2021 Board of Directors





Eileen O'Brien

Eileen O’Brien


Graduated in 1994 from Memorial University with a B. Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, Eileen has spent the majority of her career in the oil and gas sector, upstream, downstream and in distribution, in Newfoundland and abroad. Most recently she has been involved in two Major Projects in Newfoundland, as Project Engineering Lead for Wood Group Cahill on the Hebron Project (Topsides) and Quality Manager for SDP GP on the West White Rose Project (CGS).

Eileen most recently was VP on the board for WISE NL, as well as appointed to the Service NL Public Safety Appeal Board (2018-2020). Eileen lives in CBS with her family and enjoys training for triathlons and fundraising for charities such as the Sick Kids foundation.


Mehrnaz Shamspour

Mehrnaz Shamspour


Mehrnaz is a graduate of Civil Engineering with a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA). She has over eighteen years of experience in various areas of the construction industry in Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Her experience covers areas such as structural engineering and design, concrete formwork design, technical sales, corporate training, and project coordination. She is currently pursuing her P.Eng designation with PEGNL.

Mehrnaz is passionate about giving back to the community and does so through volunteering her time. She has been a volunteer with Bow Valley College, Calgary Public Library, CNIB, CBC, Feed Nova Scotia besides WISE NL.

In her free time she enjoys reading, cooking and playing sports.


Gloria Montano

Gloria Montano
Treasurer (Past President)


After completing a BSEE in 1978, Gloria began her career in the Silicon Valley where she advanced through positions in design, customer support, technical sales and marketing support, project and program management. She left private industry to join the Institute for Women and Technology (now AnitB.org) as the director of an innovative, design-based experiential learning program. She came to NL in 2006 to earn a Master of Education degree then worked in various roles in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University.

Now post-salary, Gloria continues to seek to broaden discussion on the role women play in the identification, development and distribution of technology-based solutions and she uses her experience and skills for the benefit of non-profit and volunteer organizations. Gloria is a Past President of WISE NL, a national Past President of the Society of Women Engineers in the US, and has served on several boards including the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (WinSETT).

Directors – Core Support


Rana Aslanova
Director, Communications


I was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. After graduating from Medical School, I was a Primary Healthcare Physician with 18 years of practice. In Canada I’ve acquired an MSc (Med) and Doctoral (PhD) Degrees in Clinical Epidemiology. For the last ten years, I have worked as an Epidemiologist in clinical settings and I was simultaneously involved in different observational studies, registries, clinical trials, conferences, teaching/learning sessions and public engagement frameworks.

I’m a Research Manager in Faculty of Medicine of Memorial University of Newfoundland since December 2014. My work is a constant communication with the university community across departments, external partners, multidisciplinary teams, physicians, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students, key opinion leaders (KOLs), speakers and policy specialists. I also liaised with different funding agencies to ensure compliance and reporting initiatives are well established and managed in pre-award period as well as assisted university units in post-award management of logistics.

I am a member of the Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors (PACAS) since November 2019. For years now, I’m a member of editorial offices of peer-reviewed scientific journals such as CMAJ, BMJ, Clinical Rheumatology and Clinical Oncology. I’m supervising research projects leading by physicians, medical residents and graduate students. I have published 16 manuscripts and 10 conference papers.


Sarah Khalil
Director, Membership


Sarah Khalil is a PhD of civil engineering student at MUN. Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Architectural Engineering from Damascus university, Syria. After her graduation, she worked as an architectural engineer in the Ministry of Tourism, and as a teacher. She joined MUN in 2018 and moved to Canada to start her Master of Engineering, which was recently converted to PhD. Her research focus is on the application of statistical experimental design methods on designing and optimizing light weight high performance concrete. One of her current career and education goals is to finish her PhD and study an MBA.

Sarah values volunteering, and since her arrival in Canada, she volunteered with WISE GSS, Mentorship Program at MUN, WISE NL and other organizations.

She also plays badminton, loves hiking and currently learning how to play piano.



