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McMaster Engineering’s Virtual Girl Guide Workshops empowering thousands of girls across CanadaOctober 20, 2020

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. 

“Our workshops aim to interest girls in science and engineering through hands-on activities that have real world application,” says Sophie Nasato, co-director of Venture Academy.  

Developed to replace Venture’s traditional in-person Girl Guide workshops, the recordings have been astonishingly successful, says co-director Julee Minniti.  

Adapting Venture Academy to a virtual format this year allowed us to reach more girls than ever before from different cities and provinces,” she says.  

As of Nov. 20, more than 13,000 girls aged five to 14 have participated in one of the virtual workshops. In previous years, around 150 girls attended the in-person events at McMaster. At the beginning of November, the total number of participants was more than 5,100.

“McMaster Engineering is pleased to see such tremendous representation from across Canada this year by going virtual, giving more students the opportunity to learn about engineering and how they may one day help build solutions to our world’s challenges,” says Ishwar K. Puri, McMaster’s dean of engineering. 

This year’s workshops, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, identify global challenges and involve interactive projects that explore how engineers help improve the world.  

Younger groups are introduced to energy and green building issues, while older girls delve into biomedical devices and oil spill clean-up. Upon completion of the workshop, participants receive an Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) badge. 

Venture Academy, an initiative of McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, is staffed by the school’s engineering students.  

The program is sponsored by Actua, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, the Faculty of Engineering and ONWiE. 

Click here to register for Virtual Girl Guide Workshops