Meet our team

Board Members

  • Christin Wiedemann, PhD President
  • Zhila Pirmoradi, PhD Vice President
  • Louise Wilkinson, BSc Secretary
  • Kelly Marciniw, CHRP, MBA Treasurer
  • Danniele Livengood, BSc Director
  • Jennifer McQueen, PhD Director
  • Marcia MacDonald, PhD Director
  • Paromita Raha, PhD Director
  • Samaneh Khakshour, PhD Director
  • Vladimirka Pereula, BSc, PMP Director


  • Communications
  • Events
  • Grants
  • IWIS
  • Membership
  • ms infinity
  • Strategic Development


  • Andrea Jonker, SCWIST Administrator
  • Louise Beaton, SCWIST Bookkeeper
  • Samsara Marriott, ms infinity Program Coordinator
  • Cheryl Kristiansen, Make Possible Project Coordinator
  • Flo Devellennes, Make Possible Website Developer


2016-2017 Board of Directors

Christin Wiedemann

Christin Wiedemann, PhD


Christin has been a member of PQA’s executive management team since 2012, and spearhead the company’s work around strategic goals, business development and growth. Her strengths are around public outreach and using social media to market ideas, initiatives and events. Previous she has been a member of AddQ Consulting’s steering committee (2010-2011), public liaison for the Swedish Polar secretariat and the Swedish Research council (2002-2007), voting member of the Faculty of Natural Sciences Council at Stockholm University (2004-2006) and the chairman of the Physics Department’s Ph.D. council at Stockholm University(2004-2005). During her graduate studies at Stockholm University she was also engaged in the Nordic Network for Women in Physics.

Having studied and worked in primarily male-dominated environments, she is aware of the importance of female role models, and how hard they can be to find. Christin wants to be a positive role model in general, but in particular for women.

After moving to Canada and Vancouver in 2011, Christin was looking for opportunities to engage with organizations working to promote women in science and technology. She soon found SCWIST and started attending events, and joined the Make Possible network as an active mentor. Christin is also a member of Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT) and Women in Communications and Technology (WCT).




Louise Wilkinson, BSc


Louise has over 15 years experience using her passion for quality assurance in a variety of industries from polymers to pharma, health supplementation, animal feed and cosmetics but specializing in analytical chemistry applications. She holds a BSc (hons) in Applied Chemistry, is IRCA lead auditor trained and is an MBA candidate at the Beedie School of Business.

Her professional experience includes over 8 years of leadership within an external analysis service start-up, gaining experience in laboratory and operations management, project management, budget planning, event management, business development, marketing, recruitment and regulatory affairs. She has demonstrated excellent organisational and time management skills in highly regulated industries, and enjoys using her skills to train, mentor and support others.

Contact: secretary[at]scwist[dot]ca


Kelly Marciniw, CHRP, MBA


Kelly is the principal consultant at BrightGo Solutions, a business consultancy focused on people, processes and projects for cleantech. She graduated with her MBA from University of Toronto & St. Gallen University in global business and applied innovation and earned her CHRP with BC Human Resource Management Association. Kelly is SCWIST’s Treasurer and Director of Grants, ensuring the financial sustainability of the organization and the many programs supporting girls and women in STEM. 

Contact: director-finance[at]scwist[dot]ca


Danniele Livengood, BSc

Director, Make Possible

Danniele studied Chemistry and Earth & Ocean Sciences at UBC and is pursuing a career in sustainability. She enjoys discussing community sustainability efforts and circular economies. She is also the Secretary on the board of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) which this year afforded her the opportunity to travel to Ottawa and speak to a House of Commons Committee studying women in STEM fields. Danniele enjoys working with non-profit organizations and currently provides support to a handful of organizations in Vancouver.

Danniele first got involved with SCWIST during her undergraduate studies when she attended her first XX Evening full of networking with SCWIST’s Wonder Women. She is excited for her second year as the Secretary on the SCWIST Board of Directors.

When not working with non-profit organizations or at her day job, she can often be found in a ballet class, playing video games, or sampling local beers.



