March 8, 2023
Women in Engineering Day helps inspire the next generation
“How do engineers bring Taylor Swift to you?”
It was a question that caught the attention and imagination of more than 230 high school students as the Schulich School of Engineering held its annual Women in Engineering Day on Feb. 23. The pop-star query came courtesy opening remarks by Dr. Laleh Behjat, PhD, Schulich professor and NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (Prairie Region).
She heard responses ranging from recording technologies and speakers, to the mode of transportation Swift uses to travel to her shows, to the stage she performs her hit songs on.
“Engineers are the ones who make the world,” Behjat told the students. “And what we really need is for you to help us make the world.”
The students, ranging from Grades 10 to 12, were then sent on a full day of activities, capturing their creativity in design challenges. They were also able to learn more about Schulich’s departments, programs, clubs and teams.
“The activities were both fun and insightful into the world of engineering,” one student said. “I learned the importance of engineering, how it impacts our world and how many problems could be solved through engineering.”
The day also provided motivation for some of the students to apply to Schulich.
“I liked how the activities were diverse, which allowed me to learn more about the different engineering majors and what they do,” said another student. “The engineering showcase was also fun to attend because I was able to interact with current engineering students and learn more about the experiences they had.”
Organizers say they were impressed with the turnout for the first in-person Women in Engineering Day since 2019, and how involved the students were.
“This was one of the largest groups that we have had since the event launched in 2001,” says Ali Barrett, manager of community and social impact at Schulich. “We take a lot of pride in inspiring the next generation of engineers and changemakers in our world, and we hope this provided that opportunity for all of the students who took part.”
Barrett says planning is already underway for next year’s Women in Engineering Day.