Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science at IQC

Thursday, February 11, 2021

En français.

On February 11, the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and its partners worldwide will celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Each year we look at IQC’s role in what we at IQC are doing to inspire more girls and women to study and work in STEM and quantum information. And although the needle is moving, we still have a lot more work to do.

There are many organizations around the world — from large, international associations to grassroots community groups — working to provide support for diversity. At IQC we strive to educate and celebrate women and girls in science, mathematics and engineering. Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee is working to support equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives for a stronger community and to foster a healthy working environment for all.

Today, on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we’d like to take a moment and share some of the recent amazing research and discoveries our self-identified female researchers conduct on a daily basis. Here are just a few from 2020:

In June, we launched our Impact Report where we met Michele Piscitelli and learned about the tiny tools she helps make in the Quantum-Nano Fabrication and Characterization Facility that could be the next big thing in medical imaging. We sat down with Debbie Leung, a faculty member in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization, to discuss quantum communications and how advancements in the field will help keep our privacy safer in the future. PhD student Nigar Sultana showed us the work she’s doing to ensure that quantum satellites sent into space are able to self-heal and complete their tasks. And we met PhD student Kristine Boone, who juggles completing her studies with correcting quantum errors at a local startup.

Christine Muschik joined our researchers as part of CIFAR’s Quantum Information Program in August where she will develop new generators of quantum simulators that will advance fundamental particle interactions. In the fall, she was was honoured with a President’s Excellence in Research Award. Muschik, a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was recognized for receiving a Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

In September, we recognized Cindy Yang as the first ever recipient of the Raymond Laflamme and Janice Gregson Graduate Scholarship for Women in Quantum Information Science.

Research Associate Katanya Kuntz, who is the QEYSSat Science Team Coordinator for Canada’s first quantum satellite mission, gave a public lecture on quantum and space in November.

In December, Crystal Senko, a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Trapped Ion Quantum Computing. She leads the Trapped Ion Quantum Control lab, paving the way towards the realization of a trapped ion quantum computer.

And finally, this January, we sat down with Shohini Ghose, an IQC affiliate, for a fireside chat that covered her career, diversity in STEM and where she sees the future of quantum going.

We can’t wait to see what amazing discoveries happens at IQC in 2021. We hope you’ll join us, because we can’t do it alone. As Raymond Laflamme and Janice Gregson said, “Scientific discoveries are made when a wide variety of ideas and perspectives come together to think critically and investigate. We need to encourage all researchers to be curious, and to follow that curiosity.”

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