Fellow and Honorary Members

Faye Murrin, Mona El-Tahan, Carolyn Emerson, Mary Williams

At 2007 AGM, current Fellow Members Dr. Faye Murrin, Mona El-Tahan and Caroline Emerson enjoyed celebrations for the newest Fellow Member, Dr. Mary Williams.

Special membership status is granted to individual who have made outstanding contributions towards the objectives of WISE NL. Fellow, the highest member grade, is awarded to a current or past member considered to have made a significant contribution of service to WISE NL. Honorary Membership is awarded to a non-member who is considered to have made a significant contribution to society in the spirit of the objectives of WISE NL.

2003 – Mildred Brown, PhD, Policy Analyst, ACOA

As a science instructor in the public college system in Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Brown first became aware of the need to encourage female students to pursue careers in science and technology fields. Her research for her Master’s Degree in Adult Education focused on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at such encouragement, and led her to attend the founding meeting of the NL Chapter of WISE NL. She went on to organize the first major WISE NL conference for science teachers and high school students, the WISE NL poster campaign, and the first of many successful summer employment programs!

She later became President of the national organization, and a member of the Advisory Boards for the Chairs of WISE NL at UNB and MUN. Mildred went on to complete a PhD in Education and Economic Development. Dr. Brown is currently a Policy Analyst with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).


2003 – Mona El-Tahan, P.Eng., President, InCoreTec Inc.

Ms. El-Tahan is one of the founders of WISE NL-NL. She is currently President and COO of InCoreTec, the company she started in 1988. Ms. El-Tahan has over twenty-five years of experience in cold oceans engineering and project management. Recognized nationally and internationally through awards for success in engineering, business, and entrepreneurship, she was honoured with the 2000 Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs’ (NLOWE) Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Avalon Region and the 2002 Sara Kirke Award for Canada’s Leading Woman High Tech Entrepreneur.

With a global network of professional industry and academic contacts in North America, the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia, she has managed concurrent projects and individual projects having multi-disciplinary teams belonging to different organizations. She holds five copyrights and two patents for ship navigational aids, Robotic control and ice & iceberg management systems. She was also a Teaching and Research Assistant at the Faculty of Engineering of Memorial University for four years. She has supervised and trained more than 100 engineering work-term students over a period of 25 years, and has published more than 100 technical papers and reports.


2004 – Carolyn Emerson, President, Carolyn J. Emerson Consulting; WinSETT Project Coordinator

Carolyn J. Emerson, M.Sc., has degrees in life sciences from the University of Toronto and Memorial University and enjoyed a 25-year science research career at Memorial. During that time she was active in WISE NL and with Faye Murrin co-directed the Student Summer Employment Program for 14 years. Carolyn then had to opportunity to work with Mary Williams the first NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the Atlantic region. With Mary, she is the co-author of the new version of Becoming Leaders – A Practical Handbook for Women in Engineering, Science and Technology to be published in early 2008 by the American Associations of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.

She has held leadership positions in other community science promotion organizations and is the recipient of several awards for excellence, leadership and public service. Since 2002, through her own consulting company, Carolyn has worked on projects in both Canada and the U.S. focusing on women’s full participation in science and engineering. Carolyn is currently the Project Coordinator for the Women in SETT Initiative of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology.


2004 – Faye Murrin, PhD, Assoc. Dean, Graduate Studies, Memorial University

Dr. Faye Murrin is a faculty member in the Department of Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Faye fell in love with fungi as an undergraduate student, thanks to a field trip led by the late Dr. Orvil Olsen. She completed an honours degree at Memorial, an MSc at Acadia University and a PhD at Queen’s University. Shortly after she returned to Memorial in the mid-1980’s, she became active in the newly-formed local chapter of WISE NL and, along with Caroline Emerson, served as co-director of the Student Summer Employment Program for its first 14 years – a feat for which they received a WISE NL Lifetime Membership Award in 2003.

Faye’s earlier research focused on the cell biology of fungi and more recently she has been investigating the role of ectomycorrhizal mushrooms in boreal ecosystem ecology. In addition to teaching and research, she is often called on to share her love of mushrooms with like-mined members of the public. Faye is a long-time member of the Mycological Society of America, serving on the executive from 2003 to 2006; she received the award of MSA Fellow in 2007. In 2008 she became the Assoc. Dean of Graduate Studies.


