ESS Newsletter

May 2019

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Welcome to the third edition of the biannual Engendering Success in
STEM Newsletter. We have just begun the third year of the ESS Consortium’s activities and are excited to share our most recent accomplishments and research initiatives.

Since our last update shared in November 2018, the research teams have been busy working closely with our partners to collect data and implement studies with students and professionals in STEM. Each of the project leaders has provided a summary of their ongoing activities and findings. Take a close at each project’s summary for more information.

We also want to congratulate team members who have achieved important milestones: getting jobs, securing post-docs, receiving research awards, and birthing our newest (and cutest) consortium members. And finally, we are excited to highlight a few specific members of our consortium and the work they are doing to promote gender inclusion in STEM fields. 

We encourage you to follow us on
Twitter @ess_consortium and
Facebook @ESSConsortium to keep
up to date on ESS related updates, relevant research that we share, and upcoming events.

We hope you enjoy reading about some
of our latest achievements to date and
we welcome your feedback! We look forward to another productive year of research and data collection and as always, thank you for your collaboration and partnership.

Best regards,
Toni Schmader
Director, ESS Consortium


Project Group Updates

Project CLIMB

Changing the Learning of Implicit Math Biases

Project CLIMB tests programs that counteract early learning of implicit gender bias. Project members continue to work in close collaboration with our data collection partner, Vancouver's Science World.

In Year 3 we continued our efforts from Year 2 to develop measures of gender stereotypes for school-aged children and tested several laboratory interventions: two that look to change implicit gender stereotypes (specifically by fostering stronger associations between girls and math) and another that tests the efficacy of an attitude change intervention over a one hour period. One of these studies revealed that implicit gender-math stereotypes can be changed successfully in children ages 6-11 years following a brief intervention. We are working to publish those results. Data collection for the other two projects is still ongoing.
We also continue to pilot measures of math and science stereotypes in children that we hope to implement with our Science World partner as we work together to pilot our evaluation of the Super Science Club -- a Science World program that promotes science literacy and general interest in science in local area public schools.
In other news, one of our project CLIMB graduate student team members, Antonya Gonzalez, successfully defended her PhD and will be graduating from UBC in May, 2019. She has already joined the faculty at Western Washington University and is off to a fantastic start! We hope she’ll continue to collaborate on CLIMB projects with us from WWU. Finally, Dr. Jennifer Steele (York University) has joined the Project CLIMB team as a collaborator. We are very excited to have her onboard.

Project PRISM

Promoting Rising Inclusion and STEM Motivation

In preparation for our third summer running the PRISM project, we recently completed a pilot study to test the efficacy of our new intervention video.

Over 250 middle school children visiting Columbus, Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry (COSI) Museum participated in our pilot study. Participants in the intervention condition watched a video highlighting a diverse set of STEM role models who shared how science allows them to pursue communal values. Participants in the control condition watched a science video featuring a stereotypical male scientist. We then measured interest in science classes and careers, perceived fit in science, and communal goals. Data analyses are ongoing and preliminary results show promising effects.

Project SINC

Shaping Inclusive Network Cultures

Project SINC has established a number of connections this year, including a new partnership with McMaster University. After completing a qualitative study of engineering students at the University of Toronto (UofT) and a study of daily life among business school students last year, we are ready to launch two major studies in the upcoming months.

Together with the UofT Engineering Career Centre, Project SINC will investigate the relationship between daily social and work experiences of second-year students on their summer internships, daily fluctuations in cognitive functioning, and their motivation to continue in engineering after their first workplace experience. We are collecting these experiences in the field using an open-source smartphone app that was developed by the SINC team members and published late last year in the top methods journal in psychology (Thai & Page-Gould, 2018).

Students who participate in the project will get a personalized report of their cognitive function, stress, and social experiences at the end of the study period to help them understand how these factors play into their transition from university to the workplace. We will directly build on this work by conducting a much larger version with the co-op program at McMaster University beginning in the Fall. At that point, we will also be able to integrate physiological measures of stress that are synced with the phone app. We have spent the last year running 105 participants through a validation study that sought to identify consumer-grade physiological devices that could provide sufficiently reliable measures of physiological stress, compared to the gold-standard of our stationary lab equipment.

Project SINC has also continued our partnership with the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering at UofT in planning to predict engineering co-op students’ success and social integration as they make the transition from the workplace, beginning that collaboration in 2020. As we move forward into the upcoming year, we are continuing to expand our research partnerships with the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering, McMaster, York University, and the Athena SWAN project in Canada.

