NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Juliette Mammei

Dr. Juliette Mammei

Go for it. Don't let anyone keep you from passionately pursuing your dreams.

Assistant Professor, Nuclear Physics
University of Manitoba

I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2010 and did a postdoc at Jefferson Lab. I started at University of Manitoba in 2012. I actually have been associated with Jefferson Lab for nearly 18 years - I first did an Energy Research Undergraduate Laboratory Fellowship (ERULF) in 1999 as a coop with Juniata College in Pennsylvania. I have completed a detector development laboratory at the University of Manitoba and am the Canadian member the Executive Board of the MOLLER collaboration as well as being the head of the Spectrometer Group for that experiment. I am also the Nuclear Education Scientific Working Group Chair for the Canadian Institute of Nuclear Physics, and serve as a member of the Policy and Planning Advisory Committee (PPAC) for TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics and accelerator-based science. I live with my husband (also a nuclear physicist), my three beautiful children and mischievous cat. I am teaching myself to play the guitar.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

As an educator, my favourite part of my job is seeing the light bulb come on for a student, whether in the classroom or the lab.

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

My research is in fundamental subatomic physics. I use the property of parity violation in the weak interaction to study nuclear and nucleon properties. Most excitingly, my experiments are looking for new force mediators that we have never seen. If found, they could explain many things, including the abundance of dark matter and energy in the universe.

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

As an experimentalist, my work requires the development of new detectors in complex arrangements. Students must become familiar with topics in electrical engineering, computer science and vacuum systems. They have to design detector and magnet systems using simulation code that they help to develop, as well as sophisticated computer codes to analyze the data from the custom detector systems. When they graduate it is possible for them to find employment in a wide range of technical positions, as well as academia.

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

Yes it is. I have had to learn to speak up, and to not be afraid to be wrong. Too often I have not let my voice be heard, even when I was right all along.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

I try not to see things in terms of race, gender or religion any more than I would notice hair color or particular types of shoes. Yes, it is a part of who a person is, but no one thing can completely define a person. I am most interested in a person's passion for learning.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

I think we have to start at the elementary school ages and show girls (and boys) that a scientist doesn't "look like" any particular type of person. I also think it is important to have financial supports in place not just for women seeking maternity leave, but also fathers seeking paternity leave. If paternity leave were more normalized, then women would have more support at home and that would positively impact their careers as well.

What advice would you give to girls or young women who are interested in careers in science or engineering?

Go for it. Don't let anyone keep you from passionately pursuing your dreams.

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?

I have several male and female colleagues. Not to be cliche, but Madam Curie and Madam Wu's breaking into the fields of nuclear physics has always been something that inspired me.