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Women in Engineering

McMaster Engineering is dedicated to broadening participation in engineering. When you come to McMaster, not only are you part of one the world's top Universities, you are joining the #FireballFamily.

We believe engineering is for everyone and are inspiring young women to change our world by pursuing an engineering degree.

Supporting Women in Engineering 

We support female students of many ages in a variety of ways, from camp programs, clubs, conferences and scholarships for elementary and high school students. Through programs such as career exploration and the experiential learning event Go ENG Girl and others, young girls learn how engineering and science can affect our daily lives for the better.

McMaster Engineering faculty members, many of them women, mentor prospective and current students through speed mentoring, networking and other programs. As well, about half of our women engineering students act as ambassadors on campus and offer peer-to-peer support, for instance through the Big Sister Little Sister program.

Women in Engineering Committee

The Women in Engineering Committee is comprised of female faculty members who meet to discuss issues of importance, such as gender parity, how to support young female engineers and to support one another.

As a committee, we want to inspire, mentor and support women to succeed in engineering.

On the committee, we ensure that faculty members are involved as role models in all outreach activities. We always show strong support in recruiting the next generation of young women who will change the world (and get great jobs). We also help with mentoring young women who are currently enrolled in engineering studies through a variety of events. 

Finally, we work to improve success for female engineering faculty members in our university and others by providing peer mentoring opportunities and hosting workshops.

Alumna Spotlight: Donna Strickland

Donna Strickland (2018 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics Engineering Physics, ‘81)

" When I was a first year in grad school, there were 18 of us in the Ph.D. program, and four of us were women."

In 2018, Strickland was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in 55 years and one of only three in the history of the award. She is currently a professor at the University of Waterloo and is part of a team that helped to develop short and intense laser pulses that have created new areas of research and led to broad industrial and medical applications, including lasers used in millions of eye surgeries conducted each year. Since winning, Strickland has found herself spending more time giving talks around the world than doing science. But the prize has awarded her a unique platform.

More Spotlights

 Feyisayo Enuiyin

Feyisayo Enuiyin

 President, National Society of Black Engineering, McMaster Chapter Chemical Engineering student 

Cheryl Quennville

Cheryl Quennville

Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Liza-Anastasia DiCecco

Liza-Anastasia DiCecco

PhD Materials Science and Engineering

 
Elizabeth Hassan

Elizabeth Hassan

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering 

McMaster Women in Engineering Society (WIE) 

The McMaster Women in Engineering Society (WIE) strives to create a community where female-identifying students feel empowered and supported throughout their education. WIE hosts a variety of events open to all engineering students throughout the year ranging from soldering workshops to industry nights and spa nights. 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

WIE Mentorship Opportunity


The WIE mentorship program matches first years and those new to engineering with upper-year women mentors who can provide guidance and support. WIE additionally conducts community outreach, giving students a chance to go out to local high schools to encourage all female-identifying persons to consider an education in a STEM field.  

WIE: Social Media 

Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) 

The Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) is a network of 26 schools of engineering from across Ontario, and throughout Canada that collectively share resources to encourage young girls across the country to pursue careers in engineering, as well as support current female engineers and students.

ONWiE was formed in February 2005 as part of the vision of the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering held by Professor Valerie Davidson at the University of Guelph.

Learn more about ONWiE 

ONWiE Initiatives

  • Go Eng Girl / GÉNiales, les filles programs at 16 locations across Ontario
  • Girl Guide Badge Days
  • Go CODE Girl programs
  • Collaboration on the new Engendering Success in STEM (ESS) SSHRC Research Grant (2017 - 2024), on which ONWiE is a partner
  • Collection and dissemination of statistics around participation rates in science/math courses in Ontario High Schools, and application rates to engineering programs across Ontario

ONWiE Chair: Kim Jones

Dr. Kim Jones, Associate Chair of Undergraduate Chemical Engineering at McMaster University has been chosen as the new Chair for ONWiE from July 2018 - June 2023. Jones is a seasoned diversity champion. She served as a McMaster Engineering Faculty Leadership Fellow from 2016 to 2017 with a focus on improving diversity.

As a Fellow, Jones introduced a writing group for female faculty members, secured parking for those who are pregnant or on parental leave, worked to better understand the needs of underrepresented groups, supported women in engineering student groups and organized workshops for female faculty members. Dr. Jones is also the chair of the McMaster Women in Engineering Committee, a committee that supports female faculty members.

McMaster Engineering Professor named ONWiE chair

March 8, 2018

McMaster Engineering Professor named ONWiE chair

A McMaster University professor has been appointed as the new chair of the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE).

Mentorship

McMaster Engineering faculty members and alumna speak about the importance of strong female Science, Technology and Engineering and Math role models for young women.

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Mentoring facilitates success and fosters inclusiveness.

