Celebrating International Women’s Day: Commission members

March 8, 2015

International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women in all aspects of life across the globe.

The achievements of the women who have been appointed as members to the Commission for Canada’s nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, are no exception.

Meet Ms. Rumina Velshi and Dr. Moyra McDill, two Commission members who have made remarkable strides for women in science, and who recognize the work that still needs to be done by women now and for future generations.

Ms. Rumina Velshi

Ms. Rumina Velshi

Ms. Rumina Velshi has a decorated scientific background in both engineering and business administration.

Before coming on as a permanent Commission member in 2011, Ms. Velshi worked at Ontario Power Generation.

Ms. Velshi has made it her mission to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

She has spearheaded such initiatives as Women in Science and Engineering (Canada), has served on the Board of Directors of Women in Nuclear (Canada), and currently serves as Vice-Chair and Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Scientists in School – an organization whose mission is to get kids excited about career possibilities in STEM. Ms. Velshi explains:

“Men still continue to dominate in STEM careers, including in the nuclear industry. Having more women pursue careers in these fields can bring much-needed different perspectives to the disciplines and result in more creative and innovative solutions that better address and meet society’s needs and the particular needs of women.

“By attracting more female engineers and scientists, organizations gain a better understanding of their customers’ and stakeholders’ needs, design better products, and can compete more effectively in the marketplace.”

Dr. J. Moyra J. McDill

Dr. Moyra McDill

Dr. Moyra McDill, an Ottawa native and professor emeritus at Carleton University, and currently a visiting senior lecturer at the University of Skövde (Sweden), has had an impressive education in mechanical and materials engineering. She became a Commission member in 2002.

Dr. McDill has received numerous accolades for her work, including the Y-Ottawa Women of Distinction Award (Education) in 2002 and an Ontario Professional Engineers Award for Engineering Excellence in 2009.

Over the years while at Carleton, Dr. McDill was Dean’s Adviser for Women in Engineering, Associate Chair to the Nortel/NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Ontario Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, and one of the founding members of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists.

Dr. McDill is happily involved with engineergirl.org, a website dedicated to promoting engineering careers for girls. She explains:

“As a young professor, I held my then-infant daughter in my arms and watched the events of December 6, 1989, unfold at École Polytechnique. It was a career-changing event for me and for many of my colleagues. I made a promise to my daughter and to the memories of the 14 women that I would try to make a difference.

“Enthusiasm grows and opportunities come about when the door is a little bit open to possibility. Now, as a senior professor, I can see there have been many positive changes – although we still need to do more. Incidentally, that little girl is now an engineer in her own right and her younger brother and sister are following just a few years behind.

“Those of us working in STEM can be instrumental in showing those in primary and secondary school and university that we work with neat things and like this work, and that those neat things can help people.”

Ms. Velshi and Dr. McDill’s work is a testament to not only the exciting opportunities and challenges that can be found in science, but to how women have risen to meet them.