SCWIST Board & Staff 2018–2019

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Kelly Marciniw, CPHR, BBA, MBA |President

Kelly Marciniw has served on the SCWIST board since 2016. As of 2018, Kelly is the SCWIST Board President. Her first two years were as our Treasurer and Director Grants including helping to found the Spirit of SCWIST endowment fund. Her focus has been on ensuring the financial sustainability of the organization and the many programs supporting girls and women in STEM. She has also represented SCWIST in political forums such as hosting the BC Election debate and representing SCWIST at the 2017 G7 Sherpa & community consultations. Kelly is also the principal consultant at BrightGo Solutions, a business consultancy that guides immigrant entrepreneurs and international companies that are expanding into the Canadian market with their business planning and human resources needs. She graduated with her undergrad from Simon Fraser University, holds a MBA from University of Toronto & St. Gallen University in global business and applied innovation and earned her CPHR with Association of Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of BC & Yukon. She enjoys learning about most aspects of STEM and spends at least part of most days within spreadsheets. Contact: president[at]scwist[dot]ca

Louise Wilkinson, BSc, MRSC, MBA |Vice President & Director for Membership and Volunteers

Louise has over 15 years experience in analytical laboratory operations and quality assurance. She has worked in a variety of industries from polymers to pharmaceutical, food and supplements, animal feed and cosmetics, to healthcare and technology. She started out as a bench technician, and worked her way up through a variety of analytical testing roles before being introduced to Quality Assurance, where she worked on HPLC method development focusing on efficiencies of throughput, and validation of analytical methods. She broke free of the bench when she became a manager of a laboratory start-up in the UK, where she helped grow the business for 7 years before moving to Vancouver. She has a BSc (hons) in Applied Chemistry from Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), and an MBA from Simon Fraser University, and has specialized in the application of international standards by creating and implementing Quality Management Systems, from GMP to ISO/IEC 17043 (and others in between) in small to medium-sized companies and is studying for her Six Sigma Black Belt in her spare time, and is IRCA lead auditor trained. Louise has been a member of the board at SCWIST, a Vancouver-based non-profit organisation that looks to promote and encourage women in science, technology and engineering fields. for two years and has held the post of Secretary and Director-Membership in that time. She is a great believer in empowerment as a strategy for leadership, loves working collaboratively towards targets and making decisions based on data. In her spare time, Louise enjoys baking and quite recently, taking care of her new pup — Frenchbulldog, Daisy. Contact: director-membership[at]scwist[dot]ca

Nasira Aziz, BSC, MBA |Interim Director (Secretary)

Nasira is Interim Director Secretary in SWIST with a diverse background in STEM fields. She recently completed her MBA with a concentration in Innovation Leadership from University of Fredericton. Nasira also holds an undergraduate degree in Interactive Arts and Technology from Simon Fraser University and a master’s degree in Chemistry from Pakistan. She worked as a Quality Control professional, an educator and an office manager around the globe until 2003. Nasira has held a life-long vision of making education accessible to all. In the early years of her career, she became part of a campaign where she went door-to-door in rural Pakistan, persuading parents to sending their children, especially girls, to school.
After 2003, she dedicated herself to a “stay-at-home mom” role. However, during all these years, she has been devoted to making a positive contribution in her community. She volunteered to tutor children of all grades, especially children who were at risk of failing of dropping out of school. Nasira is looking forward to working with organizations where she can help reach shared goals. She brings with her a variety of experiences with formal technology and business knowledge, as well as understanding of the challenges businesses face today in gaining and sustaining competitive edge. She believes that working with the SCWIST board will be an opportunity to learn the operations of an organization, while helping further the success of women in education, a cause she holds close to her heart. Contact: secretary[at]scwist[dot]ca

