SETAC Africa Women’s Event (SAFWE)

Women Capacity Development for Equitable Societies and Sustainable African Development

1:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m. | Tuesday, 7 May | Room: 2.61–2.63 | Cost: $28

The event is almost fully booked, but a few seats are still available for women that may want to participate. You can register online or email Beatrice Opeolu.


Marshall Sheldon, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Technology, Innovation and Partnerships) of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa, will officially open the event. Six women leaders from Africa, Europe and United States of America will facilitate the event. They include:

Convener: Beatrice Opeolu

Beatrice Opeolu

For more information about the event, contact Beatrice Opeolu.

Annegaaike Leopold

Annegaaike Leopold  (The Netherlands)

My 48-Year Journey Back to Cape Town – the Experiences of an Ecotoxicologist

Annegaaike Leopold studied biology at Leiden University in The Netherlands and specialized in ecotoxicology at Wageningen University after spending her childhood abroad. The four years she spent as a young child in South Africa greatly inspired her choice to become a biologist! She has been working as an applied environmental toxicologist for almost 30 years in the field of regulatory ecotoxicology and environmental fate, with a specific focus on endocrine ecotoxicology in birds, amphibians and fish. She worked at – what is now – Charlies River Laboratories in the Netherlands, first as head of the aquatic toxicology laboratory and then as head of the avian toxicology laboratory, which she helped set up. She then joined forces with the environmental contract laboratory, Wildlife International, in Maryland, USA. She developed the European market with and for Wildlife and subsequently ran the global business development of the larger entity that Wildlife had become part of after being bought by private equity. More recently, she has become increasingly interested in field of transfer of science to policy and how to consider the societal context in which regulatory decisions are made, relating to chemicals in the environment.

Annegaaike’s active engagement as a member of SETAC (since 1991!) and over the past 4 years as a member of the SETAC Europe Council, allows her to optimally apply her background in regulatory toxicology, her commercial experience and passion for inter-personal and international understanding. One of her priorities in her SETAC role is to contribute to a common understanding among scientists, policy makers and the public in the process of enhancing environmental quality, through special sessions at SETAC Europe annual meetings and involvement in the Science and Risk Communication Interest Group. This is also one of SETAC Europe’s strategic goals for the period 2018-2020. She is currently Vice President of SETAC Europe.

Blair PaulikBlair Paulik

Advocating for Yourself in the Workplace as a Woman in Science

Blair Paulik is an Environmental Toxicologist at Maul, Foster, & Alongi (MFA), a regional consulting company in the United States. She has a PhD in environmental toxicology from Oregon State University and a B.S. in biological sciences from Clemson University. In addition to her technical expertise, Paulik takes every opportunity she can to pursue her passion for science and risk communication. She completed a Science Communication Fellowship with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and has a long resume of communicating technical topics to diverse audiences. Paulik has been actively volunteering with SETAC since 2011. She has served SETAC in various capacities, including as chair of the SETAC North America Student Advisory Council, chair of the SETAC North America Early Career Committee and ambassador from SETAC North America to SETAC Latin America. She is passionate about connecting SETAC members with networking and career advancement opportunities. She is especially passionate about empowering other women in SETAC to meet and exceed their career goals. SETAC has given her this gift, and she believes strongly that it is her responsibility to help give that gift back to SETAC, and she is specifically excited to direct these efforts toward helping women in SETAC. She is excited to continue this work at the SETAC Africa 9th Biennial Conference.

Gertie Arts

Gertie Arts (The Netherlands)

Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Science: What Can We Learn From Each Other and How Can We Help Each Other?

Gertie H.P. Arts studied biology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen in The Netherlands. She has a PhD in the Natural Sciences and Aquatic Ecology at the same University. She is an aquatic ecologist and aquatic eco-toxicologist by profession. She works at Alterra as a senior scientist in the Environmental Risk Assessment team. She works on the ecological evaluation of pesticide-risks and on ecological and other aspects of freshwaters in the landscape, e.g. multistress, eutrophication and ecological effects of toxicants. She is a project leader in the field of aquatic macrophyte and freshwater risk assessment, and she performs and directs experimental research in the laboratory and in mesocosms. Her research focuses on the effects of contaminants on aquatic and terrestrial plants, including aquatic macrophytes, populations and freshwater ecosystems in different experimental settings and at different levels of biological organization. Within the Dutch Pesticides Research Program, she participates as a project representative for “Ecological Risk Assessment of Pesticides,” dealing with the effects and ecological risks in surface water. Because of her broad ecological and abiotic knowledge of aquatic ecosystems, she has been involved in the Natura 2000 reporting of aquatic habitats in The Netherlands and in projects within the context of the European Union Water Framework Directive and its application. Since 2006 she has been playing an active role in SETAC. From May 2015 until May 2016 she was President of SETAC Europe, and currently she is president of the SETAC World Council.

