TORONTO—Over 50 aspiring female engineers gathered for the third annual Young Women in Engineering Symposium (YWIES) at the University of Toronto (U of T) earlier this month.
The symposium brought together high-achieving high school students for a day of hands-on workshops, talks and discussion panels. The goal was to inspire young women to choose U of T engineering.
The day opened with a presentation by Michelle Beaton, associate director of the engineering student recruitment and retention office. Current U of T engineering student ambassadors led YWIES participants in icebreaker activities, before taking part in workshops facilitated by professor Jason Foster and first-year office professor Chirag Variawa in the faculty's unique technology-enhanced active learning rooms, stated a release.
Following lunch, university professor Molly Shoichet, a world-renowned researcher and pioneering biomedical engineer, delivered the keynote address.
YWIES 2016 concluded with a 'Mythbusters Panel' of engineering students. Moderated by Tessa Pietropaolo, symposium attendees heard firsthand about academics, student life and more from engineering students Anike Morrison, Xinli Tu, Adriana Karababas, Julia Filiplic and Jenn Dixon.
According to the release, diversity is a core value of U of T Engineering. For the past three years, more than 30 per cent of incoming first-year students have been women, and this past fall that number reached 39.6 per cent, the highest proportion in the faculty's history. U of T Engineering undergraduate students come from 75 countries around the world.
The YWIES is just one component of the faculty's commitment to enhancing diversity, alongside innovative outreach programs such as the Girls Leadership in Engineering Experience and the Girls' Jr. Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program.