2006 – Charlene Johnson, MHA for Trinity-Bay de Verde *
Carolyn Emerson (founding member of WISE SSEP), MHA Charlene Johnson and Dr. Laura Halfyard (president WISE NL).

Carolyn Emerson (founding member, WISE SSEP), MHA Charlene Johnson, Dr. Laura Halfyard (president WISE NL).

In 2007, the Honourable Charlene Johnson was appointed as the provincial Minister of Environment and Conservation. Ms. Johnson was the youngest ever elected to serve in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, as the MHA for Trinity-Bay de Verde. Ms. Johnson was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources in 2006.

Charlene Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forest Engineering from the University of New Brunswick and a Masters of Applied Science degree in Environmental Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is also working towards a Masters in Business Administration on a part-time basis. Ms. Johnson’s work experience includes consulting, regulatory and political work, and she is a very active volunteer. She is passionate about sustainable development and the protection of our natural resources. Ms. Johnson strongly believes that Newfoundland and Labrador’s most valued resource is its people and is determined to help put an end to the exodus of our people and resources through the creation of new, sustainable opportunities.

In 1992 Ms. Johnson spent a memorable and life altering summer as a student assistant in a MUN laboratory, as part of the WISE Student Summer Employment Program.


2007 – F. Mary Williams, PhD, Director General, NRC-IOT

Dr. Mary Williams is former Director General of the Institute for Ocean Technology (IOT) of the National Research Council of Canada. IOT’s applied research leads to innovative Canadian technologies for safe and effective in the harsh ocean environment. Mary is responsible for research programs, large scale experimental and computational facilities, and the transfer of technology to industrial partners. She participates in ocean research management at the national level and is active in the development of the ocean technology cluster in St. John’s.

From 1997 to 2002, Mary was a professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Atlantic Region NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science & Engineering. Her work to promote the success of women in science and engineering careers led to a book, Becoming Leaders, co-authored with Carolyn Emerson.

Mary’s own research interests are the effects of ice on ships and offshore structures, and the material properties of ice on the ocean. This work has involved many field trips and icebreaker expeditions to the Arctic, the Antarctic, and around Newfoundland, as well as physical model experiments in the world’s largest ice tank. The results have appeared in numerous publications, and have been utilized by public and private sector clients.


Cecilia Moloney (l)

Cecilia Moloney (l)

2011 – Cecilia Moloney, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University

Cecilia is a long-time individual member and supporter of WISE NL. In 2004 when she took on the role of NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the Atlantic Region, she took opportunities to amplify that support for WISE NL. She provided staff time, office space and logistical assistance for the directors and coordinators of the Student Summer Employment Program. She also provided financial contributions that enabled more young female high school students from around the province to participate in the program, learning more about work and life as a scientist or engineer.

Cecilia has given encouragement and support for undergraduate and graduate students to present on their own work or on their activities with WISE NL at workshops and conferences across Canada. She was key in establishing and nurturing the Graduate Society of WISE NL. And she has been a strong mentor for undergrads, graduate students, professional women, and for those of us working directly with WISE NL.


2014 – Caroline Koenig

Caroline Koenig first became connected with WISE NL just after she arrived in St. John’s in the late 1990s. She quickly became involved in a number of our initiatives and went on to serve in key positions on the Board and Executive for over nine years. An early contribution was handling much of the on-site logistics for the New Frontiers, New Traditions National Conference held in 2000. Mary recalled Caroline sleeping over in one of our conference-assigned rooms to ensure things were in the right places at the right time for the first sessions.

In 2003, our flagship initiative, the Student Summer Employment Program was at a critical juncture when the two principal organizers stepped down. Caroline volunteered for a role as SSEP Director at a time when we were asking ourselves ‘Should we even continue with the program?’ Caroline was Professional Assistant for Cecilia Moloney’s Chair, and with that support as well as through her countless personal volunteer hours, she handled all of the major organizational tasks from hiring coordinators to promotion, finances and student activities.
Another crisis emerged in the mid 2000s when the Federal Government drastically cut funding to non-profit initiatives. Caroline sprang into action and mobilized others in a campaign that saw sources of support emerging to, in essence, save the program. Caroline provided a critical foundation while we completed our Program evaluation, sought new funding, and, importantly, hired full-time staff. The task was a large one and she performed it with excellence, enthusiasm and professionalism.

Now as a technologist in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Caroline continues to instruct and support past SSEP students and to encourage them and others to get involved in WISE.


