March is National Engineering Month (NEM), which shines a spotlight on the role of engineering in society and (hopefully!) inspires future engineers to pursue engineering as a career path.
As a soon-to-be mechanical engineering graduate at the University of Guelph, I use Guiding as a way to share my experiences in engineering with girls and young women. Engineering is a field in which women are severely underrepresented, with women comprising approximately 20% of engineering students at Canadian universities1 and less than 10% of licensed professional engineers in Canada2.. This makes it so critical that we inform girls and young women about the exciting opportunities available in engineering.
What can you do to celebrate NEM 2014? In Toronto and the GTA, engineers (and engineering students) are running Mission to Mars meetings with Guiding units. I had the chance to facilitate one of these events during the first week of March and had an amazing time!
The highlight of my night was when one of the Girl Guides in the unit asked me what the solution was to making her Mars rover work. I explained to her that there was not just one correct answer, but that engineers often come up with many workable solutions to solve a problem. She loved that engineering was about creating things that did not yet exist and making them work!
Even if an engineer will not be visiting your unit, you can find out about the activities on the Mission to Mars – NEM 2014 YouTube channel, so you can run the activities in your own meetings. You can also check out the National Engineering Month website to find out about all of the events running in your area and learn more about careers in engineering.
Engineering is a field with endless opportunities and many careers in engineering are about applying creativity towards helping people. Maybe you will help solve global warming or be involved in manufacturing the latest fashion trend. Maybe you will ensure that our buildings are sturdy or that factory workers will not get hurt on the job. Maybe you will create a great new video game or pioneer new ways to resolve toxic waste spills. Maybe you will make cars safer by improving airbags and bumpers or create the next medical innovation and save a life. Maybe you will change the world. Engineering is definitely something to consider as a fun, rewarding and exciting career!
By guest blogger Lauren Patrick, who is a final-year mechanical engineering co-op student at the University of Guelph. She has spent the last five years between the 1st Guelph Sparks, 2nd Guelph Sparks and 14th Vancouver Sparks. She loves how you can always stay involved in Guiding, regardless of where you are living.
Are you a Girl Guide Member who will be enrolled in a science, technology, engineering or math post-secondary program next academic year? Then apply for one of our Girl Guides of Canada scholarships, some of which are specifically for students in these fields. Hurry – applications close April 1!
1 Women in Science and Engineering in Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Ontario
2 Women in science and engineering, Statistics Canada