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University and GM Canada partner to inspire the talented engineers of tomorrow

Elementary students learning at one of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's STEM-education camps.
Elementary students learning at one of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's STEM-education camps.

General Motors of Canada and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) want to encourage students of all ages to pursue exciting careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). That’s because 70 per cent of Canada’s top jobs require a STEM-focused education, yet fewer than half of high school students graduate with any senior STEM courses (source: Let’s Talk Science, October 2016).

The university and automotive innovator are collaborating on four STEM-focused initiatives. Thanks to GM Canada’s generous support and investment, the university can offer influential STEM initiatives ranging from mentoring educators to effectively introducing STEM topics in the classroom. Each initiative aims to deliver a hands-on interactive learning experience to students, demonstrating the real-world impact of STEM-based careers. More than 8,500 students will benefit from these initiatives over the next few years.

STEM-based initiatives and programs

  • c_wonder Maker Truck–Traditional classroom science materials often prevent students from truly appreciating and seeing the wonder, excitement and possibilities that accompany scientific inquiry. This new maker truck, operated by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s Engineering Outreach program, will introduce engineering design to youth in elementary and secondary schools, allowing them to tinker, prototype and share. The hands-on engineering workshops c_wonder can offer are endless and range from advanced robotics to programming. Set to launch by the end of 2017, the program hopes to inspire more than 8,000 students by 2020.
  • Elementary School Teacher Professional Development Program–Partnering with the university’s Faculty of Education, this program helps promote STEM education to elementary school teachers in Durham Region. It will equip them with the knowledge, confidence and tools they need to integrate STEM into the classroom and educate their students with a focus on engineering. The initial pilot project will include 24 teachers from 12 schools, and reach approximately 600 students.
  • ENG SQUAD Summer Camps–The university’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science hosts an annual program for students in grades 4 to 8, focusing on the practical application of science and math to solve every day problems. It inspires youth to explore and investigate their surroundings through a scientific lens and to spark their curiosity about the world around them. This year, GM supported a girls-only week for 20 students, and an additional 20 bursaries for those with financial need.
  • Oshawa Assembly Plant Scholarships–The General Motors Oshawa Assembly plant recently renewed its pledge to support student success at the university. This investment will create a new scholarship that rewards three Mechatronics Engineering students each year for outstanding achievement. A previous student award supported by the assembly plant assisted nine students in the pursuit of their academic dreams.


This collaboration with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology is a continuation of our commitment to advancing STEM opportunities and education. As GM looks to grow our talent pipeline to lead the future of mobility through technologies in autonomous development, connectivity, electrification and car sharing, we plan to build on the success of these programs and fund further initiatives. We believe that helping students build confidence to embrace these fields needs to start in a supportive and encouraging environment at an early age.” 
-Steve Carlisle, President and Managing Director, GM Canada

“Thanks to GM Canada’s support, we launched our new professional development program for Durham Region teachers in the areas of STEM this fall. Our partnership will promote competencies such as communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and global citizenship, while improving the academic achievement and the development of transferable life skills of students.” 
-Janette Hughes, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Technology and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

“GM Canada’s generous investment shows its commitment to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and to strengthening our community as a whole. Their continued contributions to the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s outreach programs will help inspire youth in Durham Region and surrounding communities to explore STEM fields and propel them into exciting careers in engineering.”
-Tarlochan Sidhu, PhD, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology