of that was constructed by men for men. What I’m really interested in is the question ‘how would science be different if it had been made by women, for women?’ I think things would be dramatically different, we haven’t seen yet what those institutions would look like but with time I think this will change and it is starting to change.” She emphasizes that women bring critical skills to STEM including an ability to relate scientific learning and innovation to everyday life, creative thinking, connecting people, and communicating effectively.

Watch a short interview with Deanna on Vimeo.

Travelling with Adventure Canada every year since 2010, Deanna appreciates the opportunity to teach and engage with guests who are also passionate lifetime learners. In 2024, Deanna will join us on the Heart of the Arctic, Sable Island, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, and the Magdalen Islands: Atlantic Island Odyssey, and Newfoundland and Wild Labrador: A Torngat Mountains Adventure expeditions.