On October 14, female students in grades 7 to 10 attended Go ENG Girl at Conestoga’s Cambridge campus where they learned more about the opportunities and careers that exist in the field of engineering.
GO ENG Girl was conceived by the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) which works to dispel stereotypes and encourage girls to explore the field of engineering. According to ONWiE, females are still largely underrepresented in the profession. Although the number of female engineering undergraduates has increased, it still sits significantly below the percentage of males.
Through Go ENG Girl, female students and their parents are invited to visit local engineering schools to talk with faculty, meet female graduates, tour the campus and participate in fun activities. The event began in Ontario, but due to its popularity has expanded across the country. This year, more than 1,500 young women nationwide registered to attend sessions offered at 28 different Go ENG Girl locations.
“We still have a lot of work to do to get girls into post-secondary programs,” said Cynthia Charlebois, a 2016 Mechanical Systems Engineering graduate who was the only female in her program during her first year. Charlebois spoke to parents about her decision to attend Conestoga, why she focused on engineering and the experience she had during the course of her studies.
Charlebois said she appreciated the team building atmosphere she experienced at the college, along with the hands-on learning and real-world projects she completed. Conestoga is the only college in Canada to offer accredited engineering degrees and Charlebois said she didn’t expect to find the same learning approach at universities. She appreciates the value-add her Conestoga experience provided and stressed the importance of the relationships the college has established with industry partners; her co-op placement with a partner led to full-time employment when she graduated.
In addition to Go ENG Girl, Conestoga also hosts Go CODE Girl, which provides an introduction to coding and software, and Jill of All Trades - a day-long event to inspire young women in grades 9 to 12 to learn more about the opportunities that careers in trades and technology provide.
In 2010, Conestoga became the first college in Ontario 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. Both programs feature small classes, project-based learning and co-op work experience to prepare graduates for success in their chosen fields.
The Building Systems Engineering four-year honours degree program is the newest professional engineering degree offering in the School of Engineering and Information Technology. The first cohort will begin August 2018.