Girls SySTEM Mentorship Program

Recently, with the generous support of the NSERC funding agency, I founded the Girls SySTEM Mentorship Program - Canada's FIRST STEM-focused professional mentorship platform. We aim to inspire young STEMists and increase women's representation in STEM-related fields by pairing girls in grades 8-12 with professional mentors from a diverse range of fields. By doing so, they will be able to acquire first-hand knowledge and experiences early in their academic careers. The statistics are grim, with a reported 20% of Canada's post-secondary STEM students being female. Similarly, women are still vastly under-represented in the STEM workforce, occupying merely 22%. We aim to alleviate the barriers to STEM-based learning and increase STEM education for the next generation of innovators. Research shows that the production of university graduates in science and engineering begins early on, in elementary and high school, when children are exposed to and form opinions about these diverse fields. This is a critical period when students, especially young girls, begin to question their inherent abilities in STEM-related study and formulate gender-biased opinions which impact their capabilities. Therefore, by targeting this important period in their academic careers, our program objectives are three-fold:
1) To raise awareness of the diversity of women holding STEM positions so that we may attempt to alter the belief that STEM roles are solitary or genetically predisposed
2) To sustain girls’ interest in science throughout their high school careers and allow them to experience the first-hand possibilities of STEM fields on their own terms
3) To provide aspiring young girls with positive role models who will empower, support, and guide them towards career decision making

Грант предоставил Kingston (June 2018)