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Student breaks stereotype of women in STEMSeptember 22, 2017

Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate student Katherine Jarzecki believes in challenging herself.

Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate student Katherine Jarzecki believes in challenging herself.

After she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus — which targets tissues and organs — last year, she decided to compete in a triathlon.

A first generation Canadian, she was the first in her family to graduate with a university degree.

As an advocate of women in engineering, she decided to face another challenge: breaking stereotypes. The Burlington native and first generation Canadian is one of more than 60 women competing in the upcoming Miss Universe Canada pageant from Sept. 29 to Oct. 7.

Jarzecki said competing in the Miss Universe pageant offers her the opportunity to talk about the importance of attracting more women into science, engineering, technology and math fields.

It’s also the chance to show that engineers can have many interests and dispel what those in the profession should look like — a message that was echoed in the 2015 #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign that championed beauty and intelligence.

“I think women in engineering can do anything they put their mind to,” said Jarzecki, who also has a BSc in Life Sciences from McMaster. “You are capable. You do can do this if you want to.”

f she wins, Jarzecki said she intends to use speakingengagements to inspire young women to consider science and engineering.

Support Jarzecki by voting for her in the Miss Universe Canada 2017 People’s Choice Award.

The Miss Universe finals will be live streamed on the organization’s website on Oct. 7.

Learn more about Jarzecki »