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Fem in STEM: Celebrating International Women in Science Day

Bridget Coyle-Asbil | April 26th, 2024


On March 13th, the S2BN Guelph Chapter was joined by three incredible women, Danyelle Quinn, PhD, MSc, Nina E. Weisser, PhD and Donna Janzen to celebrate international women in science day. These inspiring women shared their advice and experiences with attendees. 


Danyelle completed her MSc and PhD at the University of Guelph and is now a medical Director at MEDUCOM Health Inc. Also a Guelph alumni, Donna Works at Roche as a Director of Regulatory Affairs. Finally, Nina who completed her PhD at Guelph is the Director, Multispecific Antibody Therapeutics at Zymeworks Inc.




Pannel Discussion:


Was there a specific moment that got you interested in science? 


Donna - I am a naturally very curious person and always gravitated towards science during high school. Once I made the decision that science was what I was going to pursue, I knew I wanted to work in health care as I had many family members with illnesses in the past and saw the incredible work of their healthcare team. 


Was there a specific moment in grad school that helped you transition into industry? 


Nina - I attended an Antibody Engineering conference which showed me the practical application to the science I was doing in the lab. I got exposure in the field and attended many conferences. While attending, I networked and would email professors I had met which helped me secure my postdoc position. 


How has networking helped your career journey? 


Danyelle - Find yourself a sponsor who will talk highly of you and help you move forward in getting positions. This is what helped me gain my first position at MEDUCOM.

 

Donna - Networking allowed me to grow, learn about other positions and move up through the company. It isn’t just a one-time thing when meeting someone, networking could be a series of meetings, shadowing or volunteer opportunities in a company. You need to put time into these connections! 

 

How did you find the transitions from academia to industry? And did you do anything specific during your postdoc to help?


Nina - Luckily, the scientific focus of my Postdoc really matched the role I applied for and my experience fit well into the job description. I would encourage everyone when applying for positions to be prepared, tailor your CV to the job application and ALWAYS write the cover letter. The cover letter is where you can show your personality and help yourself stand out. You also do not need to meet every single aspect of the job requirement, don’t let that discourage you from applying. 

 

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance? 


Danyelle - I don’t really, but I’m working on it! I have been very lucky that the people I surround myself with are very understanding and don’t hold it against me. I have been focused on finding harmony, not just balance because if you are very focused on your career it may not be a 50/50 balance. At the same time, I have been learning to accommodate and have grown to appreciate a better balance in my life. 


Donna - I regret not focusing on having a better balance. Looking back I wish I could get that time back with my kids. I also put a lot of that burden on myself to be the best in my career and at home. Don’t beat yourself up!


What advice would you give your younger self? 


Danyelle - Don’t be your own barrier and don’t sweat the small stuff! Put yourself out there and share all of your ideas. 

 

Donna - Be an advocate for yourself and start with the assumption that you are capable. 

 

Nina - Speak up for yourself and push forward the ideas you’re passionate about. 



Closing Remarks: Last piece of advice


Danyelle - Go to lots of events like this one to learn as much as you can about what is out there. 

 

Donna - Be patient and things will work themselves out. It is important to focus on the things you like and to work on something you truly enjoy so that you care about what you are doing every day. 

 

Nina - You don’t have to always focus on progression early in your career. Take your time and don’t compare your journey to others. 



We hope this career spotlight provided great insight into the exciting world of entrepreneurship! For updates and news, be sure to subscribe to S2BN's mailing list or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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