Esraa AbouAmin
Director, Operations


Esraa AbouAmin is an entrepreneur, the principal owner of NISOM NL ISO & Management Mentor Ltd. Canadian management firm located in St John’s, NL. She is a senior consultant and project manager providing management, engineering and business services to companies looking for international recognition. As well as providing ISO certified auditing as registered ISO lead auditor since 2010.

Graduated in 2002 with BSc in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture. She believes in continuous learning. Acquiring two Masters Degrees (MEM Engineering Management, MSc Marine and Naval Engineering) and maintaining Lead Auditor status for the integrated system ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO18001.

With a diverse background of managerial and business development experience in shipyards, industrial organizations, mental health and wellbeing education, non-profit organizations and small/medium industries, plus numerous Awards of Excellence to her credit. Esraa’s infectious enthusiasm for personal and professional excellence has been inspiring individuals and teams for years.

She is a Rotary member, an active volunteer with SPCA, Big brother and big sister, SJIWFF and WISE NL board member for 3 years.

Most recently she has started a Nautical Science diploma with MI (MUN). In addition to Working on her ID PhD research on ” Designing a Newfoundland Prototype Social Enterprise Business Model for the Development and Evaluation of a Complex Intervention that Integrates Care for People with Mental Illness who are working in heavy-industry Workplaces.”

She believes in spirituality, loves animals and lives in St John’s with her family of handsome sons “Shahin and Yassin”, and inspired beautiful white husky “Junior”.


Meghan Couves
Director, Records


Born into a supportive family in St. John’s, Newfoundland, my love of science was reinforced from a young age by my father who is an engineer. I completed a degree in mechanical engineering at Memorial University and in my final year was offered a job in Australia. I made the solo journey to Australia where I worked with a mining company which provided me with the opportunity to work and live in a number of locations over a five-year period. During my time there I was fortunate to be able to visit many locations around the world where I developed a deep admiration for culture and diversity.

After making the decision to move back to Newfoundland I travelled to South Africa to volunteer at an animal sanctuary, the beginning of a five month long solo back packing journey through Africa and South America. I am an active individual and believe regular exercise is a crucial element in maintaining my well-being. Currently, I volunteer with Eastern Health at the Miller Centre’s Veteran Pavilion and also thoroughly enjoy being able to assist the SPCA. I am a mentor in the Women in Resource Development Corporation’s Techsploration program but most of all am very excited to be a part of the WISENL team and look forward to what 2021 has in store!

Directors – Programs


Valerie Darmonkow
Director, Leadership


Valerie and her husband immigrated to Canada from Eastern Europe three decades ago. Since then, they have been living, working, and parenting their two children (born shortly after arrival) in St. John’s, and have successfully integrated into the local community. Valerie has expertise in the area of health sciences and related research, and is also experienced in the fields of public policy, law and ethics. While adjusting to a new country and a new culture, and advancing her academic credentials, Valerie has stayed committed to volunteer work. She has served on the Health Research Ethics Board and on several advisory and steering committees, representing the Faculty of Medicine (MUN), in addition to her past roles as an Executive on the Board of the NL Multicultural Council Inc., and a Board Director at the Multicultural Women’s Organization of NL.

Valerie is passionate about continuous professional development and is looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the improved competencies of leadership that women with careers in the SE- and technology-based sectors can benefit from.


Chenel Waight
Director, Mentorship


Chenel is originally from Belize City, Belize. She moved to St. John’s in 2007 to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering and was awarded the Women in Engineering Scholarship during her first year at Memorial University. Post-graduation, she attained her LEED Green Associate and Project Management Professional (PMP) designations and is now persuing her P.Eng designation. Chenel is currently employed as a Project Manager with Colliers Project Leaders. She has over seven years of project management experience ranging from small office fit-ups to complex multi-million dollar program of works, the most recent being the St. John’s Internationl Airport Expansion Project.