  • Undergraduates and professors are involved in all outreach activities
  • Female engineering students act as counsellors in Yes She Can! All-female engineering camps
  • Female engineering undergraduate and graduate students visit their former high schools in the Ambassador program
  • Speed mentoring night brings female industry professionals to share their secrets of success
  • Diversity night brings panellists who share their experiences as minorities in their fields
  • WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) has Mentor of the Month presentations in which female professors share their life and academic experiences
  • The Big Sister/Little Sister BBQ every September is a catalyst to form mentoring partnerships between first year and upper year female engineering students
  • We have a weekly writing group to work on research and to share experiences
  • We host a workshop on skills required for career success
  • We have regular lunches

Mentorship and Friendship at #MacEng

Celebrating International Women's Day by honouring nine women who are supporting each other through mentoring relationships.

Megan Wood and Colleen Jenkins

Megan Wood and Colleen Jenkins

Graduate student Megan Wood and undergraduate student Colleen Jenkins let us sit in on their conversation about women supporting women in STEM, the importance of women in leadership positions and no longer being the only female in the room.

Kathryn Grandfield and Amanda Clifford

Kathryn Grandfield and Amanda Clifford

Materials Professor Kathryn Grandfield and PhD student Amanda Clifford let us sit in on their conversation about women supporting women in STEM, International Women's Day and what sparked their passion for engineering.

Zeinab Hosseini-Doust and Azucena González Gómez

Zeinab Hosseini-Doust and Azucena González Gómez

Assistant Professor Zeinab Hosseini-Doust and alum Azucena González Gómez let us sit in on their conversation about women supporting women in STEM, the power of believing in yourself and not settling for anything.

Cheryl Quenneville, Julia de Lange and Marisa Kohut

Cheryl Quenneville, Julia de Lange and Marisa Kohut

Assistant Professor Cheryl Quenneville and graduate students Julia de Lange and Marisa Kohut let us sit in on their conversation about women supporting women in STEM, developing your career path and the instrumental people you meet along the way.

Gender Equity in Engineering Travel Award

The aim is to stimulate energetic graduate students who wish to bring new, innovative ideas to the faculty on the issues of gender equity and equality by providing them with financial assistance while attending conferences or workshops on such issues.

Up to four awards, each valued up to $3000 for travel expenses, are awarded each year, per graduate student.

For more information, contact Carm Vespi.

Video: 

Azucenza Gonzalez, Gender Equity in Engineering Travel Award Recipient (2018) 

  • MASc Student in Chemical Engineering at McMaster University

Virtual Girl Guide

More than 13,000 Girl Guides across Canada are engaging with the world of engineering, thanks to a new virtual initiative from McMaster’s Venture Academy.

In September, Venture launched the Virtual Girl Guide Workshopsa series of free recorded videos designed for Sparks, Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders groups. The program has been an instant hit, with more than 800 guiding groups participating from all 10 provinces and territories. 

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Go CODE Girl

Go CODE Girl is an event hosted by McMaster Engineering to teach coding concepts and projects to young women from grades 7 to 10 in hopes of inspiring the next generation of women engineers. Go CODE Girl will educate, inspire and equip girls with the digital skills, confidence and resources needed to pursue education in technology, computing and engineering.

Venture’s Yes SHE Can inspires girls in grades 6-8 through hands-on engineering and science projects and learn what it means to change the world.

Venture is excited to offer Girl Guide Day @ Mac! We will provide a fun day of activities aimed towards achieving the Engineering Badge. 

Venture is excited to offer our annual Pathfinder Day at McMaster University! We will provide a fun day of activities aimed towards achieving the Computer Badge. 

Video: 

Girl Only Initiatives

These events take place during different parts of the year and reach a wide range of ages. All programming is free, and offer a diverse set of challenges and opportunities for girls to experience.

Go ENG Girl (Gr.7 to 10)

Go ENG Girl (Gr.7 to 10)

Go CODE Girl (Gr.7 to 10)

Go CODE Girl (Gr.7 to 10)

Girl Guides Badge Day

Girl Guides Badge Day

Engineering Retreat: Gr 11 Girls

Engineering Retreat: Gr 11 Girls

Scholarship for Girls

Scholarship for Girls

TD STEM Girls

TD STEM Girls

Ambassador Program

We are running an ambassador program during the winter semester which allows female undergraduate students to go back to their high schools and educate the students there about McMaster Engineering and the reasons they chose to pursue this education path. This takes place during the winter reading week (February 15-23). This is a unique opportunity for you to get involved at McMaster and make a difference for many high school students!

If you have any questions please email Carm Vespi, vespi@mcmaster.ca

Industry-sponsored Girls Clubs

McMaster Engineering is proud to partner with TD, Blackberry and GM, whose sponsorship enabled more than 50 inner-city and underprivileged girls to participate in STEM camps for girls on campus.  

