Meet SCWIST’s Board of Directors!

SCWIST is happy to announce its new board of directors! They will continue the organization’s mission to create an environment where women and girls in Canada can pursue their interest, education, passion and careers in STEM without barriers. SCWIST’s values – to empower, include, inspire, connect and sustain – will guide the new board of directors to innovate for a future where everyone, regardless of gender, works together to build a better Canada.

“We are excited to work together as a highly diverse team towards a period of growth for SCWIST, where our volunteers, members, partners and donors are more engaged and involved than ever. We just closed our 40-year celebration, and we look forward to the next 40 years of resiliency, tenacity and impact,” said SCWIST’s president, Dr. Poh Tan.

Did you know that SCWIST is primarily volunteer-run, including the board of directors? That means the board members choose to dedicate their time, expertise and hearts to bringing gender equity to STEM and they are passionate about the impacts that SCWIST will make in the next 40 years and beyond.

Lily Takeuchi, Saina Beitari, Aska Patel and Poh Tan are back for the second year of their terms. Jasmine Parmar, Melanie Ratnam, JeAnn Watson, Gigi Lau and Phyllis MacIntyre have joined the team.

Lily is an emerging scholar and PhD student at the University of Toronto, where she is developing drug screening platforms and organ-on-a-chip devices. She has been a SCWIST volunteer for the last three years and returns to the board in the roles of vice president and director of business development.

Saina is a researcher at the National Researcher Council of Canada and supports COVID-19 and other viral infection R&D efforts. With a PhD in microbiology, her passion lies in HIV/AIDS research. She is an advocate for policy reform for the better inclusion of science in policy-making. Saina joins the SCWIST board as the director of finance.

Aska is a pharmacist, entrepreneur, patient advocate and change agent in healthcare. With a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, she works with communities, hospitals, government and home care settings. Her passion is in advocacy and breaking barriers to create equitable access to healthcare. Aska returns to the board as the director of community building and membership.

Poh is an entrepreneur, stem cell scientist, educator, two-time TEDx speaker and mother of two boys. With a PhD in stem cell biology under her belt, Poh is currently completing a second PhD with a focus on science education. She is the founder and CEO of STEMedge Academy where she creates programs to support high school students develop research capacity in STEM. She returns to the board of directors as SCWIST’s president.

SCWIST is excited to welcome our newest board members: JeAnn Watson, Jasmine Parmar, Melanie Ratnam, Gigi Lau and Phyllis MacIntyre.

JeAnn Watson

JeAnn has a background is in biochemistry, where she specialized in natural and synthetic compounds in drug metabolism. After receiving her PMP certification, JeAnn chose to transition away from the bench and is now a project management coordinator at Genome BC. She is also the vice chair of the Society for Scientific Advancement where she is focused on providing STEM opportunities to underrepresented populations. She is SCWIST’s director of youth engagement.

Jasmine Parmar

Jasmine Parmar has a background in biomedical physiology and kinesiology. She has built a career in sales and operations. Jasmine has previously volunteered with SCWIST’s Business Development committee. She has a passion for raising the profile of women of colour who want to pursue a career in STEM. Jasmine joins the board as the director of marketing and communications.

Melanie Ratnam

Melanie Ratnam is a neuroscientist with a PhD from the University of Toronto focused on the cellular processes that regulate inflammation after strokes. She is an entrepreneur, advocate and passionate supporter of youth pursuing STEM. Melanie joins the SCWIST board as the director of policy and advocacy to focus on improving EDI and the representation of women in STEM.

Phyllis MacIntyre

Phyllis is an assistant professor at Farleigh Dickinson University and an instructor at University Canada West. She brings a depth of knowledge and experience in program development, human resources management, executive coaching, strategic planning and organizational development. As SCWIST grows its impact in the community, Phyllis’s experiences will help advance leadership within the organization. She joins the board as the secretary and interim director of women’s programs.

Gigi Lau

Gigi is a biology program manager at the University of British Columbia. She holds a PhD in mitochondrial biology and experience as a post-doctoral fellow from the University of Oslo. Gigi is also passionate about advancing and improving equity for women and girls in STEM. She joined SCWIST as donor relations lead and continues to commit her time as SCWIST’s newest director of strategic partnerships and fundraising.

“As the new Board of Directors, we are excited for our new roles, ready to work together as a team to create impact and committed to SCWIST’s mission and vision towards creating more equitable STEM spaces.”