Students stoked about science jobs

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES are numerous for girls in science and technology.

SILVICULTURE FORESTER Sarah Jane Railton

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES are numerous for girls in science and technology.

That’s the message from the Quantum Leaps conference for young women in which local and area professionals talked about their careers to give girls an idea of the jobs available in the science field.

Local scientists included wildlife biologist Kate Dillon, naturopathic physician Dr. Candice Griffith, sustainability coordinator Tara Irwin, physiotherapist Lori Janzen, silviculture forester Sarah Jane Railton, registered nurse Orie Shiga, microbiologist and college professor Dr. Catharine White and integrated science student Courtney Berdan.

Keynote speaker Alana Clason is working on her PhD at UNBC in Prince George and is an associate researcher at the Bulkley Valley Research Centre in Smithers.

After the conference, students filled out evaluation forms and many said they felt inspired and motivated by all these women who love their jobs, said Christine Slanz executive director of Northwest Science and Innovation Society, which sponsored the conference.

Marine biology was a big interest for the students, as was wildlife biologist, and physiotherapist.

“There was one (student) who wanted to be a physiotherapist [and put it] right on her registration form before we knew who we’d get for the conference. It was neat to have a physiotherapist so she could sit down and talk with her,” said Slanz.

When students put down their top careers before they registered, many noted they were thinking of jobs in the medical field, such as cardiologist and neurologist but none mentioned what would seem to be obvious: jobs in natural resources.

Silviculture forester Sarah Jane Railton changed that with her talk about her career.

While she didn’t want to single out any one presenter or field, Slanz did say that students seemed to love Railton’s presentation.

“Sarah Railton just moved here from Alberta and is also big on fly-fishing and couldn’t wait to move here,” said Slanz.

“I think everybody was so motivated by her enthusiasm and presentation and lots of props she brought with her.”

The event saw more than 30 Grade 10 to 12 students in total – many from the local area, several from Kitimat and a couple from home school, said Slanz. This was the fourth Quantum Leaps conference in the north and the first in three years.

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