 Marcia MacDonald_headshot

Marcia MacDonald, PhD

Director, Strategic Development

Marcia’s scientific career includes 20 years of experience in industry, non-profit, and academic settings. She currently works as Director, Research Programs at Genome BC, where she oversees the research portfolio. She worked previously at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals on development of gene silencing therapies for metabolic diseases.  Prior to Tekmira, Marcia was a Research Scientist at Xenon Pharmaceuticals, managing project teams that identified genes involved in CNS disease.  Her early applied research experience was with gene therapy vectors at NeuroVir Therapeutics. Marcia obtained her PhD in Genetics from The University of British Columbia, where she studied mechanisms of atherosclerosis and inflammation.

Over the last 8 years, SCWIST’s programming and community has had a profound influence on Marcia’s leadership style, career network, and commitment to advocating for women in science.  She found it inspiring working with Janny Marie Peterslund and the other passionate members of the SCWIST Strategic Development Committee over the last year. Marcia looks forward to forging closer connections with the “wonder women” of the Board to advocate for policies that support women in STEM and enable the scientific community to reflect the full demographic spectrum of society.




Vladimirka Pereula, BSc, PMP

Director, Membership

Vladimirka has been contributing to the success of various projects for over 15 years in different capacities. She has a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, PMP Certification, UBC Project Management Certification, Business Analysis Certification in progress. Projects that she has worked on were in manufacturing, software development, education, healthcare, data conversion, and in organizing/executing events & conferences. Vladimirka’s professional experience include areas of project management, project coordination, business analysis, software application development, design, manufacturing, quality management, continuous improvement, processes implementation, change management.

She learned about SCWIST shortly after immigrating to Canada. Being trained as an engineer she could easily relate to the obstacles that SCWIST addresses while supporting young girls and women in STEM professions.

At SCWIST, she is Membership Director and excited about the opportunity to work on finding ways to connect with membership, increase membership benefits and SCWIST membership. Prior to this role she was Director of Events and played a pivotal role in organizing and executing SCWIST events. She is also actively involved with the SCWIST Strategic Development Committee.
Vladimirka also volunteer her time to few other organizations and most recently on a project for developing succession plan for non-profit organization with programs for pre-school and school childcare.




Jennifer McQueen, PhD

Director, Outreach

Jennifer completed her PhD in genetics at the University of British Columbia in 2012. Throughout her PhD she found many opportunities to engage with youth on the subject of science. These were fantastic experiences that altered her career path, landing Jennifer in her current role as program coordinator and instructor for the Future Science Leaders program at Science World. Within this role she oversees administration of this science enrichment program for teens, as well as supervising independent research projects of students. What sustains Jennifer in this role is seeing the impact of performing exploratory science and meeting scientists and mentors has on teens and their view of science. It is providing this opportunity to more young girls that has driven Jennifer to a position on the board.

As the Director of Outreach, Jennifer will continue to grow the well established SCWIST programs, such as MS Infinity. She is looking forward to finding new ways to expand the SCWIST programs into more communities and reach even more girls.

If you are looking for a way to share your passion about your career or your experiences getting to where you are, MS Infinity is always looking for new volunteers as mentors for young girls. If you would love to have some of those great experiences engaging youth in science MS infinity is also looking for volunteers to deliver workshops.

Contact: director-outreach[at]scwist[dot]ca


Paromita Raha, PhD

Director, Events

Paromita is interested in the field of early detection and treatment of diseases, in the areas where there are unmet needs. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry followed by a Masters degree in Biotechnology. Being an extremely curious and data-driven person she was naturally drawn to pursue a career in research. She obtained her Ph.D. from India in Structural Biology followed by a postdoctoral research stint at the University of California, San Francisco, where she worked on preclinical and clinical cancer research. She moved to Vancouver in 2015 and got introduced to SCWIST by a networking contact. She attended the SCWIST AGM in June and was very excited by its mission to promote, inspire and empower women and girls to pursue a career in science and technology. She was also impressed by the extremely friendly and welcoming attitude of the members and knew she wanted to be a part of it to contribute towards its goals in her own way. She started volunteering by being a part of the Make Possible group and when she found an opportunity to serve on the Board she took it up without hesitation. She took up the role of Events Director since she felt it would be a great way to connect with people, learn and continue to support and expand SCWIST’s goals. She is also an editor, reviewer, and educator, and involved with other non-profit organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society, CRY, and Asha for Education. In the past, she has tutored under privileged children and is always looking for ways to support kids to meet their goals. When she takes a break from work she enjoys singing, cooking, traveling and meeting new people.    

