Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
January 27, 2005
U of G, secondary school host engineering symposiums for girls
The University of Guelph is partnering with Listowel District Secondary School to host the first of three one-day symposiums designed to encourage girls to explore careers in electronics, engineering and automation.
The Feb. 2 event is organized by U of G engineering professor Valerie Davidson, holder of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) chair for women in science and engineering, with LDSS principal Jackie Campbell, and electronics teacher Blair McKay.
It is sponsored by the Professional Engineers of Ontario/Ontario Society of Professional Engineers and the Perth Community Futures Corporation, and runs from 2 to 7:30 p.m. in the high schoolís eLab, a $500,000 custom-designed electronics facility, located at 155 Maitland Ave. S.
A variety of activities are planned to provide participants with hands-on experience and the opportunity to interact with successful women who are working in male-dominated fields like electrical engineering, computer engineering and mechatronics. Students will receive an introduction to computer engineering, electronics and robotics and hear talks by female speakers, including Davidson, who will outline employment opportunities.
In Canada, women represent only 17 per cent of first-year university engineering students, and only 22 per cent of professionals in science and engineering.
Davidson's role as NSERC chair is to increase participation of females in science and engineering and provide role models for women considering careers in these fields. She said women are often discouraged from considering careers in science and technology because they arenít aware of career possibilities.
The organizers are targeting Grade 8 because those students are starting to make critical decisions about foundation science and mathematics courses ó knowledge that will be necessary for any future post-secondary science and engineering programs.
During the symposium, parents are invited to participate in a 6:30 p.m. session to learn about high-tech educational opportunities at the secondary school level. This will help parents assist their daughters in making informed decisions about their future.
This particular event involves participants from the Listowel area only. In the coming months, girls from Stratford and Guelph will travel to Listowel for similar symposiums and have the chance to work in the eLab, which boasts multi-level lighting, advanced acoustics, a built-in data projector, a Smart Board, and advanced computer hardware and software.