Shabnam Rostabirad – Initiative and Leadership

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Immigrating Women in Science (IWIS) is one of most popular and successful programs at SCWIST.  Much of the success is attributed to the commitment, dedication and passion of the volunteers who take initiative to develop, organize and run the program.  Volunteers on this committee not only spent many hours organizing events, creating newsletter and blogs, they also participating in IWIS and SCWIST-wide events to advocate, set an example and also support newcomers to Canada and also other women in science and technology.  IWIS has been instrumental in building a strong network and community for immigrant women as well as our members at large at SCWIST.  We would like to recognize the outstanding achievements of one particular IWIS volunteer, Shabnam Rostamirad, MSc as well as members of the IWIS team this month.

Shabnam Rostamirad’s bio:
Shabnam has been a long standing SCWIST member and part of IWIS Committee since 2008. We all know her by her very warm personality. She is great leader and team player. She has personally touched many in the organization by her ability to inspire and encourage others and to participate.

In addition to her work with SCWIST, she is a Scientific Coordinator at Stemccell Techonologies Inc (, a biotechnology company that develops specialty cell culture media, cell separation products and ancillary reagents for life science research. Shabnam is committed to research and public health both in her work with Stem cells and in her volunteering with SCWIST.

Shabnam of her own initiative sought out funding and sponsorship opportunities for SCWIST and IWIS by successfully securing a CIHR grant to organize multiple informative sessions to educate general public was just one more confirmation of her commitment. This enabled IWIS to create Café Scientifique events on behalf of SCWIST. This has provided opportunities for women in IWIS and SCWIST to be actively engaged in public forums to discuss relevant public health issues.

In addition to being an incredibly talented and successful woman, Shabnam has recently also achieved another milestone in life. She has become the mother of a beautiful baby girl, Asha who we are certain will also be a future leader and future “SCWISTie”.

Shabnam is a true team player and IWIS team is an integral part of her success and we would like to thank her valuable contributions and time. Shabnam is truly a role model for all of us.

The achievements of IWIS could not have been made possible without the hard work and enthusiasm of the IWIS team members: Iran, Elizabeth, Lee Ling, Elba and Gordana.

From left to right: Laxmi, Elizabeth, Gordana, Kasia, Lee Ling, Iran and Elba.

We would like to further highlight some of the work of other IWIS volunteers who have made valuable contributions to our organization:

Mayu Ishida

Since 2009, Mayu has been volunteering for Immigrating Women in Science. She has helped organize career workshops and has provided information resources for female immigrants who strive to overcome barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields. She currently has been leading the development of an internal wiki board manual for SCWIST.

Her interests include the impact of advancing technology on scholarly communication and research collaboration.

Mayu Ishida earned a BSc and MSc in computer science from Simon Fraser University, and currently enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Studies program at the University of British Columbia

Elizabeth Velasque

Elizabeth has been volunteering for IWIS for over the year but she made a big impact with her positive attitude and limitless energy.

Before immigrating to Canada in 2011, she did extensive online research and found IWIS information resource package Mayu created of great help. Her recent immigrant success story is an inspiration for all. It is also a confirmation to IWIS volunteers they are doing a great job of helping new immigrant settle easier and faster. Elizabeth has also been featured in a news story about immigrant women and Mitacs.

Elizabeth is a project manager at SemiosBIO Technologies Inc and MBA, Management of Biotechnology Candidate at Simon Fraser University.


Lee Ling Yang

Lee Ling is passionate about science communication. She writes articles related to career development and events that connect scientists with the public. SCWIST is fortunate to have her for the IWIS communication coordinator and a grants writer.

Lee Ling Yang is a Master Student in the Cell and Developmental Biology Program at UBC. She studies the function of a gene, when mutated, causes blindness in humans. Before grad school, she received an honors B.Sc. degree in Cell Biology from UBC.

When she is not working, she can be found swimming, reading and doing yoga.


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