On March 4, Conestoga welcomed girls in grades 7 to 11 to the Cambridge campus for Go CODE Girl. The event is sponsored by the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) and hosted at schools of engineering and information technology across the province each year.
As a volunteer at Go CODE Girl, Computer Programmer/Analyst student Almas Khan helped introduce web development to girls in grades 7 to 11.
ONWiE supports female engineers and students, and encourage the next generation of women to pursue careers in engineering. Go CODE Girl provides an opportunity for girls and their parents to learn about coding and software development, and discover careers in computing and engineering fields.
Keynote speaker Efser Akgol, a 2010 graduate of Conestoga’s Software Engineering Technology co-op program, shared her experiences at the college. Akgol completed her co-op term at BlackBerry and was able to translate her experiences there into a capstone project that won the college’s Mastercraft award.
Akgol credited Conestoga’s faculty and the college’s hands-on applied learning approach for her success, and reminded the girls in attendance that they can achieve success as well.
“If you really want to do this, you just need time and effort,” said Akgol. “Coding didn’t come easy for me so I had to work at it.” She also commended the parents in attendance for offering the girls family support.
The girls were invited to meet with current students and participate in one of two workshops -- Embedded Systems Programming or Web Development -- while Conestoga president John Tibbits welcomed parents and an industry panel that included:
- Keynote speaker Efser Akgol
- Kat Austin - In the Chat Communications
- Nyssa Biedermann - Telus Health - Conestoga graduate of Applied Health Information Science degree program
- Laurie Lafleur - Intelerad - Conestoga graduate of Computer Programme /Analyst program
- Stephanie Rozek - Hive Waterloo Region
- Collette Takacs - Westburne Electric
Panel members shared their industry experiences and reminded parents of the unique technology opportunities that exist in the region. They also stressed the importance of mentorship and events like Go CODE Girl that provide an introduction to technology.
In addition to Go CODE Girl, Conestoga also hosts Go ENG Girl annually in October. The event helps dispel stereotypes in engineering by connecting girls to female engineering students and alumna.
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.