NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Dr. Yujun Shi

I believe if everyone shows respect for others’ work, we can create a good and inclusive environment for us to enjoy work in.

Professor, Chemistry
University of Calgary

Dr. Yujun Shi is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry of Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary. She received her BSc and MSc from Soochow University in Suzhou, China and her PhD from the University of Western Ontario (now Western University). She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences at the National Research Council in Ottawa on an NSERC Visiting Fellowship in Canadian Government Laboratories.

Dr. Shi’s research interest is in the applications of laser analytical and spectroscopic techniques. Of particular interests are the investigation of hot-wire chemical vapor deposition chemistry at a molecular level, the chemical vapor deposition of silicon nanostructures and the employment of pulsed laser induced dewetting technique for the formation of metal nanoparticles. See my website for more information.

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

I like interacting with the students either in classrooms or in research laboratories. To see students learn new knowledge, develop various skills, and more importantly, show passions for science is a real joy to have.

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

My group develops laser-based gas-phase diagnostic tools to study the reaction chemistry in chemical vapor deposition and its applications for silicon-containing thin films and nanostructures. We also study the use of pulsed laser induced dewetting technique for the formation of metal nanoparticles for applications in fuel cell catalysts and chemical sensors. I am excited by the fact that you can carefully design an approach to tackle some long-time challenge.

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

The students trained in my group can find opportunities in analytical chemistry and oil and gas industry. They can also pursue an academic career.

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

I believe if everyone shows respect for others’ work, we can create a good and inclusive environment for us to enjoy work in.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

I will try to foster and encourage diversity by being open and respectful for everyone. Currently I am involved in the working group for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (WIDE) for the Canadian Society for Chemistry.

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

I think we should provide more scholarships to female students and make mentorship available to every woman in science and engineering.

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

Follow your passion, set some goals and put solid work to achieve the set goals. You can do it!

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

I have had many role models and mentors including my high-school chemistry teacher who really got me interested in chemistry, and also my MSc, PhD and PDF supervisors. I am thankful to all of them.