QAtCanSTEM Colloquium

The QAtCanSTEM Colloquium inaugural event is scheduled for Friday evening January 17th and Saturday (all day) January 18th, 2020 at Dalhousie University in the New Collaborative Health Education Building on Carlton Campus.

Registration is now open! and will remain open until Monday, January 13th. Abstract submission is now closed. However, we will consider late abstracts if they are submitted to us at

Register and Submit Abstracts Here

This event is open to all, will run like any other STEM conference (Keynote speakers, oral presentations, a poster presentation and mixer), and will focus the voices of the LGBTQ+ community within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics within Atlantic Canada.

Student Attendance/Travel Funding
    If you require travel assistance to the QAtCanSTEM Colloquium please follow the instructions below to submit a travel assistance application. The award amount will be $500 to assist in travel to Halifax and room/board for the event, however if you require more than $500 please make this known on the form. Our final fundraising values are uncertain, and if we are able we will do our best to accomodate all reasonable requests. To submit an application:
    1. Fill out the form found here
    2. Send a letter of request to This letter should outline who you are, how much funding you have already received to attend the QAtCanSTEM Colloquium, and how much you would require. If you have any questions about this process, please contact us at
Halifax Accomodations
Accessbility Options Available at Venue:
    The Collaborative Health Education Building is Rick Hansen Foundation certified and is power wheelchair accessible. American Sign Language interpretors will be made available upon request. Any other accessibility requests necessary can be made known during registration. We will provide all requests to the best of our abilities.

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Alexander Bond, Senior Curator in Charge of Birds, Natural History Museum

Hidden Diversity in Science: Queer in STEM

Abstract: The experiences of LGBTQ+ people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are not always positive, and the result of a combination of societal influences, and discipline-specific biases. Growing up in New Brunswick, I saw my professional and personal identities as separate, and it has only been recently when I’ve been able to reconcile these two aspects. This has been in large part thanks to organizations like LGBTQ+ STEM, and the community around it in the UK. I will give a brief history, both personally and of LGBTQ+ rights in the UK, and discuss the parallels between how we perpetuate, perceive, and experience harm as a community, and our research on marine plastic pollution as an example of queering science.

Biography: Dr Alex Bond (he/him) is the Senior Curator in Charge of Birds at the Natural History Museum, and an Adjunct Researcher at the University of Tasmania, where he studies conservation biology of seabirds and islands, particularly plastic pollution and other contaminants. He grew up in Nova Scotia, Labrador, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland before moving to the UK in 2014 with his husband Jeremy. For the last 5 years, he has helped run LGBTQ+ STEM, an organization for the promotion of LGBTQ+ workers, researchers, and students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, including through the annual LGBTQ+ STEMinar, a one-day research symposium that now attracts hundreds of attendees.

Dr. Nola Etkin, Interim Dean of Science, University of Prince Edward Island

A Queer Activist in the Academy: My Journey as an Out Lesbian Student and Faculty Member

Abstract: While there are decades of data and discussions surrounding women and other under-represented groups in science and engineering, it is only very recently that the conversation has been broadened to focus on the experiences of those among us who are not cis-gender and heterosexual – those whose voices have been silenced by fear and stigma, and the perception that our identities are “personal” and have no relevance to our science, and no place in our classrooms.

In this presentation I will share my experiences as an out, lesbian PhD student and faculty member, navigating the pathway to and through an academic career. My story will show how, for me, the personal is not only political, it is so entwined with the professional that I cannot tell the story of my journey as a student and an academic without telling the story of my personal journey and of my activist self. I will share how I was able to bring my activism into my academic life, and in the process change the entire direction of my career.

