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Girl-focused outreach wins national award

Monday, May 15, 2017

As Waterloo Engineering’s Associate Dean of Outreach, Mary Wells has worked hard to attract girls to engineering. And not just at Waterloo. She also chairs the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE), a collaboration between 16 schools and faculties of engineering and applied science established to achieve that same goal.

Mary Wells and Minister Duncan and Valerie Davidson at NSERC Science Promotion awards

Mary Wells accepts the NSERC Award for Science Promotion, presented by Minister of Science Kristy Duncan (centre) on behalf of ONWiE, along with Valerie Davidson (right) past NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering.

Now, the network has earned national kudos. On May 15th, Wells accepted the NSERC Award for Science Promotion on behalf of ONWiE. The honour — granted to just one organization each year — is well deserved.

For 12 years, the network’s hands-on programs have been breaking down misconceptions about engineering and encouraging girls to consider a career in the field. Waterloo has been a major contributor to the initiative since day one, hosting events like Go ENG Girl, Girl Guide Badge Days and the new Go CODE Girl.

In total, more than 17,000 girls and 7,000 parents across the province have taken part in these programs — with measurable results.

Since ONWiE’s founding in 2005, Ontario has seen a 21 per cent increase in female students taking Physics 12, a prerequisite for engineering. Meanwhile, the number of young women in Ontario applying to engineering has almost tripled, and they now make up 21 per cent of the province’s undergraduate engineering students.

The NSERC award comes with a $25,000 cheque, giving ONWiE more resources to continue its impressive work.

For more information about ONWiE and their work to collaboratively support current female engineers, students, and encourage the next generation of women to pursue careers in engineering - http://www.onwie.ca/

More information about NSERC Award for Science Promotion.

Formal media information about the NSERC Award for Science Promotion.

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