Girls in grades seven to 10 had the chance to explore the field of engineering at Conestoga’s Go ENG Girl on Saturday, October 15. The free event was held at the Cambridge campus and provided girls and their parents with an opportunity to tour the campus, ask questions and hear from Conestoga students and graduates.
Go ENG Girl events are hosted by engineering schools throughout the province each October. The event was conceived by the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) to help dispel stereotypes in engineering by connecting girls to female engineering students and alumna. ONWiE reports that more females are entering engineering programs, but are still vastly underrepresented in the profession.
Parents in attendance at Conestoga’s event heard keynote speaker Alyssa Neudoerffer - a 2013 Mechanical Systems Engineering graduate - reflect on her experiences and her current position as senior project manager at D&D Automation.
Neudoerffer credited Conestoga’s smaller class sizes and focus on applied learning for helping her learn how to approach problems and solve them - skills that are essential to her current position. She said she also benefitted from having access to Conestoga’s trades programs, noting she could design something and actually build it in a workshop. Outside of class, Neudoerffer served as the first female president of the college’s Engineering Society.
“Young women need the support to do what they want to do,” said Electronic Systems Engineering student Olivia Godwin, who also shared her experiences. Like Neudoerffer, Godwin has appreciated Conestoga’s applied learning approach, as well as its welcoming environment: “There’s a sense here that your contributions are really valued.”
Girls who participated in Go ENG Girl met with female engineering students and took part in hands-on activities that challenged them to solve a problem by working through the engineering design process to find and create a solution. Part of that challenge included making electric circuit bugs using LEDs, batteries, wire and other supplies.
The girls showcased their designs and then joined parents for a tour of the Cambridge campus.
In 2010, Conestoga became the first college in Ontario and the second Institute of Technology in Canada to receive accreditation by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board for an engineering degree program. The college now offers accredited degree programs in Mechanical Systems Engineering and Electronic Systems Engineering.