Biography: Dr. Nola Etkin is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Prince Edward Island, where she has taught Organic Chemistry and conducted research in Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis since 1997. She served for six years as Chair of the Department of Chemistry, and in 2019 she was appointed interim Dean of Science at UPEI. Throughout her career, Nola has been a leader and an equity activist, both within academia and in her community. Her involvement in Equity work began as a PhD student at the University of Alberta where she was involved in the local Women in Science and Engineering group and co-chaired the campus GLBTQ group. In the late 1990's she was part of a small group that lobbied the PEI government for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act, and was a founding co-chair of Abegweit Rainbow Collective, which was formed to provide support and advocacy to PEI’s 2SLGBTQ community. She is currently Chair of the Board of PEERS Alliance (formerly AIDS PEI) and serves on the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) Working Group on Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, and the CSC Board as Director of Student Engagement. In 2016 Nola edited the book “Making Chemistry Inclusive: Proceedings of the CSC Symposium on Equity and Diversity in Chemistry.”

QAtCanSTEM Colloquium Conference Schedule:

Collaborative Health Education Building, 5793 University Ave, Halifax, NS, Room 170

Download a PDF Copy Here

Day 1 - January 17th:

6:00 - 7:00pm: Registration/Check-In Opens

7:00 - 8:00pm: Hidden Diversity in Science: Queer in STEM - Dr. Alex Bond, Natural History Museum (UK)

8:00 - 9:00pm: Opening Mixer - Sponsored by the Dalhousie Science Society

Day 2 - January 18th:

8:30 - 9:00am: Registration/Check-in Opens

9:00 - 9:30am: Conference Opening

9:30 - 10:30am: A Queer Activist in the Academy: My Journay as an Out Lesbian Student and Faculty Member - Dr. Nola Etkin, Interim Dean of Science, UPEI

10:30 - 11:00am: Break

11:00-11:20am: The influence of hydrofluoric acid etching process on the photocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction using mesoporous silicon nanoparticles - Sarah Martell, Dalhousie University

11:20 - 11:40am: Simultaneous Quantification of Fe and Gd contrast agents using MR Fingerprinting - Anna Marriott, Dalhousie University.

11:40 - 12:00pm: Computational Insights Into The Biocatalytic Formation of S-X (X=S, N, O) Bonds - Dr. James Gauld, University of Windsor

12:00 - 1:00pm: Lunch

12:30 - 1:00pm: Colloquium Strategy Planning Meeting, Room TBD

1:00 - 2:00pm: 2SLGBTQ+++ in STEM: Experiences and Mitigations: A Panel Discussion

2:00 - 2:20pm: The Postnatal Healthcare Experiences of Resettled Syrian Refugees in Nova Scotia: Barriers, Facilitators, and Need for Services - Emma Cameron, Dalhousie University

2:20 - 2:40pm: LGBTQ+ Health: Eliminating barriers to care and promoting advocacy in the healthcare system - Kels Smith, University of Prince Edward Island

2:40 - 3:00pm: Examining the properties of late-spring and summer fogs in Halifax - Joelle Dionne, Dalhousie University

3:00 - 3:30pm: Break

3:30 - 3:50pm: The dear enemy phenomenon in red squirrels - Jack Hendrix, Memorial University

3:50 - 4:10pm: The emission of electromagnetic radiation from the early stages of relativistic heavy-ion collisions - Jessica Churchill, McGill University

4:10 - 4:30pm: To flee or to forage: predation risk, food quality and snowshoe hare space use - Isabella C Richmond, Memorial University

4:30 - 5:00pm: Poster Lightning Talks and Closing Statements

5:00 - 6:00pm: Poster Session and Snacks

6:00 - 8:00pm: Networking and Closing Mixer - Location TBD

A note from Science Atlantic: Science Atlantic is pleased to support the first Atlantic QAtCanSTEM conference by providing the use of our registration and abstract submission system for the event. You can view Science Atlantic’s privacy policy here. All other conference policies are those of QAtCanSTEM.

For more information on how the information collected for Abstract and Registration will be used, please visit Science Atlantic’s Privacy Policy Here. Information collected will only be seen by the organizing committee and staff at Science Atlantic. By submitting an abstract, the submitter agrees to allow us to share the abstract title, author list, abstract, and your name and affiliation via an abstract book, conference program, and social media. If there are any questions, comments, or concern’s please contact

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