In May of 1990, conferences were held in Campbell River, Kamloops, Fort St. John, and Terrace, in B.C., and in Whitehorse, Yukon. These locations vary in population from about 10,000 in Terrace to over 60,000 in Kamloops, and all have resource-based economies (mainly lumbering, mining, and ranching). The project will be repeated in 1991, with conferences in Nanaimo, Kelowna, Prince George, Castlegar and Cranbrook, under the direction of Mary Vickers of SCWIST and under the new name Ms Infinity. Whitehorse and Kamloops intend to repeat the project on their own this year, and we have also received enquiries from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.

An unexpected benefit has been the feeling of community development among women in the sciences all around the province.

The Ms Infinity conferences closely follow the format established at SFU. Three women speakers are sent from Vancouver to each community, and other speakers and workshop leaders are recruited locally. The support has been strong, with community colleges and school districts supplying facilities and transportation and with plenty of women to volunteer even in the smallest localities. Last year's speakers included geologists, mining engineers, pharmacists, college instructors and electronics technicians. An unexpected benefit of this outreach has been the feeling of community development among women in the sciences all around the province. Girls who have met no scientists and few professionals have discovered not only that women work in mathematics and science but that there are women working in science in their own communities.

Kathy Heinrich, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at SFU and a member of the Women Do Math organizing committee, reports that at an awards ceremony at the University of B.C. earlier this year, the mother of one of the award winners approached her. She recounted that the Women Do Math conference of 1987 had been a turning point in her daughter's life. We hope to hear more such stories of success as other students who attended in 1987, and since then, make their progress thorough the educational system.

Lin Szpitun is an instructor in the Mathematics department of Douglas College in New Westminster and a Ph. D. candidate in the department of Mathematics and Statistics at Simon Fraser University. She is co-chair of the Women Do Math organizing committee, a member of the Ms Infinity organizing committee, and a member, of SCWIST.

Information about Women Do Math can be obtained from: Women Do Math, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6. Information, about Ms Infinity can be obtained from: Ms Infinity, Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology, P.O. Box 2184, Vancouver, B.C. V6B3V7.

A Ms. Infinity Conference: Notes North of 60


Our second Ms. Infinity conference just wrapped up in Whitehorse, Yukon, and the reviews are wonderful. Over 120 women were involved, with a full third of students , coming to Whitehorse from rural communities.

Developing a conference of this nature in a small community, located prohibitive distances from "expert" resources, has been a unique experience. The women of science were out there, but how to find them was itself a challenge. Going to universities and reviewing lists of science professors was not an option. Word of mouth, tracking, guessing, and networking uncovered an entomologist in Contract Administration for the government, a nuclear physicist in Northwester's upper management, and an engineer in Transport and Communication Services.

They came, were interesting, and committed to encouraging young women to pursue studies they know are exciting and fulfilling. Twenty-eight women were involved, developing and delivering some seventeen workshops. A physician brought in ultra-sound technology, a pregnant woman, and her expertise in genetics; a cartographer demonstrated high tech digitized satellite imagery to produce maps identifying the habitat of Yukon wildlife; a psychologist lead a group of students through a social science experiment; a veterinarian brought in her dogs and discussed care of sled dogs on the Yukon Quest; and an environmental biologist led participants through an examination of Yukon River water (particularly relevant to this community since an Environment Act and the requirements for adequate sewage treatment are under review).

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