Mona Nemer - Chief Science Advisor of Canada

CurioCity Careers
29 January 2018

Mona's Students in Lab

Mona Nemer

Chief Science Advisor of Canada

I was born/grew up in: Beirut, Lebanon

I now live in: Ottawa, Canada

I completed my training/education at: American University in Beirut, Wichita State University in Kansas, McGill University in Montreal

Describe what you do at work.

I work with scientists and policy people to develop good ways for the government to use science to make decisions for our society. I also work to promote science to the public. So I collaborate with science and research organizations and the media to help people understand the importance of science.

I am an educator at heart! I could not forget about my students just because I have a new job as Canada’s Chief Science Advisor. So I still regularly see my students at the Molecular Genetics and Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory at the University of Ottawa and I oversee their research and studies.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

I really enjoy explaining science to people—both young and old—and helping them to understand how important science is in our everyday lives. How we use science to make decisions for our society is very important in today’s world. This is because science affects the everyday lives of people—from how we live in our environment, to taking care of our health, to choosing the food we eat. By helping people understand science, we are ensuring that more people will make good decisions for their lives. When the government uses science and evidence to make decisions, this helps to ensure we have good policies and laws for Canadians.

What motivates you in your career?

I want to make the world a better place. I like to make things better for people, institutions and Canada.

I get very excited when I learn something new, or make a new discovery. I also very much enjoy seeing other people learn new things. It demonstrates to me that we grow and develop through science. I get to speak to a lot of scientists from many different fields, and to me, learning from them is one of the most interesting parts of my job. I am a teacher at heart, and in fact I still teach whenever I can. I enjoy explaining science to people, and I think I'm pretty good at taking complicated ideas and making them easy to understand. So in a way, the job of Chief Science Advisor is a good one for me, because I still get to explain science—just to a wider audience that now includes the government.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

I am a curious person, so I have always let my curiosity guide me. I ask a lot of questions about the world, and I have never let myself be pigeonholed into one area of study. For example, I started out as a chemist, but I ended up branching out into the life sciences because I was interested in how these two areas of science could complement each other. It’s important to always challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone—do and learn new things. This is how we grow.

I have also tried very hard to always remember that failure leads to success. When you fail at something, you can learn so much from that, and that is how we grow and develop. I have never been the type of person to be pessimistic if things don’t turn out the way I expected. Being nimble often means finding opportunities that you didn’t previously know existed.

I have also tried very hard to always remember that failure leads to success. When you fail at something, you can learn so much from that, and that is how we grow and develop. I have never been the type of person to be pessimistic if things don’t turn out the way I expected. Being nimble often means finding opportunities that you didn’t previously know existed.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy reading novels and biographies. I like hiking, outdoor activities and dancing. I also have a research laboratory at the University of Ottawa, where I have students whom I am mentoring through graduate studies. It is important to me to keep a strong connection to my students, because not only do I enjoy teaching them but I am constantly learning from them too.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Do what you love and go where the opportunities are. You do not need to know right away exactly where you will end up in your career. In fact, your career will likely change several times in your life, so you may as well be doing what you love and what really strikes your curiosity.

Let’s Talk Science recognizes and thanks Mona Nemer for her contribution to Canada 2067.

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.







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