Undergraduate female engineering enrolment highest in Canada

By Jackey Locke | Nov. 15, 2013

At 29 per cent, Memorial University's percentage of female first-year undergraduate students is the highest of any major Canadian engineering school.

Engineering student Kaitlin Quinlan

Increasing female enrolment has been a longtime priority of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; the most recent 

data indicates Memorial’s leadership in recruiting women to the field.

“One of our important ongoing goals in recruitment and retention is student diversity and women in engineering,” said Dr. Greg Naterer, dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “We are pleased that our number of and proportion of female undergraduate students has been increasing, and we hope to continue improving as we move forward and expand our faculty. Engineering is an exciting, rewarding and fulfilling career choice.”

With a long-standing tradition of graduating exceptional engineers, a co-operative education model, a unique process engineering program and North America’s only undergraduate program in ocean and naval architectural engineering – it’s not surprising that Memorial is the top choice of female students who want to pursue an undergraduate engineering degree.

As part of its Vision 2020 strategic plan, the faculty plans to double itself over the next six years. It aims to increase the number of graduates from 155 to 250 by the year 2020, and a significant part of the growth plan is to increase female enrolment.

“We have several engineering scholarships and initiatives at the undergraduate level in support of female students,” said Dr. Naterer. “We support Women in Science and Engineering Newfoundland and Labrador initiatives and encourage parents who have daughters exploring their options for post-secondary education to consider engineering. We’re hoping that engineering can become a more traditional career option for women.”

New Brunswick native Margot Grant is an Engineering One student, which refers to the common first-year coursework that all engineering students must complete.

“While I am still trying to figure out my education, my decision to enrol in Memorial’s engineering program was based on my interest in pursuing a career that encourages women and because of its co-operative education engineering program,” she explained.

Jessica MacLean, a third-year civil engineering student, is from Halifax, N.S., and is happy with her choice to move further east to pursue an undergraduate engineering degree.

“I chose Memorial University to pursue my engineering undergraduate degree because of the 24 months of co-operative education included in the program, as well as the affordable cost of tuition,” she said.

For Dr. Naterer, a welcoming and supportive environment for female students like Ms. Grant and Ms. MacLean to study engineering is important. The faculty will continue building upon its existing initiatives and expanding to others in a multi-year action plan that aims to increase student diversity and women in engineering.


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