U of T Engineering welcomed more than 100 newly admitted female students to the first Girls Leadership in Engineering Experience (GLEE) weekend, held May 26 and 27.
The new initiative aims to empower female students who are about to join a community where women are at the forefront of engineering leadership and innovation. Next fall, over one-quarter of first year students in U of T Engineering will be women.
Yoley Li (ElecE 1T4), who participated in GLEE as a Residence Assistant, remembers going into her first year in electrical engineering feeling isolated and wishing she had the opportunity to better connect with fellow female students.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to inspire them … I told all the participants that, although engineering may be male-dominated, we still stand out,” she said.
Participants had the chance to gain knowledge and seek guidance from current students, faculty and alumni. Events included a semi-formal dinner with members of the U of T Engineering community, a career panel discussion, a hands-on workshop led by graduate students and a lunch hosted by the U of T chapter of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).
U of T Engineering has a long and proud history of women mentors and leaders. From the early years of the Faculty to now, female professors, graduates and students have left an indelible mark on the profession.
One such example is Professor Brenda McCabe, the Chair of Civil Engineering, who spoke with students about the career paths of other women who’ve come through the program, all the way from the Faculty’s first female civil engineering graduate, Marcia Scott in 1947.
“My experience with this initiative was very positive,” said Professor McCabe. “I had the opportunity to meet bright, young women who want to become engineers. It was wonderful to share with them our very successful history of women in engineering.”
GLEE follows in the steps of many other initiatives that seek to cultivate the next generation of women engineers. Currently, more than a fifth of the Faculty’s undergraduates are women, while they make up a quarter of graduate students.