Meet Alumnae from McMaster Engineering

Meet alumnae from McMaster Engineering and learn about the impacts they are making in their fields today. 

Related People:

Kim Jones

Kim Jones

Associate Professor

Event Highlight: Driving Diversity

Driving Diversity event inspires the next generation of female automotive engineers

The second annual Driving Diversity event, held at the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre (MARC), brought together over 70 female high school students and representatives from McMaster’s vehicle teams.

The girls had a chance to speak with current female engineering students about career paths and extracurricular opportunities at McMaster. 

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Upcoming Events

2022 Virtual Women in Engineering Industry Night

2022 Virtual Women in Engineering Industry Night

Join us for our Women in Engineering Industry Night!

Past Events

2021 Women in Engineering Welcome Back Virtual Networking Event

2021 Women in Engineering Welcome Back Virtual Networking Event

This virtual event gives first year female Engineering students the opportunity to meet and mingle with each other, upper level female students and female faculty!

Women in Engineering: Click and Connect

Women in Engineering: Click and Connect

Future Engineering, Computer Science, BTech, and iBioMed female identifying students: Meet the incredible Women in Engineering Society who want to welcome you virtually into our #FirebalFamily!

Virtual Women in Engineering Industry Night

Virtual Women in Engineering Industry Night

Join us for our Women in Engineering Industry Night!

Video: 
Video: 

News Highlight: Sogol Akef

McMaster alumna leads engineers at Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization to combat world hunger

“Being raised in a country with conflict, neighbouring Afghanistan and seeing refugees coming to Iran, I always wanted to rebuild and help people."

This International Women's Day (2021), we share the story of Sogol Akef, Head of Engineering at The United Nations World Food Programme, who found her passion for humanitarian work during her civil engineering classes at McMaster.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Women in #MacEng

McMaster student first Canadian to be awarded prestigious aerospace fellowship

February 11, 2020

McMaster student first Canadian to be awarded prestigious aerospace fellowship

This International Day for Girls and Women in Science, we’re celebrating Hira Nadeem, an electrical engineering student who is one of 40 women recognized for excellence in the aerospace industry.

Driving Diversity event inspires the next generation of female automotive engineers

January 16, 2020

Driving Diversity event inspires the next generation of female automotive engineers

The second annual Driving Diversity event, held at the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre (MARC), brought together over 70 female high school students and representatives from McMaster’s vehicle teams.

McMaster Engineering alumna wins Nobel Prize in Physics

October 2, 2018

McMaster Engineering alumna wins Nobel Prize in Physics

Donna Strickland, a McMaster alumna who received her Bachelor of Engineering degree (B. Eng) in engineering physics in 1981, has won the Nobel Prize in Physics, the first woman to do so in 55 years and one of only three in the history of the award.

iBioMed student’s device to help people with limited hand mobility wins National James Dyson Award

August 25, 2021 /  Department News

iBioMed student’s device to help people with limited hand mobility wins National James Dyson Award

Biomedical and mechanical engineering student Lianna Genovese has received the National James Dyson Award for her invention, Guided Hands™, which she created in her first-year design course to help people with limited hand mobility write, paint, draw and access technology.

iBioMed student shares journey to earning a global innovation award

July 16, 2021 /  Department News

iBioMed student shares journey to earning a global innovation award

ImaginAble Solution’s CEO and founder Lianna Genovese, an alumnus of The Clinic @ Mac’s Residency and Health Ventures programs, recently represented Canada at the 2021 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA). Her invention, Guided Hands, won the Innovation Award.

Karina Kawka receives 2021 Student Fellowship Award for her work on purifying therapeutic viruses

April 27, 2021 /  Department News

Karina Kawka receives 2021 Student Fellowship Award for her work on purifying therapeutic viruses

We often associate viruses with causing infections and illnesses, such as COVID-19.  However some viruses, called therapeutic viruses, are increasingly used to treat genetic diseases as well as certain cancers.

Read More

Big Ideas are Born at McMaster Engineering

 
Big Ideas: Getting to the ‘pointe’

April 12, 2018

Big Ideas: Getting to the ‘pointe’

Mechanical Engineering & Society student and ballerina, Lacey Wice, examines the mechanics of ballet and how the dance has helped her become the ‘whole engineer’.

Big Ideas: A deep dive into diversity

February 15, 2018

Big Ideas: A deep dive into diversity

Vanessa Raponi, president of EngiQueers, a national non-for-profit LGBTQ+ advocacy group, tackles the complex challenge of improving diversity in engineering.

Big Ideas: Using Technology to Build Community

March 29, 2018

Big Ideas: Using Technology to Build Community

At 25, Janelle Hinds (B.Eng. ‘15, Electrical and Biomedical) is a tech-savvy entrepreneur who has already left a lasting mark on McMaster and is now being noticed by the rest of the world.