Diversity in STEM is expanding with help from one of Canada’s largest financial institutions.

With a contribution of $1.04 million to the University of Waterloo, Scotiabank is providing support for talented researchers and students, including scholarships for students who are underrepresented in STEM fields. The investment is part of ScotiaRISE, the bank’s 10-year, $500 million initiative to promote economic resilience among disadvantaged groups.

The new awards include an entrance scholarship for women in computer science, a graduate scholarship for Latin American students in data science, an undergraduate scholarship for Black and Indigenous students in mathematics and a graduate scholarship for Black students in the Master of Mathematics for Teachers program.

The Scotiabank Future of Talent and Innovation Initiative also supports engineering outreach for racialized students in Grades 1 through 12, including Black and Indigenous youth, along with the existing Women in Engineering Initiative and Women in Computer Science (WiCS) outreach program.

“On behalf of the entire University of Waterloo community, I would like to thank Scotiabank for this visionary investment,” says Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor. “As a global leader in STEM education, we know that diversity propels innovation and meaningful change in our world. With this initiative, Scotiabank and Waterloo are encouraging groups who may have felt excluded from STEM to bring their boldest ideas to our campuses and create the future they want for themselves, their communities and the world.”

As part of the initiative, Scotiabank will sponsor events that challenge students to solve urgent industry problems, including issues related to data science and software engineering. Funding for the Artificial Intelligence Institute will support the AI for Social Good program, which calls on researchers to deliver solutions to complex social problems using artificial intelligence.

Students participate in a 2019 event with Women in Computer Science

Students participate in a 2019 Women in Computer Science event.

“Building economic resilience and inclusion are two of Scotiabank’s top priorities,” says Meigan Terry, senior vice-president, chief social impact, sustainability and communications officer at Scotiabank. “We are proud to work with academic institutions across our international footprint such as the University of Waterloo to help remove barriers to career advancement and make a meaningful impact on our communities.”

The Scotiabank Future of Talent and Innovation Initiative reflects the financial institution’s commitment to improve access to education for young people. It also builds on an ongoing partnership with the University of Waterloo that includes support for scholarships, research and teaching facilities. A longtime employer in Waterloo’s co-operative education program, Scotiabank has hired more than 3,000 students since 2004, in roles ranging from financial analysis to marketing to cyber security.

“Without partners like Scotiabank, Waterloo could not deliver the quality of education for which it is known,” says Goel. “We are proud to work with partners to tackle the world’s biggest challenges, and we are excited to see what this initiative will help our next generation of STEM leaders to accomplish together.”