Project RISE

Realizing Identity Safe Environments

Project RISE has spent the last six months developing content and measures for our "Cultivating Collaborative Cultures" intervention project. Although organizations increasingly require their employees to participate in diversity training, surprisingly few studies assess such programs' effectiveness. What limited research there is paints a troubling picture: The online tutorials on diversity or implicit bias provided by many large companies have limited benefits.
Our unique intervention aims to build an evidence-based half-day workshop titled Inclusive Innovation, which integrates concepts, activities, and findings from current theory and research in social and organizational psychology. We will test its efficacy alongside another evidence-based workshop on Influential Leaders that includes content from the University of Toronto’s Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering.
Beginning in June 2019, we will launch these workshops with our partners in a randomized-control trial focused on full-time professionals working in science, tech, engineering, or math fields. We will assess the workshops' efficacy for raising participants’ relevant knowledge and awareness, as well as boosting their motivation and ability to engage in concrete allyship or leadership behaviors in their organization. For 18 months after each workshop, we will survey workshop participants to track short- and longer-term effects on cultural change in the organization. If you know a company or organization who might be interested in our project, please encourage them to email us at
In parallel with developing this intervention project, team members have conducted both field and lab studies with student and non-student samples to test components of this workshop. For instance, studies with business and engineering student are testing the efficacy of cross-gender dialogues about bias and inclusion for promoting perspective-taking and support for gender equality initiatives. Another line of research examines how a sense of shared values can reduce the social identity threat that can arise from learning about one’s implicit biases. A third line of studies investigates how the tendency to underestimate men’s support for gender inclusion can constrain men’s willingness to act as allies to women in the workplace. Finally, a fourth line tests the effectiveness of a novel educational intervention to promote cross-gender allyship in STEM.

Recent Awards & Announcements

Congratulations to ESS team members who received recent awards and positions:
  • Audrey Aday and Tara Dennehy were awarded SPSSI grants-in-aid funding to support a project examining allyship in STEM.
  • Kate Block was awarded a SSHRC post-doctoral position to work with Andrei Cimpian at New York University. She was also awarded SPSSI grants-in-aid funding to support a project examining cross-national variation in career interests.
  • Will Hall accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at Brock University starting this fall.
  • Elizabeth Page-Gould was elected to the Board of Directors for the Society of Psychophysiological Research as a Member-At-Large.
  • Toni Schmader was awarded the Daniel T. Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in March.
Toni Schmader receiving the Daniel T. Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize
Consortium Member Profile

We talked with Dean and Professor Mary Wells (University of Guelph) to learn more about her research.
Hi Mary, please tell us about your background in Engineering. What does your research address?

I am a metallurgical engineer by training and after I graduated from McGill University spent four years working as a practising engineer in the steel industry both in Canada and New Zealand.  I then decided to return to University and pursue a PhD in Metals and Materials Engineering. Today my research examines the connections between the way a material in manufactured, the structure that are produced and the final material properties. Much of my research is aimed at the transportation industry and specifically the use of lightweight materials such as aluminum and magnesium in automotive applications.
Can you tell us about your involvement with ESS?

Within the ESS consortium I am one of the STEM experts and am helping with the PRISM project. This project explores how we can make STEM fields and engineering in particular a more attractive and meaningful option for adolescent girls and ensure they chose the right courses in high school so that careers in STEM remain an option for them. This project will also examine ways we can nudge adolescent boy mindsets to see their female peers as equally capable and competent in subjects such as math and science.

Why is it important that social scientists and industry partners work together?

I believe one of the greatest strengths of the ESS research consortium is that it was designed from inception as an authentic partnership between social scientists, STEM outreach experts, and industry partners. This ensures that the knowledge and expertise of the social scientists will be communicated and used effective. This will ensure we can test and measure the influence of interventions in altering mindsets of both boys and girls and men and women along our human talent pipeline from K-12, our Universities and our STEM workforce.

Welcome New Partners

Since the ESS introductory newsletter came out last May we are happy to announce we have formed several new partnerships. On behalf of the ESS Consortium we would like to welcome the following organizations/companies to the team:
We are grateful for your support of the ESS research and we are very excited to continue working with you toward improving the culture for girls and women in STEM in your organizations and beyond!  

Partner Spotlight

We talked with our partners, Suzanne Morrison, Client Relationship Leader, Energy, Mining and Environment at the National Research Council Canada (NRC), and Sandy Eix, Director of STEM Learning at Science World, to learn more about what their organizations do and their involvement in ESS:
National Research Council

Suzanne, please tell us about the National Research Council.