2014 – Laura Halfyard

Laura’s contributions started in the early days of WISE NL when she volunteered to serve on the Board in 1990. She more recently served as President from 2006 to the end of 2009, and as Past President until this evening.

Laura’s contributions have perhaps been most visible through her whole-hearted commitment of time and energy to the Student Summer Employment Program including from that first time of major transition in 2003. In all of her leadership roles, she has provided the vision required to get the organization through times of change.

Laura works tirelessly to expand the reach of WISE NL and WISE SSEP and has recently been a major contributing force in the development of first nations outreach programming in Labrador, now to include groups of aboriginal origin on the island, and in a proposed mentorship program. In her role as a SSEP Director, Laura has prioritized mentorship of new Directors and has used her business knowledge to ease the transition to a full-time program manager, while playing a major role in funding procurement. Laura consistently provides valuable feedback on proposals, while finding time to volunteer with SSEP during events or even overnight stays with the students. Laura has managed to remain extremely dedicated to SSEP while balancing the many other commitments in her life, for a long time as researcher and educator at the Marine Institute and now managing major aquaculture ventures.

Laura has always provided thoughtful, measured advice and guidance on matters of WISE-NL activities, even if said advice goes against the “expected”. Laura’s forward thinking has been vital for the longevity of the organization.


2014 – Leslie Grattan*

Leslie Grattan has made significant contributions for over 30 years through her willingness to share her experience, her fundamental belief that women in science and engineering have limitless choices for their careers, her belief that family and careers can coexist, and her unwavering commitment to ensuring the environment is maintained for future generations.

In her professional life, as a scientist, Leslie has shown strong leadership and service in whatever role she has had. At the federal level, she played a key part in the establishment of environmental requirements for offshore petroleum exploration and production. As NL Deputy Minister Environment & Labour, Leslie helped shape the future for managing environmental matters. She advanced issues such as amendments to the Human Rights Code, establishing the Workplace Health Safety and Compensation Commission, a provincial Waste Management Strategy, and integrated coastal management. Leslie currently works on benefits agreements to advance the agenda for women in the oil and gas industry. And all along the way she has mentored and supported women around her to stretch and achieve their career and life goals.

Leslie has always responded to “the call” from WISE NL, whether it’s a presentation to Girl Guides, being a guest presenter at a workshop and at our 25th anniversary, and most recently giving a great talk in our speaker series.

A colleague of Leslie’s described her this way:

Leslie has no following by age group, she inspires across the generations. Her love of science, her love of her family, her love of the province, and her love of the environment – what a winning combination. What a great leader of the province’s (and the country’s) female world of science and engineering.


2015 – Sadie Sellars

Sadie Sellars is a professional engineer with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Memorial  University of Newfoundland and over 25 years of industry experience. Sadie’s strong technical and leadership skills have led her into positions of increasing seniority and technical challenge within ExxonMobil.

Sadie’s industry career began here in St. John’s working on Canada’s first offshore oil project as a just-graduated engineer. Sadie has been Hibernia Construction/Projects Lead in 2003; Projects Supervisor – ExxonMobil Canada East (2005), overseeing facility modifications for both the Hibernia and Sable (Nova Scotia) Assets; Project Advisor with ExxonMobil Production Company (2008) in Houston with international responsibilities. Currently, Sadie is part of the senior management group with ExxonMobil Development Company as Technical Manager for the Hebron Project (2012), based in St. John’s.

Sadie was instrumental in the early development and growth of WISE NL. She was a founding member and on the Executive (including as President) for many years. Sadie was a featured role model for early WISE NL initiatives – the award-winning WISE Choices video and Career-a-Month poster series distributed to every high school in the province. Sadie also envisioned and developed a major and innovative initiative for WISE NL in the mid-1990s – the multi-media Careers in Your Future resource used in public events and school settings, highlighting the roles that women play in science, engineering and technology.

As Technical Manager for the Hebron Project, Sadie is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Project’s industrial benefits and diversity commitments: she has been directly involved in supporting many of the Project’s initiatives focused on women in SETT. Within ExxonMobil, Sadie is a leader in the professional women’s network and the mentoring of early career professionals.

We are pleased to invite Sadie Sellars to be a Fellow of WISE NL, an organization she helped establish and continues to actively support. Sadie exemplifies the potential of women to have and to meet their goals, both professional and personal, within the spheres of science and engineering. Sadie has been and is both a role model and ambassador for women in science and engineering.


2018 – Kim Keating