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Words of wisdom abound at Women in Science conference

They came, they listened, they left inspired.

Hundreds of high school students from the Ottawa and Cornwall areas recently attended OPG’s first Women in Science conference on March 6 and 7 at the NAV Centre in Cornwall, where OPG operates the R.H. Saunders Generating Station.

High school students attend OPG's first Women in Science conference in Cornwall.
High school students attend OPG's first Women in Science conference in Cornwall.

Sponsored and hosted by OPG, and in partnership with many community groups, the inaugural conference featured inspiring talks and sessions from OPG employees and remarkable women leading professional careers in science within the community.

Almost 280 female Grade 9 and 10 students, aged 14 to 15, from local area high schools listened to an inspiring opening video message from Her Excellency, the Right Honorable Governor General Julie Payette, and talks from keynote speakers Gina Cody and Kelly Bergeron.

They also took part in breakout sessions on environmental science, health science, engineering and trades hosted by speakers from community partners like the Cornwall Community Hospital, St. Lawrence College, the River Institute and the Mohawk community.

Cody, who spoke on day one of the conference, became the first woman in Concordia University history to earn a PhD in building engineering in 1989. In 2018, Concordia University received a $15 million donation from Cody and renamed its School of Engineering and Computer Science after her, becoming the first university in Canada with an engineering faculty named after a women.

Bergeron, a creative digital entrepreneur who teaches Eastern Ontario youth about digital literacy, addressed the students on the second day of the conference.

“Perfection is not a great quality. Don’t try to be perfect. No one is perfect, and it will stop you from taking chances,” Cody told students. “Don’t take what you have for granted. Take your time, experiment and learn one step at a time. Then go build a better future. I dare you. I know you can do it, as I did.”

Women in Science Conference