March 23, 2015
On International Women’s Day, U of T Engineering launched a new website to support student recruitment. Called “Say Yes to Engineering,” the site works in tandem with Discover Engineering’s existing recruitment initiatives to showcase the incredible opportunities available to engineering applicants if they choose U of T.
Highlighting inspirational role models, clubs and athletic teams, personal stories, information about programs and a look at some of the diverse career options available to engineers, the site is part of a continued Faculty-wide effort to increase female engineering enrollment at U of T and beyond.
“We asked students why they chose U of T Engineering and what barriers they faced when applying,” said Michelle Beaton, associate director, Engineering Student Recruitment & Retention Office. “The new site will be instrumental in breaking down some of those barriers. It shows students what a degree in engineering can truly mean for their careers.”
At 30.6 per cent, female enrolment in first-year programs at U of T Engineering is the highest in Ontario, and among the highest in Canada. Currently, one quarter (25.8 per cent) of the Faculty’s undergraduate population is female, compared to a province-wide average of 19.7 per cent.
“The Say Yes to Engineering website represents one of the many ways the Faculty is fostering a culture of diversity,” said Acting Dean Brenda McCabe. “We want women to see the engineering profession for what it is: a vibrant, innovative field where people solve global challenges. The opportunities for engineers are endless and we need more women to see that potential.”
The new website is part of a larger strategy to increase female enrolment. Other initiatives include poster campaigns, high school outreach, targeted programs for youth such as U of T Girl Guide Badge Day and Girls Jr. DEEP, and media outreach.
“I wish I had something like this when I was applying to university,” said undergraduate student Chandini Chandrabalan (ECE 1T7), whose favourite part of the website is a series of insightful letters that current students retrospectively wrote to their high school selves.
“It adds a very personal touch and gives students something to relate to,” she said.
“It is remarkable how far we’ve come in encouraging women to pursue engineering, but we still have a long way to go,” said McCabe, who shared that adding that only 11.7 per cent of professional engineers in the country were female in 2013, according to Engineers Canada.
“Showcasing female student, faculty and alumni role models alongside the rich academic environment at U of T Engineering is an important step in growing the number of women who say ‘yes’ to engineering,” she said.