InitiaSciences was founded in June 2021 by Caroline Piaulet, with the help of Léa Delesalle, Mélanie Le Berre, Thomas Vandal and Karelle Contant, five master’s and doctoral students in STEM fields. On October 1, 2021, InitiaSciences officially became a non-profit organization (NPO), as the first student-run mentorship organization of its kind in Quebec. Subsequently, at the end of October and the beginning of November, three new people joined the team: Marie-Eve Naud, Léo Guiramand and Amy McMackin. Learn more about each member of this fabulous team below!

Caroline Piaulet - President

Fascinated by science, the mysteries of the Universe and passionate about scientific communication, I turned to the field of astrophysics. I am a doctoral student at the University of Montreal at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), where I study the internal structure, formation, and composition of the atmosphere of planets outside our solar system. I deeply love my field of study and take great pleasure in my research and in sharing my work with various audiences through conferences, workshops, video capsules, or interviews. With InitiaSciences, my mission is to share my passion for science by making young people actors in cutting-edge university research!

Léa Delesalle - Vice-President

As a veterinarian and doctoral student in epidemiology, I am very interested in issues at the interface of humans and their environment. New diseases from wildlife, such as avian flu; farm animal health and food safety; conflicts between humans and animals; the conservation of species… All these issues are becoming increasingly important under the influence of global changes. I want to help prevent them and find lasting solutions. This is why I specialize in the Une seule santé (one health) and Écosanté (eco-health) approches, which recognize interconnectivity between human, animal, and environmental health. For my doctorate, I use these approaches to address health issues at the human-dog interface in northern communities in Quebec. I am also passionate about scientific communication, and am always enthusiastic about spreading knowledge via podcast, video… or with InitiaSciences!

Mélanie Le Berre - Secretary

I’m a graduate of the physiotherapy program at McGill University, and since 2019 am a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Sciences at UdeM. My work takes place in the laboratory of the Canada Research Chair in Urogynecological Health and Aging. I am interested in issues surrounding health and access to care for older women, and various issues related to the pelvic floor.

Thomas Vandal - Treasurer

I am a doctoral student in astrophysics at the University of Montreal and I am part of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx). I study the planets that are outside the solar system., and my research activities cover different topics such as the detection of planets, the calculation of their mass, and the study of their atmosphere. In these various projects, I have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art instruments such as the James Webb space telescope, and the SPIRou and NIRPS high-resolution spectrographs located at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and at the La Silla in Chile. I really enjoy sharing the results of my work and discussing the topics surrounding it. I am therefore very happy to participate in InitiaSciences, because it is a new way of communicating the world of research and astronomy.

Karelle Contant - Administrator

Passionate about science, I love sharing my knowledge with those around me! For 8 years now I have been immersed in the biotechnology industry. After obtaining my baccalaureate in microbiology and immunology, I enrolled in a master’s degree in applied microbiology at the National Institute for Scientific Research. I am currently interested in the inhibitory effects of several compounds on the viral replication of coronaviruses. Apart from this project, I have worked in the world of probiotics, and the study of behavior between good and less good intestinal bacteria. The interactions between microorganisms and the immune system fascinate me enormously – it’s a field I love to discover and share!

Léo Guiramand - Mentor Training

I am a doctoral student in physics at the École de Technologie Supérieure. I am interested in light and more particularly terahertz light. The goal of my research is to develop devices using this invisible light to take images. Rather experimental as a person, I like to transmit and disseminate scientific knowledge through experimentation and demonstration. Participating in the InitiaSciences project means encouraging the opening of the doors of the laboratories to the general public, which I believe is very important.

Amy McMackin - Web & Social Media

As a Master’s student in chemistry at the Université du Québec à Rimouski and an intern at the Quebec Agrifood Innovation Center (CDBQ) in La Pocatière, I study different ways to use food industry waste. In addition to research, I am passionate about science communication, which motivated me to launch my own science and environmentalism blog. I want to share my interests for research and science journalism with other individuals, hence my delight in contributing to InitiaSciences! As an Anglophone New Brunswicker, proud to have called the Lower-Saint-Lawrence region home for the past several years, I hope to help make this program accessible to all young Quebecers in the years to come.

Marie-Eve Naud - Advisor

My interests focus on exoplanets and the search for life elsewhere in the Universe, hence my H doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Montreal. Since the end of my graduate studies in 2016, I have devoted myself, within the iREx (Institute for Research on Exoplanets) and the program Discovering the universe, to education and scientific communication. I seek to contribute to the democratization of science, and to the development of scientific culture and opportunities to revive the wonder of nature in all people, young and old. I am delighted to be able to contribute to the InitiaSciences project. This student initiative, a first in Quebec, is a golden opportunity allowing young people to “do” science!

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