Danniele Livengood, BSc |Director for Events

Danniele is the Program Manager of Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WWEST) at Simon Fraser University, operating under the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (BC/Yukon Region). At WWEST she manages a team to engage industry, the community and students to increase the awareness and participation of women and other under-represented groups in STEM fields. Her educational background is in Chemistry and Environmental Science, with particular interest in sustainable innovations which support circular economies. Danniele first got involved with SCWIST in 2009 during her undergraduate studies at UBC when she heard about SCWIST’s Wonder Women Networking Evening. She has served on the SCWIST board since 2014, previously holding positions as Secretary, Director of Make Possible, and Vice-President. As a member of the board, Danniele has twice represented SCWIST when speaking to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women. When not at work or in a board meeting, Danniele may be found playing video games, binge-watching Netflix, or tending her garden. Contact: director-events[at]scwist[dot]ca

Khristine Cariño, DMD, PhD |Director for Communications

Khristine Carino is rebooting her career after taking time off to provide care for her three children, now ages 7, 9 and 12 years old. With a PhD in Dental Sciences and international awards for epidemiological research, she came to Canada for a postdoctoral fellowship at UBC in 2005. However, due to parental demands, she veered off the academic track and became a stay-home mom. Her challenges as a mom and a new immigrant included post-partum depression and social isolation. In 2012–2017 she relaunched her research career but struggled with family-work balance. In 2018, after another career hiatus, she discovered the YWCA Focus@Work program for women in career transition, which helped her reconcile her career expectations and the reality of parenthood. Volunteering in the first Vancouver conference, Khristine credits the Women in Tech Regatta for providing her the opportunity to find a tribe of professional parents who smoothened her transition in the Tech space.

An innovative leader, Khristine currently sits on the Board of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST), leading the implementation of communication campaigns, social and digital media strategies . Her pet project is the SCWIST StoryBook which chronicles the lives and careers of Canadian Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. If you, or you know someone, are interested to be featured in the StoryBook, please contact her at

Passionate about creating community impact, she is Founder and Program Director of East Van Kids STEAM, a volunteer-driven grassroots initiative providing free/low cost workshops for children in East Vancouver. Through Empower.Mom, another initiative, Khristine is keen on building a community of women sharing resources and support for mothers who want to transition to a career in tech.

Marcia MacDonald, PhD |Director for SCWIST-Make Possible

Over the last 10 years, SCWIST’s programming and community have had a profound influence on Marcia’s leadership style, career network, and commitment to advocating for women in science. She was inspired by working with the enthusiastic members of the SCWIST Strategic Development Committee to volunteer to serve on SCWIST’s Board of Directors in 2015. Marcia enjoys collaborating with the “wonder women” of the Board to advocate for policies that support women in STEM and enable the scientific community to reflect the full demographic spectrum of society.

Marcia is also part of the Science and Medicine team at the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal, where she leads the global development of the athlete biological passport program. With more than 20 years of experience overseeing a range of projects in non-profit, industry, and academic sectors, Marcia understands the challenges of implementing research findings and policy recommendations into practice. Prior to joining WADA, Marcia was Director, Research Programs at Genome British Columbia, where she oversaw the research portfolio.

Before moving to the non-profit sector, Marcia worked in the biotechnology industry to identify and validate targets for gene silencing and other therapeutic approaches to anemia, metabolic diseases, and pain. Marcia obtained her PhD in Genetics from The University of British Columbia, where she studied mechanisms of atherosclerosis and inflammation. Contact: director-makepossible[at]scwist[dot]ca

Vienna Chichi Lam, MA |Director for Youth Engagement

Vienna is a laboratory supervisor and graduate researcher at Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Centre for Forensic Research and School of Criminology. Vienna’s forensic anthropology research is on the decompositional effects of lake submerged skeletal material and works with the Canadian Drowning Prevention Coalition to examine aquatic deaths in Canada using geospatial tools. Aside from research and teaching activities, Vienna serves on the SFU Research Ethics Board, works as a RCMP Victim Services Caseworker, and gives public talks and workshops as a SCWIST Ms. Infinity mentor.

