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Chairholder Profile

Lesley Shannon

Lesley Shannon

School of Engineering Science
Simon Fraser University

Chair Title

NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (British Columbia and Yukon)

Chair Program

Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Program


Chairholder since 2015


The primary focus of the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (British Columbia and Yukon) is to promote science and to engage students, industry, and the community to increase the awareness and participation of women and other under-represented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The goal is to empower them to pursue science and engineering as pathways to exciting careers. A particular emphasis will be placed on increasing enrollment of women in the applied sciences (computing and engineering), fields that traditionally do not attract many women. Specifically, we are focusing on the following elements:

  • Awareness: The aim is to change the perception of STEM disciplines by providing more information about STEM to youth, parents and teachers. The chairholder will engage students through online media and by working with Science Fair Foundation of B.C., the Yukon/Stikine Regional Science Fair, and the B.C. Science Teachers Association to promote and create science- and math-related activities.
  • Recruitment: The aim is to increase the enrollment of women in undergraduate and graduate programs in science and engineering in all Canadian universities and colleges.
  • Retention: By conducting an investigation to identify the key challenges to increasing the number of women in leadership roles, the chairholder will work to promote the regional and national impact of Canadian women in science and engineering using websites, social media, news articles and other online methods. She will also partner with the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) Make Possible project (funded by Status of Women Canada) to develop resources, tools, and best practices for women to improve their leadership skills and abilities in order to be promoted to senior positions within STEM fields.
  • Networking: The chairholder will create strong community and industry partnerships focused on increasing gender diversity. The chairholder will collaborate with Aboriginal communities to encourage and support the promotion STEM disciplines and programs. To improve recruitment into post-secondary science and engineering programs, the chairholder will collaborate with the Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science, and Technology (WWEST) Community Partners, including:
    • The City of Surrey Innovation Boulevard,
    • The Division for the Advancement of Women in Engineering and Geoscience (DAWEG),
    • The Society of Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST), and
    • Yukon College’s Science Adventures.

Dr. Lesley Shannon is an Associate Professor in the School of Science and Engineering at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Dr. Shannon studies computer systems design. She works in a rapidly growing field that combines custom computing hardware and software to design and implement application-specific computer systems for applications in a wide range of areas including robotics, machine learning, aerospace and biomedical systems, multimedia applications, and cloud computing. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in the area of Computer Engineering; she received the 2014 APEGBC Teaching Award of Excellence in recognition of her classroom and out-of-class mentoring activities and her contributions in leading a redesign of the School’s undergraduate curriculum at SFU. Dr. Shannon has long been an advocate of increasing the diversity of students and workers in science- and engineering-related fields and was instrumental in developing programs to support a successful transition from high school into university.


  • Orbital Technologies Inc.

Contact Information

School of Engineering Science
Simon Fraser University


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