Durham College connects girls to careers in science, technology and trades at annual conference

On October 25 and 26, girls from regional school boards participated in the Expand the Possibilities 4.0: Young Women in Science, Technology and Trades Conference (YWSTT) hosted by Durham College (DC). The on-campus event, in its fourth year, featured a series of interactive activities designed to foster a sense of curiosity in science, technology and skilled trades and connect Grade 7 and 8 girls to career opportunities in these fields.

To kick off each day of the conference, students heard from tech start-up founder and CEO Jessica Lui and HGTV home renovation expert Kate Campbell, before participating in several hands-on workshops at DC’s state-of-the-art facilities and learning spaces. 

“Women make up only 23 per cent of Canadians employed in science and technology, according to Statistics Canada,” says Bonnie St. George, associate vice president, Academic Administration. “As a post-secondary institution leading the way in science, technology and skilled trades, DC is uniquely positioned to help students surpass any gender barriers to entry in their chosen profession. We hope the conference helps these girls feel encouraged and inspired to pursue a career in a field they might not have considered.”

Students participated in a number of hands-on workshops including science and technology-themed activities, such as building a robot, investigating pond water under a microscope, and studying candy chromatography, the process of separating colours from candy using science. The event also featured a number of skilled trades learning opportunities, such as plumbing, welding and carpentry.

The event garnered praise from attendees, including Mikayla, a student at Monsignor J. Pereyma Catholic School in Oshawa.

 “Kate [Campbell] really inspired me today,” said Mikayla. “After hearing about how she grew up playing baseball around boys who would put her down and how her family supported her choices to do what she wanted to do, I think that would motivate other girls and break the stereotype that girls can’t do sports. Girls can do anything boys can do.”

This event was possible because of the generous support of community partners: Ontario Power Generation, Aecon, Black & McDonald, Elexicon Energy, Enercare, Gerdau, RESCON and Safran Landing Systems.

More information about YWSTT is available online.