Browse "Women in STEM"

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Alice Wilson

Alice Evelyn Wilson, MBE, geologist, paleontologist (born 26 August 1881 in Cobourg, ON; died 15 April 1964 in Ottawa, ON). Educated at the Universities of Toronto and Chicago, Wilson spent her entire professional career, from 1909 to 1946, with the Geological Survey of Canada. She was Canada’s first female geologist and the recognized authority on the fossils and rock of the Ottawa-St. Lawrence Valley. While she repeatedly faced barriers as a woman in a profession dominated by men, Wilson was gradually recognized for her work through various honours, including becoming the first female Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1938.

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Amelia Yeomans

Amelia Yeomans (née LeSueur), physician, social and political reformer, temperance advocate, suffragist and public speaker (born 29 March 1842 in Québec City, Canada East; died 22 April 1913 in Calgary, AB).

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Beatrice Worsley

Beatrice Helen Worsley, computer scientist, professor (born 18 October 1921 in Queretaro, Mexico; died 8 May 1972 in Waterloo, Ontario). Worsley was a pioneering researcher in the emerging field of computer science. She conducted research and taught at the University of Toronto and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Worsley is considered to be the first female computer scientist in Canada and was honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Association of Computer Science in 2014.

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Clara Benson

Clara Cynthia Benson, professor of chemistry (born in 1875 in Port Hope, ON; died 24 March 1964 in Port Hope). In 1899, Benson became the first woman to graduate in chemistry from the University of Toronto. In 1903, she became one of the first two women awarded a PhD at U of T. After graduating with her doctorate, she worked at U of T’s Lillian Massey School of Domestic Science, becoming one of the university’s first female professors in 1920. A capable teacher who stimulated research and was a friend to her students, Benson taught at the school until her retirement in 1945. The Benson Building at U of T was named in recognition of her efforts to obtain better athletic facilities for women students.

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Donna Strickland

Donna Theo Strickland, physicist (born 27 May 1959 in Guelph, ON). Donna Strickland is a pioneering physicist, known for her work on ultrafast lasers. She is currently a professor of physics at the University of Waterloo. She has authored more than 90 publications and has made seminal contributions to the field of laser technology. In 2018, Strickland was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for her work on the development of laser technology.

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Edith Monture

Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture (often known simply as Edith Monture), Mohawk First World War veteran, registered nurse, (born 10 April 1890 on Six Nations reserve near Brantford, ON; died 3 April 1996 in Ohsweken, ON). Edith was the first Indigenous woman to become a registered nurse in Canada and to gain the right to vote in a Canadian federal election. She was also the first Indigenous woman from Canada to serve in the United States military. Edith broke barriers for Indigenous women in the armed forces and with regards to federal voting rights. A street (Edith Monture Avenue) and park (Edith Monture Park) are named after her in Brantford, Ontario.

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Elizabeth Smith-Shortt

Elizabeth Smith-Shortt, née Smith, physician, feminist (b at Winona, Canada W 18 Jan 1859; d at Ottawa 14 Jan 1949). She belonged to the prosperous LOYALIST family that founded the E.D. Smith preserves company.

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Elsie MacGill

Elizabeth “Elsie” Muriel Gregory MacGill, OC, “Queen of the Hurricanes,” aeronautical engineer, feminist (born 27 March 1905 in Vancouver, BC; died 4 November 1980 in Cambridge, Massachusetts).

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Emily Stowe

Emily Howard Stowe, née Jennings, physician (b at Norwich, UC 1 May 1831; d at Toronto 30 Apr 1903). A lifelong champion of women's rights, Emily Stowe taught school in Brantford and Mount Pleasant, Canada W, and in 1856

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Ethlyn Trapp

Ethlyn Trapp, physican, researcher (b at New Westminster, BC 18 Jul 1891; d at West Vancouver 31 Jul 1972). Ethlyn Trapp was the fourth of eight children of Thomas John Trapp and Nell Dockrill.

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Frances Kelsey

​Frances Oldham Kelsey, CM, pharmacologist (born 24 July 1914 in Cobble Hill, BC; died 7 August 2015 in London, ON). As an employee of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Kelsey blocked the sale of thalidomide in the United States.

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Helen Griffith Wylie Watson

Helen Griffith Wylie Watson, née McArthur, nursing administrator (b at Stettler, Alta 11 July 1911; d at Guelph, Ont 15 Dec 1974). A graduate of U of A, Watson received her first practical experience as a public-health nurse at an isolated settlement in the Peace River country during the Depression.

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Helen Irene Battle

Helen Irene Battle, zoologist, educator (b at London, Ont 31 Aug 1903; d there 17 Jun 1994). A pioneering Canadian zoologist and much-loved teacher, she was emeritus professor of zoology at the University of Western Ontario from 1972.

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Helen Sawyer Hogg

Helen Battles Sawyer Hogg (née Sawyer), CC, astronomer and educator (born 1 August 1905 in Lowell, Massachusetts; died 28 January 1993 in Toronto, ON). Recognized internationally for her research on globular star clusters, Helen Sawyer Hogg significantly advanced astronomers’ understanding of the location and age of stars as well as the origins and evolution of our galaxy, the Milky Way. She also contributed greatly to the Canadian public’s understanding of astronomy and inspired women to enter scientific professions.