Women in Science and Engineering Event
The Urban Systems Foundation Sponsored Event Aims to help Young Females Explore Career Paths
Growing up in Fort St. John, Environmental Engineer Kimberly Gulevich got many things—fresh air, nature, a great community—but when it came to information about career options as a woman interested in science and engineering, there was a gap.
Kim says that in high school, she simply didn’t know full breadth of the non-typical engineering career paths available to her. That’s why, in partnership with the high school she attended and with the support of the Urban Systems Foundation, she hosted Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), a mentoring event for grade 10-12 girls. The event was targeted at young women who wanted to learn more about career options in science and engineering.
“The WiSE event was hosted for females only to provide a safe environment for young females to explore potential career paths in areas outside of traditional female roles,” says Kimberly. “While a gender gap still exists in many science and engineering fields, this is becoming less prevalent, primarily due to continued efforts by professionals and teachers across all fields to expose young females to these different career opportunities.”
Win-Win for Students and Mentors
Forty-five students and 14 peer professional mentors attended the event where together they had lunch and then participated in a “speed” mentoring/networking style workshop and lecture.
Jeff Mayer, the district’s Work Experience teacher, says events like these can make a real impact on students.
“I think it was absolutely fantastic that Kim and Urban Systems were so kind and generous with their time and donation to the community. The event was a real success. The mentors were excellent and the young ladies really enjoyed the variety of different exposure to different fields. This is key information for them to be hearing at this stage.”
After a shared lunch, groups of three or four students moved from one table of mentors to another every eight minutes to ensure they got exposure to new networking situations and experienced all the variety the event had to offer. Mentors offered key tips on “dos and don’ts” of networking and answered questions about career options.
“Everyone was really engaged,” says Kim. “We got some great questions and the mentors provided really valuable feedback. I was impressed that many of these girls already had ideas about what they wanted to do with their careers. I think the mentors enjoyed it just as much as the students did. It was a really safe environment for these girls to learn about the world of options out there for them when they graduate and for the mentors a great opportunity to share what they’ve learned with the students and network with everyone present.”
Looking to the Future
Kim says she hopes to run this event again, and would love to do it annually. After the event many of the mentors suggested additional colleagues they thought would love to participate next time.
“We are so looking forward to working with Kim again in the future,” says Jeff. “She’s a natural leader and we feel lucky she has decided to return back to the community she grew up in. Watching her come back as an educated professional is just fantastic. It’s great to watch her give back to the community like this and it’s a big deal for the students.”
Just for Fun:
Kim started officially working with Urban Systems a year ago after doing four summer terms. She says she loves living in Fort St. John. “I bought a house here so I guess I’m staying!” When she’s not working she is an avid outdoorswoman and loves hiking and camping, snowmobiling and all that nature has to offer.