Just when we thought another online conference might turn us into the mind blown emoji…Quantum Leaps surprised us all! In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, KAST was thrilled to hold Quantum Leaps: Girls in STEAM and Leadership Conference, an online event that gave us ALL the feels.

GLOWS Program Manager, Tanya Malcom and KAST Community Engagement Coordinator, Laura Vaché, were determined to host an online conference that truly engaged Kootenay girls in grades 8-12.

In addition to the 12 incredible female professionals who volunteered their time to put together presentations aimed to inspire and encourage girls to pursue STEAM education and career paths, there was something really special about the platform the GLOWS team chose to deliver Quantum Leaps on.

“We found the platform inside our Kootenay Tech & Knowledge Workers Slack Channel, when one of our members posted about it as a cool alternative to Zoom calls, said Tanya Malcolm. “We bookmarked it with Quantum Leaps in mind, but didn’t discover how unique it really was until Laura started to research the potential to try something new!”

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive! With most of the comments referencing the learning outcomes from our diverse range of speakers and topics, we did notice quite a few comments about enjoying the platform, and how it felt close to being there in person.

“I was not sure what to expect since it was another virtual event, but I actually really enjoyed the GatherTown platform!” said Emma LeCouffe, attendee. “I enjoyed being able to choose the workshops that I attended, and I also enjoyed the length of each workshop! They weren’t too long or too short and kept me engaged throughout the conference.”

Girls were introduced to presentations about:

  • How Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaping the future of work
  • How engineers solve problems
  • How studying climate change creates opportunities
  • Why rocks matter
  • How a South African biologist ended up in Cranbrook, BC 
  • And so much more!  

With plenty of opportunities for connection and questions  – Quantum Leaps: Girls in STEAM & Leadership Conference served its purpose  – to bring together girls interested in STEAM on International Women’s Day and help close the gender gap in STEAM by encouraging them to pursue these fields.

Quantum Leaps would not have been possible without all of our amazing sponsors:
Mercer Clegar, Teck Trail Operations, Advancing Women in Engineering & Technology, APPLIED SCIENCE TECHNOLOGISTS & TECHNICIANS OF BC, Chinook Scaffold Systems, Greater Trail Community Skills Centre Society, Columbia Basin Trust, Fortis BC, Gather and Birr. Lastly, big thanks to our GLOWS program funder, the National Science & Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Although we hope we won’t be delivering the 2022 conference under the restrictions of a global pandemic, you can bet the GLOWS team will figure out a way to offer a virtual and innovative space if we can’t meet in person.

We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Nous remercions le Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada (CRSNG) de son soutien.