Meet our team

Board Members

  • Christin Wiedemann, PhD President
  • Danniele Livengood, BSc Vice President & Director
  • Claire DeWeerdt, P.Eng., Secretary
  • Louise Wilkinson, BSc Director
  • Kelly Marciniw, CHRP, MBA Treasurer & Director
  • Jennifer McQueen, PhD Director
  • Marcia MacDonald, PhD Director
  • Zhila Pirmoradi, PhD Director
  • Andrea Hunter, MSc, CPA, CFF Director
  • Gina Lopez 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, 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. In 2015 christin joined the SCWIST Board as the Director of Communications, and in 2016 she took on the role of President. Christin is also a member of Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT) and Women in Communications and Technology (WCT).



Claire DeWeerdt, P. Eng.


Claire is a Professional Engineer registered with the APEGBC and an MBA Candidate. Currently she works as a Project Engineer on large Light Rail Transit (LRT) Projects in Canada for a Rail Control Systems division. Claire holds a bachelors degree from the University of British Columbia in Civil Engineering with an Environmental Option and is currently pursuing her MBA through the UBC Sauder School of Business.




Kelly Marciniw, CHRP, MBA

Treasurer & Director, Grants

Kelly is the principal consultant at BrightGo Solutions, a business consultancy that guides companies that are expanding into the Canadian market navigate the local business and employment laws and culture. She graduated with her MBA from University of Toronto & St. Gallen University in global business and applied innovation and earned her CPHR 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, BS.c.

Vice President

Director, Event

Danniele is the Manager of Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WWEST) at Simon Fraser University, a non-profit organization operating under the NSER Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (BC/Yukon Region). At WWEST she manages a team to engage industry, the community and students to increase the awareness and participation of women and other under-represented groups in STEM fields. Her educational background is in Chemistry and Environmental Science, with particular interest in sustainable innovations which support circular economies.
Danniele first got involved with SCWIST during her undergraduate studies at UBC when she heard about SCWIST’s Wonder Women Networking Evening. She has served on the board since 2014, previously holding positions as Secretary and Director of Make Possible. As a member of the board, Danniele has twice represented SCWIST when speaking to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
When not working with non-profit organizations, Danniele may be found in a ballet class, playing video games, or tending to her garden.



Marcia MacDonald, PhD

Director, Make Possible

Marcia’s scientific career includes 20 years of experience in industry, non-profit, and academic settings. She currently works as a consultant, providing strategic advice to develop research proposals for large interdisciplinary life science projects. She was recently Director, Research Programs at Genome BC, where she oversaw the research portfolio. She has also worked 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 10 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 was inspired by working with Janny Marie Peterslund and the other passionate members of the SCWIST Strategic Development Committee to volunteer to serve on SCWIST’s Board of Directors in 2015. Marcia looks forward to continuing to forge 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.



Louise Wilkinson, BSc., MBA

Director, Membership

Louise has over 15 years experience using her passion for quality assurance in a variety of industries from polymers to pharmaceutical, food and supplements, animal feed and cosmetics, specializing in analytical chemistry applications, testing and implementation of Quality Management Systems into small to medium-sized companies. She holds a BSc (hons) in Applied Chemistry, is IRCA lead auditor trained and has an MBA from Simon Fraser University.

Her professional experience includes over 8 years of leadership within an external analysis service laboratory start-up, gaining experience in laboratory and operations management, budget planning, business development, marketing, recruitment and regulatory affairs. She currently works as the Director, Quality Management of a Tech company focussed on helping laboratories improve their quality through EQA programs, and enjoys using her skills to train, mentor and support others.





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

 Andrea Hunter, MSc, CPA, CFF

Director, Strategic Development

Andrea graduated from UBC with a MSc and BSc (Honours), and is a Registered Professional Biologist with +10 years experience specializing in marine mammals. As her scientific career progressed, she became involved in business development and marketing to help employers secure international scientific consulting projects. Andrea pursued her interest in business by returning to the UBC Sauder School of Business to earn a Diploma in Accounting. After graduation, she worked for ‘Big 4’ accounting firms to gain experience in financial analysis, audit, and accounting. Andrea obtained her Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified in Financial Forensics, and Certified Fraud Examiner designations and now works as a Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis.

Andrea joined SCWIST roughly 10 years ago because she identified with SCWIST’s goal of promoting, encouraging, and empowering women and girls in science, engineering, and technology. At the time she joined, Andrea was in search of mentoring from the STEM community while she was building her career in science. Andrea has remained a member of SCWIST because she believes in supporting the next generation of STEM women and girls, providing opportunities to others, and giving back to those who supported her professional journey.

Andrea’s leadership and managerial skills, matched with her accounting acumen and scientific experience, make her ideal for a position on the SCWIST Board of Directors. Andrea has led community fundraising events for non-profit organizations, scientific working groups, and business development activities for past employers. She also has experience auditing non-profit organizations and understands the financial challenges that NPOs face.  Andrea is enthusiastic, optimistic, and enjoys collaboration. She has also learned to persevere and believes in empowering others to fulfill their dreams.

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

 Zhila Pirmoradi, PhD

Director, Communications

Zhila did her PhD in Mechatronic Systems Engineering at SFU, and is a consultant and business process analyst at Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) team at the City of Vancouver, where she probes City functional areas to identify potential causes of inefficiency and process pain points, and helps the internal business units with improvement of a wide variety of processes.

Zhila has been quite enthusiastic to contribute to women empowerment, and has been on the SCWIST board since 2014 as the Director of the Immigrating Women in Science (IWIS) Program, a member of the Strategic Development Committee since 2015, and the Vice President since June 2016.

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.



 Georgina Lopez Padilla, M.S.

Director, IWIS

Georgina is a Research Scientist with over 10 years of experience in the Biotechnology industry. She holds two Bachelor’s degree, in Microbiology and Molecular Biology. She also completed a Master’s degree in Applied Biosciences from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in business development, project management, and regulatory issues.

After graduation, she continued her professional career as a Research and Development Scientist for a startup company developing DNA-based Microarray Genotyping assays for applications in organ transplantation, disease risk analysis in HIV/AIDS, transfusion medicine, and Human Papilloma Virus typing.

Georgina relocated from Arizona to British Columbia in early 2017 where she started providing consulting services for companies in the biotech industry supporting grant writing and technical sales in an effort to expand their product lines and establish their market presence in Canada. Recently, she is also focusing her efforts in co-founding a Fortune Scientists Inc., a Real Estate Investment Company to match Canadian Investors with investment opportunities across the North American Markets.

In her spare time, she enjoys immersing herself in nature by hiking, biking, and taking long walks, never missing an opportunity to take the camera along and taking some landscape shots.





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 Indigenous  Outreach Coordinator

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 Indigenous health through diet and nutrition. She has experience with informal education through the organization of an Indigenous-focused Science Camp for youth in the southern interior of BC. It is one of her goals to promote, engage, and encourage more Indigenous 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