The NRC is the Government of Canada's largest research organization supporting industrial innovation, the advancement of knowledge and technology development. We have world-class facilities and employ the diverse talents of over 3800 employees across the country. We collaborate with industry, colleges, universities and hospitals; provide research and technical services to a large and diverse set of organizations; and provide advice or funding to small and medium-sized businesses each year. NRC brings together the brightest minds to deliver tangible impacts on the lives of Canadians and people around the world.

How do the goals of the NRC relate to gender inclusion and diversity?

At NRC, our mission is to have an impact by advancing knowledge, applying leading-edge technologies, and working with other innovators to find creative, relevant and sustainable solutions to Canada's current and future economic, social and environmental challenges. We know diversity and inclusion are essential to developing and implementing creative solutions and enabling excellence in research and innovation. We are committed to a diverse and representative workforce, an open and inclusive work environment, and contributing to a more inclusive Canadian innovation system.

As one of our key data collection partners, can you tell us about your involvement with Project RISE?

NRC has a shared interest with the members of Project RISE in research aimed at understanding and improving the status of women in science and technology. We are excited to participate with the team in an evidence-based intervention to improve workplace culture at NRC, share lessons learned and develop/implement best practices to create and nurture an identity-safe culture for all of our STEM professionals.
Science World

Sandy, please tell us a little bit about Science World.

Many people think of Science World as the science centre at False Creek in Vancouver, BC, but it’s so much more than that! We bring the joy of science to all corners of the province.  We send demonstration shows, teacher professional development and community science celebrations to communities throughout BC. Last year, we reached a million people in British Columbia, through visitors to our iconic geodesic dome and our outreach programs.

We are also instrumental in building an ecosystem called Symbiosis, which is a growing, deeply connected network of STEAM learning organizations that includes K–12 and postsecondary education, industry and places and providers of informal science learning.

How do the goals of Science World relate to gender inclusion and diversity?

Inclusivity is one of our core values. Since moving to the dome in 1989, we have worked collaboratively with organizations such as SCWIST (Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology) to support and encourage gender diversity in science. In November 2018, we worked with Symbiosis partners to host a day of workshops and guest speakers for 300 girls age 12–14, and we hope that this Girls and STEAM day will become an annual Symbiosis highlight. As an organization with many strong female leaders, we recognize that diversity in every dimension is key to solving the pressing issues at the intersection of science and society.

Last year, we participated in the inaugural LGBTSTEM Day.  As a participant in this international celebration of diversity in STEAM, we had 11 community organizations and scientists from the LGBTQ2+ community interact with visitors and share the cool science that they do and the support that they provide. We are looking forward to participating again this year and we already have all the partners from last year signed on in addition to new organizations who wish to participate.

Not only do we value inclusivity, but we believe that science is fun. We are planning our costumes and giveaways for the Vancouver Pride Parade. This will be our 3rd year of participation in this celebration. Last year, we had 35 staff and family members walk in the Parade.

As one of our key data collection partners can you tell us about your involvement in Project CLIMB?

Since 2010, Science World has partnered with the UBC Department of Psychology to host the Living Lab, a lab facility at Science World, where visitors are invited to take part in research about cognitive development. Dr. Andy Baron, who brought the Living Lab to Science World, leads Project CLIMB, which is investigating the importance of role models in changing biases about gender in STEAM. The first part of the CLIMB research has been taking place in the Living Lab.

The next phase will take place in two of our programs. CLIMB researchers will be working with Super Science Club, an award-winning after-school outreach program in inner-city schools that combines STEAM activities with field trips and Family Memberships. They will also study our Meet a Scientist events that bring research scientists and Science World visitors together on weekends. The scientists get valuable training on communicating with family audiences, and visitors get a window into current research. We’re hoping that CLIMB findings will help inform and inspire best practices as we work to change gender biases in STEAM fields. We’re excited to be part of research that will help us understand how we can support diversity and inclusion.

Upcoming Events

Fall 2019 Meeting

From October 24 to 25, 2019, ESS Consortium members will meet in Vancouver, BC for the 2019 ESS Consortium Working Groups. This annual face-to-face meeting allows in-depth knowledge sharing and deep-dive breakout sessions among project teams with their ESS partners and stakeholders. Further information regarding the event will be sent out to Consortium members and partners directly. Although this meeting is not open to a more general audience, stay tuned for a summary of activities at this meeting in our fall newsletter.
RISE Workshops

Project RISE is currently developing two evidence-based workshops on collaborative cultures that are set to launch in 2019. This randomized control trial will use the best scientific practices to test the effectiveness of a cutting-edge intervention designed to mitigate implicit bias and create cultural change.

