December 2019 OES Beacon

Women in Ocean Technology Panel at the Halifax WIE International Leadership Summit 2019

Ishtar Al-Tahir and Mae L. Seto

The Society supported a Women in Ocean Technology Panel as part of the Halifax 2019 Women in Engineering International Leadership Summit (WIE ILS 2019 Halifax), October 18-20, 2019. This was the first time a WIE ILS event was hosted in Halifax, Canada.  The Canadian Atlantic Chapter was a participant with Dr. Mae Seto, Chapter vice-chair, presenting a breakout session and sitting on the panel.  Attendees and speakers came from all over Canada and as far away as the United Kingdom.  The event attracted industry, research, STEM promotion, academia, government, business, entrepreneurial and humanitarian leaders.  The three Summit themes were: Leadership and Empowerment;  Entrepreneurship and Emerging Technologies; and Humanitarian Initiatives.

Multiple businesses in ocean tech and ocean engineering were present at the Summit.  As well, ocean tech and engineering researchers from universities, government, and start-ups were present.  This included the Ocean Frontiers Institute, Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair, Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), Gibbs and Cox Naval Architects and Marine Engineering, Dalhousie University Ocean Tech Research Chair, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Royal Canadian Navy.  The IEEE WIE ILS capitalized on this as ‘oceans’ was a leading topic on the second day.

The oceans-related breakout sessions and keynote touched on timely oceans topics that were addressed by recognized professionals in the respective areas.  To name a few:

Lunch and Keynote: An Ocean of Information:  Challenges and Opportunities of a Data-rich Seascape (A. Waite, Associate VP Research (Ocean), Dalhousie University, and Scientific Director, Ocean Frontier Institute)

Sink or swim:  shark conservation in Atlantic Canada (H. Bowby – Research Scientist, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans)

The Fate of Plastics in the Marine Environment:  An Incomplete Lifecycle (K. Beardy, M.Sc. Candidate, University of New Brunswick)

From ocean tech to med tech – a journey from a technology start-up perspective (F. Broeil, CEO Motryx)

Marine Robots:  A Manifestation of Industry 4.0 in the Ocean (M.L. Seto, Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering and the Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair, Dalhousie University)

Working toward impactful climate change mitigation and adaptation in the marine sector (S. Molloy, President, Glas Ocean Electric)

There were many opportunities to learn from, and network with, experts in oceans through these keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and especially the Women in Ocean Technology panel.  This panel spoke about their journeys and experiences through the marine and oceans sector.  They acted as mentors for the audience that day. There was discussion that revolved around topics like the panel members’ trainings, the experiences they learned the most from, their path into the ocean sector, and Canada’s role and contributions as a leader in oceans and oceans tech.

IEEE WIE ILS 2019 Halifax brought together professionals from all over and provided learning opportunities in current ocean engineering, research, operations and entrepreneurship.  The event was quite successful on all fronts.

IEEE WIE ILS Ocean Technology Panel (L to R: Dr. Anya Waite (Associate VP Research (Ocean), Dalhousie University, and Scientific Director, Ocean Frontier Institute; Dr. Mae Seto (Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, and the Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair, Dalhousie University; Maggie Nate (Survivability Engineer, Gibbs & Cox); LCdr Sarah Roberge (Sr. Staff Officer, MARLANT, Fleet Engineering Readiness); and Anna Naylor (Manager of Learning and Development, COVE, also panel moderator).