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We're here to help with anything from professional networking, skill development, scholarship opportunities, building relationships, and ultimately fostering the success of undergraduate and graduate women at the University of Victoria (and beyond). 

This webpage also acts to provide inspiration through featured women scientists at all levels. If there is a prof, a peer, or someone in the community that you want us to get in touch with, please reach out in our contact form.


Meet our Executive Team 



phd student / biology / President

As a 3rd-year Ph.D. candidate in the department of Biology, Chloe is investigating regenerative therapies for rare, genetic disease through gene editing in stem cells. When taking a break from cell culture, Chloe enjoys playing volleyball, cycling, and running.

UVic Women in Science supports female scientists during their pursuit of STEM-related careers. Chloe is delighted to be involved in engaging these individuals through workshops, guest speakers, social events and more.


tasha jarisz

phd student / chemistry / director of communications

Tasha is a 5th year PhD candidate in the chemistry department at UVic. Her research involves using nonlinear optical spectroscopy to study bacterial adhesion to surfaces. She is also enrolled in the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LATHE) Program at UVic to pursue her passion for teaching. Outside of teaching and research, Tasha enjoys playing volleyball, ballroom dancing, and travelling.


Tasha was eager to join UVic WIS in order to connect with fellow female scientists and help build a supportive community of women and men in STEM on campus.



phd student / NEUROSCIENCE / co-Director of events

Cristina is a 4th year PhD candidate in Neuroscience. Her research focuses on investigating the effects of repeat mild traumatic brain injury on learning and memory. Outside of school Cristina enjoys travelling, camping and hanging out with friends.

Cristina has been excited to be part of UVic Women in Science since the group was founded. She sees this group as a great tool to help both women and men to advocate for gender equality in STEM fields to ultimately increase the number and visibility of female role models.



MSC student / NEUROSCIENCE / co-Director of events

Erin is finishing the first year of her MSc in the Division of Medical Sciences. She is exploring the use of postnatal treatments to reduce the learning and memory deficits associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Outside the laboratory, Erin can be found reading, hiking, and attempting to pet as many dogs as possible.

She became interested in WiS because of the many networking and career development events they offer, as well as the opportunity it provides to meet the passionate and ambitious women who comprise the WiS group. Erin is excited to help facilitate future social events and workshops that will highlight the achievements of women in STEM at UVic and beyond, as well as address everyday issues faced on campus.


Sarah lane

MSC student / biology / Director of grants & funding

A 2nd year Masters student, Sarah is interested in how plants alter their secondary metabolism when iron deficient, and if this produces phytochemicals that could treat red blood cell diseases like sickle cell anemia. Outside the lab, she enjoys reading, running, and growing orchids.

Sarah was excited to be involved with UVic WIS because of the connection and community it creates with other women in science. She is enthusiastic about the initiatives that UVic WIS is undertaking, and eager to help facilitate them.


becca candlish

Research Assistant / NEURObiology / Peer mentorship program director

Becca is a Research Assistant in the Neurobiology lab at UVic and has recently graduated from UVic with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. She is currently working in the Swayne lab to assist in projects investigating the role, function and trafficking of a channel protein enriched in brain cells, called Pannexin. When she is not helping out in the lab, she enjoys hiking, playing ukulele and hanging out with friends.

Becca has always admired the empowering environment of the events put on by UVic Women in Science. She was inspired to start a Peer Mentorship program allowing new students at UVic to connect with their more experienced peers and thought that this program would fit in perfectly with the values and goals of UVic Women in Science.


Karen lithgow

phd student / biochemistry and microbiology / co-founder

Karen is in her 4th year of her PhD thesis research, which focuses upon investigating how the causative agent of syphilis, Treponema pallidum, interacts with the cells that line human blood vessels. Outside of the lab Karen enjoys exploring Vancouver Island by water, trail, and snow. 

Karen is thrilled to be involved in the Women in Science initiative at UVic and hopes to develop resources that will recognize outstanding female accomplishments within STEM fields and improve female retention in academia.


Hannah Charnock

BSC chemistry / Co-Founder, Community Outreach

Hannah recently graduated with a BSc in Chemistry (Co-op). Her academic interests have been tied up in the analytical chemistry world behind the beer, wine, coffee and spirits industries and she is currently working in her field. Outside of school and work, she shoots & develops 35mm film and loves to spend time bike-camping!

Since the beginning, UWIS has been a platform to recognize and celebrate female-identifying scientists in our community. After acting as Co-President with Co-Founder, Karen Lithgow for just over one and a half years, Hannah is now connecting industry with academia to curate job opportunities and outreach events for UWIS members.


Committee members

Communications Committee

Director | Tasha Jarisz

Members | Sree Gayathri, Bridget Ryan, Claire Stevens and Christine Dawson

Grants & Funding Committee

Director | Sarah Lane

Members | Rachael Brown, Gerry Gourlay, Bethany Robson

Events Committee

Co-Directors | Cristina Pinar & Erin Gräfe

Members | Erin McDonagh & Ashwini Selvakumar

WIS alumni

We would like to gratefully acknowledge the contributions made by past members of the WIS Executive Committee and our team of Committee Members. UVic WIS would not be the organization it is today without their support and engagement.

Rhea Ashmead, Director of Communications

Lauren McMillan, Communications Committee

Seanna Zintel, Communications Committee

Emily Fulton, Events Committee Member

Sean Sawer, Treasurer & Events Volunteer

Ellen Habke, Events Volunteer

Meagan Beatty, Events Committee Member

Callie Greene, Communications Committee Member

Nova Hanson, Director of Grants & Funding

Teesha Luehr, Events Committee Member

Emma Murowinski, Events Committee Member

Gill Dornan, Events Committee Member

Ariana Sholinder, Communications Committee

Natasha Milosevich, Events Committee Member

Lisa McQuarrie, Events Committee Member

Camille Zimmer, Events Committee Member

Jessica Dhami, Events Committee Member