Chenel is very passionate about and values diversity, equality, and mentorship. She has been involved with WISE NL’s Mentorship Program over the last four years, initally as a mentor, and most recently serving on the Board as Program Director. Chenel is also a member of several other professional associations including Professional Engineers and Geoscientists NL (PEGNL), Project Management Institution (PMI), and the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

In her personal time, Chenel enjoys travelling, hiking, latin ballroom dancing, cooking and trying new experiences, especially food, music, and places.


Angie Clarke
Director, Speaker Series


Dr. Angie Clarke is Director of Academic and Student Affairs, Marine Institute.
In my role at the Marine Institute campus of Memorial University I provide oversight of student support and transition, the Office of Career Integrated Learning, student recruitment & enrolment management, health and wellness and teaching and learning. In my academic background, I have a B.Sc. and M.Ed. (Post-Secondary Studies) from Memorial University and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from University of Calgary. I am looking forward to being a member of the WISE board, contributing to the speaker series and encouraging engagement of the organization.





Kelsey Howlett
Director, SSEP


Kelsey graduated Memorial University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in political science. She first became involved with WISE NL in the Fall of 2017, when she was hired as the Program Administrator. Though her career aspirations have taken her elsewhere, she is committed to the goals and mission of WISE NL and has thoroughly enjoyed serving as Director of the Student Summer Employment Program on the WISE NL Board; and will continue to do so. Professionally, she is the administrative assistant/transaction coordinator for the Sold by Stokes Real Estate team with Keller Williams Platinum Realty.

She is also an active volunteer with the Goulds Lions Club since 2013. On her personal time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and travelling (whenever that can happen again!).

Director Emeritae


Mona El-Tahan
Director Emerita


Mona El-Tahan is the founding president of WISE NL, leading the development of a provincial chapter of WISE National in 1988. Mona is a professional engineer, businessperson, and successful entrepreneur experienced in leading diverse and highly talented teams of professionals in the offshore and high technology industries. She is recognized nationally and internationally through awards for success in engineering, business and entrepreneurship, and has an extensive network of professional industry and academic contacts throughout the Middle East, North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

After obtaining a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Cairo University in Egypt and a Masters in Ocean Engineering from Memorial University. After graduation she worked with Lavalin-Fenco Newfoundland Ltd. as a Project Engineer and Senior Research Engineer/Manager then moved to C-CORE as a Senior Research Engineer/Manager. Mona founded InCoreTec Incorporated, an applied research and development company specializing in offshore and environmental engineering, marine navigational aids, sea ice management, project management and consulting. She stepped away from the company and is now in a consulting role.

Mona’s numerous awards include Canadian Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award (1999), NLOWE Entrepreneur of the Year NL 2000), Sara Kirke Award – Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) (2002), and the Canadian Muslim Contributors to the Business Sector – Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) (2005).

Mona’s own favourite quality is her love of helping others. In 2019, this very quality won her a community service award offered by the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland & Labrador (PEGNL).

Directors at Large


Reem Abdel-Rahim
Director at large


Reem Abdel-Rahim is a current fourth year student at Memorial University pursuing a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Biochemistry. She attended her first WISE event during her freshman year in university, and was moved by the organization’s efforts and purpose. Reem is currently the VP Science of the WISE undergraduate society. In addition to being involved with WISE, Reem is also currently a Memorial Student Ambassador and an executive on the biochemistry society. She also volunteers much of her time as a Volunteer Assistant with the Student Volunteer Bureau, and as an organizer of Welcome Week with the Student Experience Office, in addition to other activities.

Reem is passionate about medicine, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration. She enjoys thinking innovatively and making the most of new opportunities, and feels excited to work alongside professionals in the industry.

In her free time, Reem enjoys exploring her artistic side through drawing and working on arts and crafts projects.


Jennifer Bessell
Director at large


Jennifer Bessell is currently the chief executive officer with the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. Jennifer is an accomplished senior leader in the non-profit sector with extensive experience in both professional associations and charitable organizations. She has held executive director roles in both professional legal education and with the Canadian Bar Association as well as executive positions with the Association for New Canadians locally and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada nationally. Jennifer has a demonstrated ability to lead and motivate teams with a people first approach to leadership. She is an experienced executive leader who enjoys both program and finance management. Jennifer is currently the Vice-Chair of the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada and volunteers with Junior Achievement of NL.