Vienna’s passions coalesce at the intersection of science education, criminal justice, and human rights advocacy. Her goal is to improve the learning outcomes amongst youth through public engagement and collective empowerment, which is aligned with what she hopes to achieve as the SCWIST Director of Youth Engagement. Contact: director-outreach[at]scwist[dot]ca

Dhalie Patara Plischke, B.Sc, ADGISA, PMP |Treasurer and Director, Grants

Dhalie is a senior project manager at Fujitsu Canada, an information and communications technology company. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in 1997 from Simon Fraser University, and she has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2008. She also holds an advanced diploma in GIS applications from Vancouver Island University. Dhalie is a member of the University Women’s Club of Vancouver, a women’s advocacy group located at Hycroft with a mission to promote education, rights, and opportunities for women. She is also part of the Fujitsu America’s Women’s Innovation Network, an initiative committed to empowering women to reach their full potential. Her entrepreneurial spirit has taken her on many start-up adventures, over the last 20 years, beginning with founding her own project consulting company in 2001. As a cofounder and advisor she brings an effective approach to product commercialization by building partnerships, developing teams and generating R&D funding opportunities. Dhalie joins the SCWIST board to share her enthusiasm and passion to increase STEM opportunities for girls and women. On weekends, she spends time with her family, and enjoys playing bridge, trying her hand at golf and doing crossword puzzles. Contact: director-finance[at]scwist[dot]ca

Bhavi Modi, PhD |Director for Immigrating Women in STEM (SCWIST-IWIS)

Bhavi is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia. She has over seven years experience in women’s health research. Originally from India, where she got her Masters in Biotechnology, she did her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA. Bhavi moved to Vancouver, Canada, in May 2017 and has served on the SCWIST Membership Committee as a volunteer since August 2017. Based on her experiences of being a woman in science and being an immigrant in two different countries, Bhavi realizes the important role SCWIST plays in providing a platform for women in STEM to share their unique experiences and provide a collective voice in advocacy. As Director for IWIS, she looks forward to applying her experience and skills to make the system more inclusive and supportive for immigrating women in STEM with the idea of not only including but sustaining these women in the workforce . When not in lab, Bhavi loves to read books, sketch, build elaborate puzzles or explore Vancouver and surrounding BC. Contact: director-iwis[at]scwist[dot]ca

Andrea Hunter, MSc, CPA, CFF, CFE |Director for Strategic Development

Andrea graduated from UBC with a MSc and BSc (Honours), and is a Registered Professional Biologist with +10 years experience specializing in marine mammals. As her scientific career progressed, she became involved in business development and marketing to help employers secure international scientific consulting projects. Andreapursued her interest in business by returning to the UBC Sauder School of Business to earn a Diploma in Accounting. After graduation, she worked for ‘Big 4’ accounting firms to gain experience in financial analysis, audit, and accounting. Andrea obtained her Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified in Financial Forensics, and Certified Fraud Examiner designations and now works as a Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis.

Andrea joined SCWIST roughly 10 years ago because she identified with SCWIST’s goal of promoting, encouraging, and empowering women and girls in science, engineering, and technology. At the time she joined, Andrea was in search of mentoring from the STEM community while she was building her career in science. Andrea has remained a member of SCWIST because she believes in supporting the next generation of STEM women and girls, providing opportunities to others, and giving back to those who supported her professional journey.

Andrea‘s leadership and managerial skills, matched with her accounting acumen and scientific experience, make her ideal for a position on the SCWIST Board of Directors. Andrea has led community fundraising events for non-profit organizations, scientific working groups, and business development activities for past employers. She also has experience auditing non-profit organizations and understands the financial challenges that NPOs face. Andrea is enthusiastic, optimistic, and enjoys collaboration. She has also learned to persevere and believes in empowering others to fulfill their dreams. Contact: director-strategicdev[at]scwist[dot]ca

Christin Wiedemann, PhD |Past President

Christin has been a member of PQA’s executive management team since 2012, and spearhead the company’s work around strategic goals, business development and growth. Her strengths are around public outreach and using social media to market ideas, initiatives and events. Previous she has been a member of AddQ Consulting’s steering committee (2010–2011), public liaison for the Swedish Polar secretariat and the Swedish Research council (2002–2007), voting member of the Faculty of Natural Sciences Council at Stockholm University (2004–2006) and the chairman of the Physics Department’s Ph.D. council at Stockholm University (2004–2005). During her graduate studies at Stockholm University she was also engaged in the Nordic Network for Women in Physics.