Lorraine Maltby

Lorraine Maltby

Promoting Gender Equality in Science: Lessons Learned From Athena SWAN

Lorraine Maltby is Professor of Environmental Biology and Deputy Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her research aims to understand how ecosystems respond to environmental stressors and the consequences of these responses for the contributions ecosystems make to human wellbeing. The output from this research is used to inform environmental decision-making and to influence policy development and implementation. Lorraine has served on UK government advisory committees and was chair of the Environment Panel of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides. She has held science-policy fellowships with the UK and Scottish governments and is a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals. She is an elected Fellow of SETAC and was the inaugural President of the SETAC World Council.

Nonkosi Tyolwana

Nonkosi Tyolwana

Safe and Inclusive Spaces for Sustainable Development: Making Girls’ Education Count!

Nonkosi Tyolwana holds a M.A. in Governance and Transformation from Free State University and a M.A in Sociolinguistic from the University of Stellenbosch. She also received a B.A. Hons and Bachelor of Education at University of Western Cape and Rhodes University respectively. She started her career as a lecturer at Rhodes University before joining the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, which later became the Department of Women in the Presidency. In March 2018, she joined the Cape Peninsula University as the Director of Transformation, Social Cohesion and Diversity.

Nonkosi has a wealth of experience in social and economic transformation space, including gender and spaces, gender-based violence, equity, social justice and human rights, as well social and economic transformation across sectors. She has served in various gender machineries and professional structures on gender and transformation. She participated in various national and international conferences such as the Women in Leadership platforms, United Nations Convention on the Status of Women (UNCSW), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification on Gender and Poverty Feminization, Gender & Food Security including Global Gender and Climate Change (GGCA), Southern African Development Community and African Union gender conferences, as well as Resolution 1325 on Women in Peace and Mediation. She has authored two books and presented conference papers nationally and internationally.

Patricia Bi Asanga Fai

Patricia Bi Asanga Fai (Cameroon)

The African Woman’s Great Hunger: To change Her Life and Make a Difference in Africa

Fai obtained a B.Sc. in Zoology (1997) and a M.Sc. in Zoology, specializing in Ecology and Environmental Biology (1998) from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. She returned to Cameroon after her M.Sc. degree to seek for a job. She was recruited as an assistant lecturer in the Department of Animal Biology at the University of Dschang, Cameroon, in 1999 and has been working at this institution since as lecturer and researcher. She obatined the Commonwealth Scholarship to the UK for her PhD studies in Environmental Toxicology at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, from 2004 to 2007. She returned to the University of Dschang in 2008 and has been delivering lectures and practical classes to undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as supervising MSc and PhD research students. She has supervised 12 M.Sc. and one Ph.D. students, who have successfully defended their theses and published 12 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is currently supervising three M.Sc. and four Ph.D. students, who are at various stages of completion. In 2013, she was appointed as Head of Division for Admissions and Students’ Records at the College of Technology (COLTECH) of The University of Bamenda, a post she holds till date. She also gives lectures at COLTECH. Fai has received several fellowships and awards, including:

  • A post-doctoral grant at the University of East Anglia (UEA) Norwich, UK, and served as a Senior Research Associate from November 2007–July 2008
  • A research grant from the International Foundation for Science (2010)
  • A six months Commonwealth Fellowship to the UK (2011)
  • A Sub-Award as part of a team of researchers of The West Africa-Michigan CHARTER II for GeoHealth (2015)

Fai is also a member of several scientific organizations and networks, including SETAC, Cameroon Society for Toxicological Sciences, Cameroon Forum for Biological Sciences, West African Regional Pesticides Network and Global Environmental and Occupational Health.

She was the Vice and Acting President of SETAC Africa from 2011–2013 and eventually the President from 2013–2015 during which SETAC Africa became an independent Geographic Unit. During that time she helped organize conferences in Buea, Cameroon (2011); Lusaka, Zambia (2013); and Langabaan, South Africa (2015). As a result of these and other initiatives, she earned a Presidential Citation in November 2015, which is a special recognition by the President of SETAC North America for significant contribution to SETAC. She participated in giving lectures during the one-day introductory course on risk assessment at the SETAC Africa meeting in Calabar (2017). She is also part of the team of trainers for the risk assessment course during the joint SRA World Congress and SETAC Cape Town meeting.