On October 22 and 23, Durham College (DC), in partnership with Ontario Power Generation, hosted over 550 girls in Grades 7 to 9 from several regional school boards for a program of exploration and inspiration aimed at connecting young women with careers in science, technology and skilled trades.
The two-day conference featured keynote presentations from serial inventor and speaker Ann Makosinski and entrepreneur and HGTV designer Jo Alcorn. Students participated in hands-on workshops while taking advantage of DC’s industry-grade facilities and innovative learning spaces.
“This conference has been a fantastic way for us to introduce the next generation of women to careers in science, technology and the skilled trades, helping them to discover new skills and capabilities,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “By doing this early in their academic career, these students are able to see the possibilities for their future, giving them more opportunities to explore paths they may not have considered before.”
A selection of unique programming was offered throughout the conference, including workshops that allowed attendees to write code, test out a welding simulator, build robots, create a sheet metal candle holder, patch and plug a tire and frame a wall. The students also had opportunities to perform scientific experiments in industry-grade laboratories that included conducting an acid-base titration and testing water to simulate how water plant operators test chlorine levels in our drinking water.
Feedback from students highlighted the positive impact of hearing from two strong and successful female role models. The hands-on opportunities provided them with the chance to experience different career possibilities, expanding their knowledge and interests.