DT News interview: Defence Scientists for International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Video / February 10, 2021


(Shelley) Tomorrow marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and we’re joined today by two women leading the way at Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Valcartier, Caroline Turcotte and Sophie Ringuette.

Thank you so much for joining us today. To start, Caroline, can you tell me more about your work at DRDC Valcartier?

(C) Yes. I am a Defence scientist and a group leader. My job is to plan, direct and carry out research in order to find solutions to military problems. In particular, my research and development orientations are in the field of hyperspectral imaging, where we you use the energy reflected or emitted by materials to identify their composition.

(Shelley) And, Sophie, what does your work involve?

(Sophie) I am a Defence scientist and responsible for a group of five scientific and one technician. Our mandate is the multispectral signature characterization of treats, countermeasures and platforms for the Royal Canadian Airforce.

(Shelley) Why did you choose a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and defence?

(C) First, the field of STEM attracted me from a young age. I was curious to know how things worked, to understand the world around me. This is what led me to study engineering physics and then pursue a master's degree. Now, working as a scientist for the Department of National Defence, I must apply my knowledge and my creativity in solving concrete and unique problems, specific to the military domain. I have the opportunity to directly be involved in the application of the technology that I developed.

(Shelley) Sophie, you’ve been involved in encouraging women and girls to pursue a career in STEM. Why is this important to you?

(Sophie) There are a few reasons. First, because women are a minority in STEM, as I can see in my working environment. For some women, it's important to seek advice from colleagues having the same constraints and similar professional objectives. As such, I feel it's important to support my colleagues in the best way that I can as a woman for their professional development. At the same time, I feel it's our responsibility as scientists, especially women, to encourage young women and girls in seeing all the benefits of being part of the S&T (Science and Technology) community, all the recognition we can get from our peers, from the community, not just locally, but also internationally.

(Shelley) Thank you so much for joining us today.

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