|Transitions in Science
WISEST helps females make the transition from scientific play to scientific scholarship.
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
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
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