Having studied and worked in primarily male-dominated environments, she is aware of the importance of female role models, and how hard they can be to find. Christin wants to be a positive role model in general, but in particular for women.

After moving to Canada and Vancouver in 2011, Christin was looking for opportunities to engage with organizations working to promote women in science and technology. She soon found SCWIST and started attending events, and joined the Make Possible network as an active mentor. In 2015 christin joined the SCWIST Board as the Director of Communications, and in 2016 she took on the role of President. Christin is also a member of Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT) and Women in Communications and Technology (WCT).


Cheryl Kristiansen, Make Possible Project Coordinator

Cheryl brings diverse expertise in project management, engineering innovation and leading transformative change in STEM. She has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, hands-on experience in alternate fuels technology, and senior leadership success in the oil and gas sector. Cheryl has worked in a variety of corporate cultures and organizational models with strategic agility, has effectively managed international engineering projects with multiple stakeholders, led diverse sales teams and created marketing strategies to deliver financial results.

As Managing Director of the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation, Cheryl developed a network of schools across BC with innovative programs that motivate and inspire high school students to pursue careers in STEM. Cheryl is a certified facilitator and created the “Wild About Science” Odyssey Symposium for STEM educators in BC. She has delivered a variety of workshops across Canada, including SCWIST Diversity by Design workshops at UBC, SFU, BCIT, TRU, UNBC, QUEST and various industry events. As a WinSETT Facilitator, Cheryl has delivered seminars on Leading Change, Implicit Bias, and the Leadership Series in Alberta and BC.

Cheryl led the SCWIST MakePossible mentoring project to advance women in STEM and is now leading the “Make DIVERSITY Possible” project — working with STEM companies to create diversity tools and build inclusive workplace cultures that embrace and advance a diverse workforce ( Cheryl is passionate about connecting and collaborating with others to create solutions, with a strong focus on continuous improvement and the belief that diversity drives innovation!

Contact ckristiansen[at]scwist[dot]ca

Ashley van der Pouw Kraan, ms infinity Program Coordinator

Ashley van der Pouw Kraan was born and raised in Pitt Meadows, and currently resides in Vancouver. She has always been interested in all things science, with earth sciences holding a special place in her heart. She has spent the past five years working in a variety of roles at Science World, an informal science education centre, most recently as the BC Green Games Program Specialist. When not at her desk, she can often be found beekeeping, reading, or cycling around the city. She is thrilled to join the SCWIST team as the ms infinity Program Coordinator. Contact msinfinity[at]scwist[dot]ca

Lynn Westcott, ms infinity Northern BC Coordinator

Lynn is an entomologist living in beautiful northwest BC. Lynn operates an environmental consultancy and has lived and worked throughout northern BC, northern Alberta, and the West Kootenay region. Lynn has delighted in providing informal science and environmental education outreach activities in each community that she has called home. Lynn is a self-professed insect advocate and enjoys sharing her fascination with these “little creatures that run the world” — and a love of all things scientific — with children and adults alike. Lynn is very happy to be a recent addition to the SCWIST team, joining as Northern BC Outreach Coordinator. Contact outreachBC[at]scwist[dot]ca

Akanksha Chudgar

Akanksha completed her undergraduate degree in Economics in India and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in environmental studies from UNBC in Prince George. She has worked with education in various schools in India as well as North America. She is interested in the behavior of human beings –
their interaction with each other as well as the natural environment. The aspect that involves changing people’s interaction with nature (and each other) for the better interests her. She believes this can be done through communication, by considering people’s needs and by giving them more information about their impact on nature.

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