Jennifer is passionate about lifelong learning and helping others achieve success in their professional endeavours. She considers coaching and mentoring a responsibility of leadership. As such, Jennifer is driven to help women and youth realize their potential and be successful in their journey as entrepreneurs.


Morgan Chafe
Director at large


Morgan was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 2020. She received a Bachelor of Commerce (Co-op) from Memorial University in 2016, and her Juris Doctor from the University of New Brunswick in 2019. Morgan is a vocal activist for BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and women’s’ rights. When she is not practicing law, Morgan is taking care of her goldendoodle, Cooper, or exploring all the beautiful sites (and food) Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer.





Rachel Coombs
Director at large


My name is Rachel Coombs, and I am a Term 6 Civil Engineering Student at MUN. I am from Portugal Cove South, a small community on the southern Avalon. I first became involved with WISE when I was a SSEP participant in 2015. I have worked with the SSEP program as a coordinator and have been volunteering with WISE since 2017. I have served on WISE-US as VP Engineering, President, Past-President, and now Treasurer. In addition to my involvement with WISE, I am the Director of Sports for the MUN Engineering Student Society (A), Youth Representative for the Mistaken Point World Heritage Advisory Council, and Class Co-Representative for the MUN Civil Engineering Class of 2022.


Sarah Shannon
Director at large


Sarah Shannon graduated from Mechanical Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2016. Upon graduating Sarah moved to Toronto for Ontario Power Generation’s Engineer-in-Training program where she worked within the Machine Dynamics group learning about vibration and acoustics. Sarah moved back to Newfoundland in 2019 to work as a Rotating Equipment engineer with Aker Solutions, which included frequent trips offshore to the SeaRose FPSO. Recently, Sarah has started a new job as Mechanical Project Engineer with Newfoundland Hydro focusing on Thermal Generation. Sarah has previous experience with WISE NL from being the undergraduate student representative while attending MUN.


Mahya Soleimani
Director at large


My name is Mahya Soleimani Jadidi, and I am a Ph.D. student at Memorial University, department of electrical and computer engineering. I did my bachelor and master in computer engineering in my homeland, Iran. After graduation, I spent the further 5 years working as a computer engineer in Tehran, practicing software development along with team lead. Then I decided to continue my journey towards becoming a professional engineer in computer security, which is my passion, by doing my Ph.D., and here I am.

Since I came to the Memorial University, I have been involved with several activities as a volunteer, and a summary of them are as follows:

  • Executive board member – Treasurer – Women in Science and Engineering, Graduate Student Society (WISE GSS), from October 2019 to now
  • Executive board member – President – Association of Iranian students at MUN (MUN Iranians), from December 2019 to September 2020
  • Board of directors – Graduate Students Union (GSU), Winter 2019
  • MUN Iranian – Event handler team, Winter and Spring 2019
  • (SVB’s Bronze and Silver medals are obtained for this experience)


Yanitza Trosel
Director at large



My name is Yanitza Trosel. I am a PhD student of Condensed Matter Physics at Memorial University of Newfoundland. I studied my undergrad and Master in Physics in Venezuela, where I found my area of research: Biophysics. I came to Canada and joined MUN back in 2017. My research is in an interdisciplinary area of biophysics known as Macromolecular Crowding and Intrinsically Disordered Proteins. Currently, I am focused on my PhD degree and the empowerment of women in Science. I enjoy volunteering with programs like WISE GSS, WISE NL, and Let’s Talk Science.

In my personal time, I enjoy climbing, nature photography, hiking, painting and knitting.



Clare Graves
Program Administrator



My name is Clare Graves and I am the Program Administrator with WISE NL. I am a native Newfoundlander with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Medicine from MUN. I have had a passion for science and learning since my experience with WISE SSEP back in 2007! I am an avid sports fan, music lover, runner and reader! In my spare time I like to spend time with my husband, Wayne, stepdaughter, Addyson and our dog, Mika!