To read more about the RISE workshops, visit the RISE research page.

Interested in becoming a RISE partner? Visit the RISE project page to learn more about how your organization can contribute to ESS research and benefit through participation in the project.
Science Rendezvous

Project SINC will be hosting a booth at Science Rendezvous, an annual outreach event in Ontario, Canada designed to get 6th and 7th graders interested in science. Every year, hundreds of middle schoolers from across Ontario attend the event to learn more about science and engage with top scientists at the forefront of innovation. Project SINC’s booth will focus on how the nature of interactions plays into our interest and engagement with science.
This year’s Science Rendezvous will take place on May 11th on the St. George campus at University of Toronto. To learn more about the event, visit

ESS Website Launch

ESS is happy to announce the launch of our redesigned website! Visit to view all the new features, including:
  • Live Twitter feed
  • Consortium news page
  • Exclusive resources for partners
  • Improved search features
  • Updated project sites

Select Talks and Presentations

  • Toni Schmader - Ottawa, ON, December 2018. The Power of Allies. Invited talk to National Research Council.
  • Emily Cyr - January 2019. Talk on the PRISM project at the Actua National Convention.
  • Toni Schmader - Portland, OR, February 2019. Gender segregation explained: The implication of choices constrained by stereotypes. Gender preconference to the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology.
  • Toni Schmader - Singapore, March 2019. Project RISE: Realizing identity safe environments. INSEAD Women and Work Conference.

Academic Publications

  • Aday, A., & Schmader, T. (2019). Seeking authenticity in diverse contexts: How identities and environments constrain “free” choice. Personality and Social Psychology Compass. DOI:10.1111/spc3.12450
  • Block, K., Croft, A., De Souza, L., & Schmader, T. (2019). Do people care if men don’t care? The asymmetry in support for changing gender roles. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 83, 112-131.
  • Block, K., Croft, A., & Schmader, T. (2018). Worth less? Why men (and women) devalue care-oriented careers. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1-20.
  • Goyer, J. P., Cohen, G. L., Cook, J. E., Master, A., Apfel, N., Lee, W., Henderson, A.G., Reeves, S.L., Okonofua, J.A., & Walton, G. M. (2019). Targeted identity-safety interventions cause lasting reductions in discipline citations among negatively stereotyped boys. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
  • Kang, S.K., & Kaplan, S. (2019).  Working toward gender diversity and inclusion in medicine: Myths and solutions. The Lancet, 393, 579-586.
  • Thai, S., & Page-Gould, E. (2018). ExperienceSampler: An open-source scaffold for building smartphone apps for experience sampling. Psychological Methods, 23, 729-739.
Would you like a PDF of any of these publications? Send an email to to request one.

ESS in the Media

ESS Consortium director, Toni Schmader, was interviewed as part of the INSEAD Women and Work Conference in Singapore.

In the interview, Toni discusses the cutting edge research being conducted with the ESS consortium, the development of implicit gender bias, and how we can foster inclusive workplace cultures in STEM.
Toni Schmader interview for the INSEAD Women and Work Conference
  • "Thank a scientist" - Elizabeth Page-Gould, ESS Faculty Member, American Psychological Association, November 26, 2018
  • "Preschool can help nurture tomorrow's female engineers" - Elizabeth Croft, ESS Faculty Member, Open Forum, March 24, 2019
  • "Time's up on gender disparity in STEM: Women in STEM" - Elizabeth Croft, ESS Faculty Member, Pearson, 2019
  • "Elizabeth Croft's Articles" - Elizabeth Croft, ESS Faculty Member, Monash University Lens, 2019
  • "Call for specialist STEM teachers from primary up" - Elizabeth Croft, ESS Faculty Member, Engineers Australia, 2019
  • "Monash achieves Athena SWAN Bronze award" - Elizabeth Croft, ESS Faculty Member, Monash University News, December 7, 2018


ESS is proud to feature a new series of Bias Busting Strategies videos developed in partnership with CCUNESCO. The videos are based on ESS’s Bias Busting Strategies white paper series and were launched to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11th, 2019.

To download our videos, or to access them in French, visit our resources page.
Bias Busting Strategies for Individuals
Bias Busting Interpersonal Strategies
Bias Busting Strategies for Institutions

Baby Announcements

We welcome these recent babies to our consortium!
Sonia Kang & Asher
Trisha Smith & Eden
Lesley Shannon & Zachary

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The Engendering Success in STEM Research Consortium is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). 
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