Contact: director-events[at]scwist[dot]ca


Zhila Pirmoradi,PhD,CSSGB

Vice President, Director, IWIS

Zhila has B.Sc. and Industrial Engineering and PhD of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, where her research was focused on design optimization for Green transportation technology or Electric Vehicles. She is now with the City of Vancouver, in charge of processes and data analysis to discover bottlenecks and potential business areas for efficiency improvement. Her passion is to identify the practical solutions that can help organizations achieve improved service times, reduced costs, and smoother processes, as well as expansion of this picture toward strategic planning and development of the businesses.
Outside the workplace, Zhila has been enthusiastically active toward contributing to empowerment of women in STEM, and is Director of the Immigrating Women in Science (IWIS) Program of SCWIST since 2014. She also has been a member of the SCWIST Strategic Development Committee since 2015, and was assigned as the SCWIST Vice President since June 2016.
Zhila pursues other voluntary activities with associations related to her profession such as the American Society for Quality (ASQ). Beyond her social and professional involvements, Zhila is a bakery and pastry lover, thinking of the excitement of being pastry chef. Along with her family, she has also been co-organizing an active socializing Meetup in greater Vancouver since 2013.

Contact: director-iwis[at]scwist[dot]ca


Samaneh Khakshour, PhD

Director, Communications

Samaneh has received her B.Sc. degree from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran, in electrical engineering, and the M.Sc. from the Khajenasir Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, in biomedical engineering, in 2007, and 2009, respectively. received her Ph.D. degree in the school of mechatronic systems engineering, Simon Fraser University in June 2016. She is currently a Research Assistant in Simon Fraser University. Her current research interests include biomechatronics and mechanical feature characterization of cancerous cells.





Fariba Pacheleh, BSc, MSAT, PMP

Past President, Advisory Council

Fariba is a passionate leader and strategic thinker with over 25 years’ combined industry and advisory services experience, in corporate management roles as well as non-profit boards. As a skilled, business-focused, and multi-cultural leader in Information Technology, she has a consistent track record in building the best practices and processes for programs, projects , and cross-functional teams to deliver strategic initiatives and tactical business solutions.

She started her career after graduating in Computer Science and Engineering and has worked in technical and leadership positions at international levels with diverse teams and industries such as: Medical and Manufacturing (Siemens AG – Germany/Iran), Ministry of High Education (Iran), Software and Hi-Tech industry (Pivotal Corporation – Canada), Education (CGA – Canada), Manufacturing/ Mining (Finning International – Canada/South America), and Utilities and Consultancy (CopperLeaf and Fujitsu Canada). Fariba has honed her passion for continuous improvement as an advisor and employee to organizations engaged in strategic planning and transformation, business model design, operating model and organization design, and change management.

Fariba has completed her term as President of SCWIST (Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology), a non-profit association that promotes, encourages and empowers women and girls in science, engineering and technology ( and currently acts in Advisory Council and Past President role. She joined SCWIST in 2013 as the Director of Strategic
Fariba Pacheleh B.Sc., MSAT, PMP®
Development and was selected as President in 2014. In her role as President, she was able to successfully deliver the 3 years government funding project for the “Status of Women” and build partnerships with many Canadian organizations. “MakePossible” mentorship program has enabled the organization to break many silos and connect professionals not only at provincial level, but also at national and international levels. Fariba led a group of highly educated board of directors and staff at SCWIST succeeding in all aspects of the organizational proficiency and support SCWIST major programs such as IWIS (Immigrant Women In Science) and ‘ms Infinity’ which is an outreach and mentorship program for young girls to inspire them to study and consider a future in science. ! In 2007 Fariba joined a group of engineers and founded IEBCA (Iranian Engineers of BC Association), a non-profit, non-religious, non-political, independent organization which serves engineers with an Iranian background working or residing in British Columbia, Canada.” She served as Board Director and CoChair between 2007- 2010.

