Inspiring inclusion on International Women’s Day  – Faculty of Engineering

Inspiring inclusion on International Women’s Day 

A collage of woman posing with the heart hand

To mark International Women’s Day, we asked women in our Faculty to share how they inspire inclusion and how we can better invest in women.  

Who do you think inspires inclusion at McMaster? 

To me, our outreach team and all that they do, is inspirational. They view Engineering as having a place for everyone and have done such amazing things to help inspire young people to consider engineering. From camps to science kits in libraries to school visits, our next generation of the Fireball Family is in good hands. My daughter did a classroom visit with my 12-year-old niece this week. Those kinds of things have an impact, and I am excited to hear how it made her think about what she could do!

Heather Sheardown, Dean

Andrea Hemmerich posing with heart hands

“All of the students in the various clubs who organized the Engineering IDEA conference!” – Andrea Hemmerich, Adjunct Assistant Professor, W Booth 

Sarah Dickson-Anderson poses with the heart hand

“For me, it is our Mac Eng students who inspire inclusion. I have seen a huge increase in the diversity of the engineering student body since my own undergraduate days. It’s inspiring, and it gives me hope that a future where our student body truly mirrors the diversity of our society is not too far away.” – Sarah Dickson-Anderson, Associate Dean (Undergraduate) 

How can we better invest in women to accelerate progress? 

Encourage women to get involved in engineering throughout their academic journeys – whether it be in elementary school or final year of engineering – we always need more diverse voices!

Annika Yardy, Graduate Student, Biomedical Engineering

Cheryl Quenneville poses with a heart hand

“I think celebrating and spotlighting the accomplishments of our amazing women is incredibly important, to help them continue to advance and to inspire others. As well, I believe we should re-examine what we define as excellence, and place greater value on non-traditional contributions that people make to the world (e.g. mentoring, community engagement) that women (and those from other under-represented groups) often do to a greater extent that often goes unrecognized.” – Cheryl Quenneville, Associate Professor and Associate Chair (Undergraduate), Mechanical 

Marjan Alavi poses with heart hands

“Bring visibility to the female professors and students and highlight their achievements.” – Marjan Alavi, Assistant Professor & Program Lead, W Booth 

What’s one thing you do to inspire inclusion in engineering? 

I share my own experiences from a non-traditional path in hopes of inspiring others to remain inclusive of the many different options in engineering.

Kyla Sask, Assistant Professor, Materials

Yotka Rickard poses with heart hands

“Words do not teach as much as examples do: being an engineer and mathematician myself, I share with students real-life stories to inspire them, to understand that the only limitations are the ones we impose on ourselves, bringing to their conscious awareness that they possess the power to revolutionize society in ways we cannot imagine. Each and every one of us is equally important in contributing to the betterment of humanity and we never know how far the influence of what we say and do goes. It is your generation that will create a society of cooperation instead of competition!” – Yotka Rickard, Sessional Instructor, W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology

“I challenge stereotypes, make sure to listen to my colleagues’ experiences and advocate for change.” – Zeinab Hosseinidoust, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2), Chemical Engineering 

“I am trying to increase the number of women choosing electrical and computer engineering (ECE), as we are behind some other disciplines. With a larger percentage of women in ECE classrooms, all women in the class will feel more included.” – Jennifer Bauman, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

What’s your advice to young girls who are interested in STEM? 

Embrace challenges, seek role models and stay curious to pursue your passions.

Dongmei Zhao, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Armina Aryaie poses with heart hands

“Don’t be disheartened by a lack of opportunities or even representation, instead be the change you seek! If you want to pursue STEM, then go for it and give it your all.” – Armina Aryaie, undergraduate student

Ashviya Jeyaseelan poses with heart hands wearing a McMaster Women In Eng shirt

“Embrace your curiosity for STEM and don’t be afraid to explore your passions! Be confident in your abilities and don’t be discouraged by any gender barriers you may face. Seek out support from your network and inspire other young girls as you embark on your journey in STEM!” – Ashviya Jeyaseelan, undergraduate student 

Denise Geiskkovitch poses with heart hands next to a robot

“Try to find a female mentor who you aspire to be like and find out how they got to where you want to be. Try to see if you can work alongside them or shadow them.” – Denise Geiskkovitch, Assistant Professor, Computing and Software

Benita Okosagah poses with heart hands

“Push for this path you have chosen because there is beauty and great honour in women accomplishing and thriving in the paths they choose. The road is rough I assure you, but whenever you feel like giving up, remember you will always be an inspiration to another girl out there considering this path.” – Benita Okosagah, undergraduate student, Mechanical Engineering 

Collage of Mac Eng woman making heart hands