Female Students the Focus of Science Event
Breaking down barriers and boosting interest in science for girls was the focus of the Quantum Leaps event held at Selkirk College’s Castlegar Campus earlier this semester.
Organized by the Kootenay Association for Science & Technology’s GLOWS Program (Growing, Learning Opportunities with Science) in partnership with Selkirk College, Quantum Leaps brought more than 80 girls in Grades 10 to 12 to The Pit for an evening of workshops and speakers.
"Girls continue to be underrepresented in the science, technology and trades careers,” said Selkirk College Recruitment Specialist Amy Byers. “Selkirk wants to support girls choosing to pursue these types of careers and make them accessible by starting one or two years towards a degree or completing a full trades certification right here at Selkirk. The perfect example of this is our new Rural Pre Medicine Program."
More than 80 high school girls turned out to Quantum Leaps on the Castlegar Campus earlier this semester.
GLOWS Coordinator Beth Corven has been working with school districts around the West Kootenay-Boundary region to build interest in science careers. The Quantum Leaps event was one of the initiatives undertaken to bolster participation.
Selkirk Instructors Praised for Effort
Students who attended the evening took part in workshops that included biology, GIS, digital arts, nursing, geography and electrical. All workshops were led by Selkirk College instructors and the panel group participants that consisted of various women working in science, trades and technology.
“I was incredibly impressed with the Selkirk instructors who were willing to lead workshops for student groups after a long day of teaching and facing the next day of teaching as well,” said Corven. “The time and effort they spent in developing workshops that would engage and involve teenage girls was appreciated by all who took part.”
The keynote speaker at Quantum Leaps was Dr. Elizabeth Croft, a professor of mechanical engineering and Associate Dean of Education and Professional Development for the Faculty of Applied Science at UBC. Croft founded Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology in order to attract, recruit and retain women in engineering and science careers.
Also included in the evening was a panel discussion that included an array of science, technology and trades representatives including: Ellie Knight, Heather Johnson, Dixie Nicks, Elina Walden, Delia Roberts, Amber Hayes and Wendy Kelly.
“Many students learned about entirely new fields, such as GIS or different types of nursing, with some saying that they were now interested in pursing these fields after high school,” said Corven.
The event was made possible through the generous support of Columbia Basin Trust, NSERC PromoScience, Teck, Columbia Power, FortisBC, AMEC, Retriev Technologies and the Association for Physical Engineers and Geoscientists of BC.