Women wanted:

By Ryan Pelletier

The National Research Council of Canada is offering women in sciences and engineering a chance to work in their field of study. Through the Women in Engineering and Science Program, NRC hopes to encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering and science, and promote research and development opportunities.

“We want to encourage women to pursue their career,” said WES Coordinator Marie-France Jajnon. “After the tragedy in MontrĂ©al in 1989 [where 14 women were killed] we decided to do something to pursue a career in the sciences.”

Those who are selected for the WES program become part-time salaried employees of NRC receiving $10,000 for each 16-week summer work term every year for up to three years. Selected applicants also have the opportunity to represent WES at schools, job fairs and information sessions in their area.

“This is a very competitive process,” said professor of Geomatics Engineering Dr. Elizabeth Cannon. “These young women have to have exemplary academic ability. This program is an excellent complement to their engineering and science studies and gives them an opportunity to get exposure to research and material that might not otherwise be available to them at the undergraduate level.”

Students are placed in a specific program relating to their field of study and work closely with both a mentor and a supervisor, allowing interaction with an established member of that field.

“We announced the program in 1990 and the year after had 25 applicants,” said Jajnon. “We now receive between 125-130 applications per year.”

To be eligible for the WES program you must: be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada; have a high academic standing and show leadership qualities; be currently attending a Canadian university and apply to your university by Oct. 15 of the year you wish to participate.

“Through a survey we conducted on past members last year we found that the placement of students in the WES program, upon graduation has been very high,” said Jajnon. “We have the best of the best here.”

Up to three nominees are submitted from each university.

A panel of NRC researchers carefully reviews all submissions and makes the final decision.

“The NRC is taking leadership in addressing the under representation of women in the field of study and research,” said Cannon. “When you look at the numbers, one couldn’t argue that it is a bad thing to do.”

For more information or an application form, go to Student Awards and Financial Aid in MacKimmie Library Block.

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