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Mentors and role models critical for gender parity in ‘STEM’ fields

Ontario Tech University hosted Women for STEM Summit on October 17

Women for STEM Summit keynote speaker Beth Wilson, Canada CEO, Dentons, shared her experience and insights with students, individuals and organizational leaders.
Women for STEM Summit keynote speaker Beth Wilson, Canada CEO, Dentons, shared her experience and insights with students, individuals and organizational leaders.

Women bring diverse talents, ideas and approaches to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Yet, women represent less than a quarter of all jobs in STEM fields.

Ontario Tech University is taking bold steps to address this challenge with its Women for STEM program, led by the Women for STEM Council, a volunteer group of regional community leaders. The program has three pillars: scholarships, mentorship and the annual Woman for STEM Summit.

The Council is focused on raising $2 million to provide 200 entrance scholarships and 500 in-course scholarships to be disbursed over the next ten years for women in STEM programs.

At the summit, held on October 17, Power Workers’ Union President Mel Hyatt announced their $250,000 commitment to the Women for STEM Scholarship Fund. Thanks to the support of all donors to the Women for STEM Scholarship fund, we welcomed the first 20 student women who each received a $5,000 entrance scholarship.

The recipients will be paired with a mentor throughout their first year with the goal of building a network of support for women in STEM at Ontario Tech University.

The inaugural summit brought together 190 industry leaders and partners, faculty and students from across the Greater Toronto Area who discussed how women and men each have an important role to play in equalizing gender parity. Next year’s summit will take place October 15, 2020.

Summit speakers and panelists included:

  • Beth Wilson, Canada Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dentons (keynote)
  • Xerxes Cooper, General Manager, Global Technology Services, IBM Canada
  • Farzia Khan, Strategic Manager, Research and Development, BMO
  • Glenn Laverty, President and CEO, Ricoh Canada
  • Lori Livingston, Provost and Vice-President Academic, Ontario Tech University
  • Bruce Mathews P.Eng., CEO of Consulting Engineers of Ontario
  • Stephanie Smith P.Eng., Deputy Site Vice-President, Ontario Power Generation
  • Aneela Zaib, Founder and CEO, emergiTEL

Proceeds from the summit will support Ontario Tech’s Women for STEM Scholarship Fund.


“The Women for STEM Council is determined to help Ontario Tech University succeed in its goal to encourage more women to enter STEM fields and succeed in their careers. We all have a role to play, and we are thrilled our inaugural Women for STEM Summit was so strongly embraced by so many different organizations across the Greater Toronto Area.”
- Nancy Shaw, Chair, Women for STEM Council 

“Ontario Tech University’s focus on external partnerships helped drive the creation of Women for STEM. The empowering program encourages success for our women students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, by focusing on mentorship and networking opportunities, investing in scholarships and celebrating their achievements, all backed by a powerful council of senior female executives.” 
- Dr. Steven Murphy, President and Vice-Chancellor, Ontario Tech University

“Thank you to the Power Workers’ Union for their incredible support of $250,000 for our Women for STEM Scholarship recipients, and for their continued confidence in Ontario Tech University’s ability to produce innovative and adaptable graduates.”
- Susan McGovern, Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement, Ontario Tech University