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Student Highlights Halifax’s Women in Science


Emma Finlayson-Trick didn’t think of herself as a natural scientist when she was growing up, but a few “amazing individuals” in her life inspired her to find a passion for science. So, when she read about Soapbox Science on Twitter while studying microbiology and immunology at Dalhousie University, Emma recognized an opportunity to inspire other young women to see themselves as scientists.

Soapbox Science is a U.K.-based organization that promotes women in science through free public presentations. Emma reached out to the organizers and got approval to host an event promoting the wealth of female-led research happening in the Halifax area. Then, she applied for an NSERC Student Ambassadors grant, which provides support for students to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Emma got to work recruiting local researchers and had them go through Soapbox Science’s training, which helps scientists shape their research into a straight-forward, conversational presentation. She used her Student Ambassadors grant to help presenters buy props and produce stickers, banners and business cards to promote the event. She also promoted the event to local groups that encourage girls to explore science, like the Girl Guides of Canada and WISEAtlantic.

Soapbox Science Halifax was launched in 2018, with a follow-up event held in 2019. Each edition featured 12 women in science presenting their research and attracted more than 700 visitors, making the events a huge success.

Emma has since handed the reins of the Halifax event to another student, Alexa Wilson, who is organizing the 2020 edition. Now a student at The University of British Columbia, Emma has brought her passion to the west coast, where she is arranging Vancouver’s first-ever Soapbox Science scheduled for Spring 2020.