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Chairholder Profile

Tamara Franz-Odendaal

Tamara Franz-Odendaal

Department of Biology
Mount Saint Vincent University

Chair Title

NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (Atlantic)

Chair Program

Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Program


Chairholder since 2011


The goals of the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (Atlantic) are:

  • to establish an Atlantic network for women in science and engineering, particularly for high school girls;
  • to track young decision makers by analyzing the decision-making strategies used by girls while they grapple with their career decisions; and
  • to develop and run a series of science camps to encourage young girls to pursue careers in science and engineering.

This Chair program aims to provide high school girls with role models active in science and engineering fields, to enable these girls to “access” these role models through mentorship, webinars and workshops. Workshops for trainee science student teachers will establish contacts between researchers and engineers and provide these future teachers with additional tools to inspire girls to enter science and engineering careers. By working with our partners, Eastlink, Techsploration, the Nova Scotia Community College, and Mount Saint Vincent University’s Distance Learning and Continuing Education Department, delivery of webinars and focus groups across the region will be possible. Role model videos will be created in partnership with Firefly Digital Media Inc. and Techsploration, and summer camps will be run with assistance from Nikon Canada Inc. and other partners.

As a developmental biologist and a previous NSERC University Faculty Awardee, Tamara Franz-Odendaal, has established a vibrant growing research group at Mount Saint Vincent University. Originally from a small farming community in South Africa, she has braved the Canadian winters for nine years and has succeeded in balancing her research career as an associate professor with her family life. Her research program focusses on the comparative development of the vertebrate skeleton, with particular focus on the neural crest derived craniofacial skeleton. For more information on her research, visit

Mount Saint Vincent University is a leader in flexible education, applied research, and a personalized approach to learning. Established in 1873 as the first institution in Canada to offer higher education to women, the Mount continues to honour its roots today through initiatives that contribute to the advancement of women. The Mount is committed to providing the best university experience for all members of its community and to developing thoughtful, engaged citizens who make a positive impact on their world.


  • Eastlink
  • Techsploration Inc.
  • Firefly Digital Media Inc.
  • Nikon Canada Inc.
  • Girl Guides of Canada
  • Hypatia Association
  • Nova Scotia Community College

Contact Information

Department of Biology
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3M 2J6

Tel.: 902-457-6140
Fax: 902-457-6455

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