Contact: faribap[at]gmail[dot]com





SCWIST is an organisation that can only run with the help of our amazing and dedicated volunteers. Are you interested in becoming one of them? Our volunteer base is formed of seven dedicated committees for you to choose from:



‘We get involved with creating promotional material, managing our website and updating everyone on SCWIST’s progress. We love spreading the SCWIST message with visual and innovative material.’



‘SCWIST is known for its fun and informative events – they’re where connections are made and ideas are formed. We help make these happen by organising, promoting and running them.’




‘Our committee lives for one thing… to search out and secure grants to increase the capabilities of SCWIST and to ensure its longevity. Our research skills and proposal writing abilities have been fine-tuned towards this over the years.’

ms infinity


‘Like ms infinity itself, our roles as volunteers are varied and dynamic: we’re all working towards drawing more young women into science. We get involved with everything from dreaming up new activities to working directly with students.’



‘When it comes to fully integrating immigrating women into science in Canada, there’s a lot of work to be done. We organise events and workshops that help develop skills and knowledge and personal support networks to help women break into the Canadian workplace.’




ms infinity Program Coordinator

ms infinity Aboriginal Youth, Science Outreach Facilitator

ms infinity Northern BC Coordinator

Samsara Marriott

Samsara Marriott spent many years as a high school science teacher in both traditional and experiential education settings. She has engaged young people in science against the backdrops of ice, hurricanes, jungles and tall ships on 6 continents. Sam recently made the transition to informal science education and is currently also Science World’s Youth Program Specialist.

Contact Sam

Tatyana Daniels

Tatyana Daniels is from the Gitxsan First Nation and grew up in the rural community of Gitanmaax in northwestern British Columbia. She has spent her entire life fascinated by all things science. She had studied microbiology for three years before realizing that her passion was to improve Aboriginal health through diet and nutrition. She has experience with informal education through the organization of an Aboriginal-focused Science Camp for youth in the southern interior of BC. It is one of her goals to promote, engage, and encourage more Aboriginal youth to pursue STEM careers.

 Contact Tatyana

Lynn Westcott

Lynn is an entomologist living in beautiful northwest BC.  Lynn operates an environmental consultancy and has lived and worked throughout northern BC, northern Alberta, and the West Kootenay region. Lynn has delighted in providing informal science and environmental education outreach activities in each community that she has called home. Lynn is a self-professed insect advocate and enjoys sharing her fascination with these “little creatures that run the world” – and a love of all things scientific – with children and adults alike. Lynn is very happy to be a recent addition to the SCWIST team, joining as Northern BC Outreach Coordinator.

 Contact Lynn

Make Possible Project CoordinatorCheryl Kristiansen Photo

Cheryl Kristiansen

Cheryl Kristiansen brings diverse expertise in project management, engineering innovation and leading transformative change in STEM.  She has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, hands-on engineering experience in the alternate fuels technology sector and senior leadership experience in the oil and gas sector.  As Managing Director of the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation, Cheryl developed an effective network of Odyssey supported schools across BC with innovative programs that motivate and inspire high school students to pursue careers in STEM. This goal was accomplished by empowering educators with resources, leadership and networking opportunities to make transformative changes inside and outside of the classroom.Cheryl will be leveraging her experience and unique SCWIST programs like IWIS – Immigrating Women in Science and Technology – and the MS Infinity Program – to lead the new SCWIST Women in Technology Project funded by the Government of Canada’s Status of Women Initiative.   The SCWIST Mentoring Stream will provide mentoring support, networking connections, professional development and leadership opportunities to help women reach their full potential in the technology sector and all STEM fields.  This project is well aligned with SCWIST goals to promote, encourage and empower women and girls in science, engineering and technology.  Cheryl will work closely with the project team to build on successful SCWIST networks and programs, benchmark other mentoring systems and collaborate with key industry partners to deliver an innovative and effective mentoring model.
Contact Cheryl