Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Unmanned Systems Canada Conference Review

Amy is blogging about her experience as part of the CU-WISE initiative Blog To Attend A Conference Fund. Check out our Opportunities page for more details. 

The Unmanned Systems industry is a small, tight-knit community.  However, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) community goes beyond tight-knit – it is more like a family.  The few hundred people who attended the Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) Conference this year span pretty much all of Canada’s UAV specialists.  That’s it.  A few hundred researchers and companies making up an entire nation’s worth of knowledge on autonomous systems.  They know each other very well – perhaps too well. 

Walking into the conference, I knew I was an outsider.  Having worked in the UAV industry for just a single year – and as a co-op student no less – I had been introduced to many of the other players in the UAV field, but never like this, never all of them together.  I was intimidated. 

I have been intimidated before. As one of five female aerospace engineering students in my year at Carleton, I was typically made aware of being different from the rest of the crowd.  But this was not like that.  Here the questioning faces weren’t asking “why is she here?” they were just asking how I fit into the UAV family. 

It was amazing.  One of those moments where you realize you are being judged on the knowledge and experiences you bring to the table and not the fact that you are female.  I love that feeling.  I live for that moment when I can get behind the radar and fit in and share and learn.  No judgments.  The USC Conference was like that for four whole days. 

Despite the fact that I counted less than 20 women at the conference, the atmosphere told me that it wasn’t the men who were stopping women from joining their inner circle.  They are ready for us.  We just need the guts to admit we are interested and the confidence to share what we know.   At USC I struck a power pose (see video), then walked up and joined the conversation.  I hope conferences will give you the opportunity to do the same.

The Future of Research in the Alberta Oil Sands - International Oil Sands Tailings Conference Review

Lisa is blogging about her experience as part of the CU-WISE initiative Blog To Attend A Conference Fund. Check out our Opportunities page for more details. 

The International Oil Sands Tailings Conference (IOSTC) is a bi-annual meeting for presenting research aimed at developing innovative means of addressing tailings related issues associated with the development of the Alberta Oil Sands. The conference was held from December 2-5, 2012 in Edmonton, Alberta at the Mayfield Inn and Conference Center. The conference brought together 360 experts, and interested individuals, to address tailings technology and management. Speakers addressed challenging issues such as oil sands tailings management, the required research efforts to overcome these challenges and, how the industry is responding. Papers were presented under the following themes: Tailings Containment, Soft Tailings and Stabilization, Tailings Dewatering, Reclamation, Chemical Interactions, New Tailings Management Concepts, and Water and Heat Considerations. A full list of presenters and abstracts can be found at https://uofa-cee.gobigevent.com:443/prothos/onware.x/conference/web/index.p?!=public=13549203058167=41=25697969&Conference=10293

Keynote speakers addressed future goals and areas of future concern while stressing the importance of reclamation studies. It appears that reclaiming and monitoring reclamation is the new main industry challenge. The talk I presented was the only one that addressed ecological reclamation. The talk titled ‘The use of benthic microorganisms (thecamoebians) to assess ecological response to tailings pond water quality changes and define endpoints to remediation efforts’ introduced a means of monitoring ecosystem development with reclamation efforts. This research is currently being conducted here at Carleton University in the Earth Science department.

Upon the completion of my Ph.D. I intend to work in Alberta in relation to the oil sands industry. The general public consensus is that finding work in Alberta is easy but if you actually talk to those looking, finding a career that fits your skillset is rather difficult. The oil companies have relationships with universities in Alberta and positions are typically filled from that pool of candidates. For me attendance at the conference was vital to finding a job. Business people and company researchers mainly attended the conference so the venue was an excellent opportunity for networking. I was one of only two students from outside of Alberta in attendance so I am thankful for the funding assistance that allowed me this opportunity.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

CU-WISE Women in Research

The CU-WISE Women in Research is an event to highlight the diverse research that is being performed at Carleton in the hopes of inspiring budding female scientists and engineers.  The CU-WISE Women in Research is set to take place on Thursday December 6th, 2012 from 9am to 2pm in Loeb room C264 at Carleton University.

Below you will find a schedule of speaker. To attend this event, please RSVP here.