Six HeForShe IMPACT scholarships have been awarded to exceptional female students entering their first year as undergraduates in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The scholarships are part of the University of Waterloo’s commitment to encourage more young women to pursue fields in STEM, where females are currently underrepresented.
Waterloo is the only Canadian university taking part in the UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative to achieve gender parity. As part of this initiative, the University aims increase female representation in STEM education and careers, enhance female faculty representation, and promote female leaders into senior university positions.
The 2017 recipients each have their own unique experiences that sparked their interest in STEM but they are equally as excited to take the next step towards pursuing their passions.
Software engineering student, Heather Musson, recalls learning math before learning to read; she knew early on that she would excel in a STEM field. While both of her parents encouraged her to follow her passions, it was Musson’s father who suggested engineering as the perfect combination of her love for math and science.
With support from her academic advisor and teachers at St. Mildred’s Lightbourn School, Musson was able to narrow down her interest to software engineering.
Beyond Musson’s passion for STEM, she is drawn to the flexibility of being able to work in many different fields. “Technology is everywhere,” says Musson, “almost every company uses some type of technology in their workplace”.
“Pursue something you love,” advises Musson, “Don’t worry about what obstacles you are going to encounter, because you will encounter obstacles, everyone does, but you will overcome [them].”
Musson also recommends finding passions outside of school. “Dedicating upwards of 20 hours a week to horseback riding has also really helped me with my time management and study skills.”
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