Women Still Under-represented
In Post Graduate Sciences

That’s Something WISEST Hopes it Can Help Change

Transitions in Science
WISEST helps females make the transition from scientific play to scientific scholarship. -File Photo

Science, engineering and technology are critical to the Canadian economy and enthusiastic, bright young minds with their diverse outlooks are needed to help these fields grow to their full potential.

Women now comprise slightly more than half of all first-year science students at Canadian universities, up from about 30 per cent two decades ago, but there are still many fewer women than men at the post-graduate level and in decision-making positions in academia and industry.

Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology is a University of Alberta-based organization whose vision is to strengthen science by increasing gender diversity and enhancing choices in science, engineering, technology and scholarship for women of all ages. WISEST has initiated several programs to address this continuing disparity so that everyone can follow their dreams and help build a better tomorrow.

A strong supporter is APEGGA Assistant Director of Professional Practice Lianne Lefsrud, P.Eng. “Through my involvement with WISEST for over 10 years, I have witnessed the direct benefits of their programs,” said Ms. Lefsrud.

“WISEST has assisted in the transition from high school to university, increased awareness of the interesting and varied career options, and facilitated mentoring and role-modeling. These programs serve to improve the attraction and retention of high-potential candidates in engineering and science.”

The WISEST Summer Research Program is a six-week research experience at the University of Alberta for high school students who are making decisions about their future fields of study and career paths. While experiencing what it is like to work in a research laboratory, the exceptional Grade 11 students gain first-hand knowledge of the disciplines that are less traditional for their gender.

For young women, these non-traditional areas include engineering, science and technology, and for young men, nursing, nutrition and human ecology. As active members of a research team, the students gain hands-on experience that enables them to explore their interests and assist them in career decision-making.

WISEST studies show that this program experience strengthens the commitment of the students to careers in the sciences and engineering.

In addition to their lab research experience, the students meet on a weekly basis. They have the chance to talk with women and men in non-traditional careers, tour other laboratories on campus, visit a local industry employing engineers and scientists and become familiar with the University of Alberta campus.

On Research Day, families of the WISEST students, their school principals, science teachers and their sponsors are invited to visit the students in their laboratories, to view their research posters and to talk with the students about their work. A number of social activities are also planned so that the students can meet others who have similar interests.

The WISEST Summer Research Program is financially self-supported; WISEST relies on funding from corporations, foundations, individuals and the public sector to be able to offer this opportunity. The number of students who can participate is limited by the funding available.

Each $2,000 in sponsorship covers the wages of a student during their six weeks of work and part of the program administration. Partners are given recognition at public events, on the WISEST website, in WISEST newsletters and in the annual Student Reports booklet. Press releases and media opportunities also acknowledge Partners.



Visit www.wisest.ualberta.ca


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