What inspired you to choose your MRP topic?
As the daughter of one of the few female engineers climbing the corporate ladder in the early 1980’s, I’ve always wondered why I never considered engineering as a potential career option. After presenting a new brand that would more effectively position engineering as a career option for young women in our MPC digital design course, I was offered an internship working with Ryerson and Hydro One to further develop a strategy to increase female enrolment in post-secondary engineering programs. The ability to collect ample qualitative and quantitative data in this role gave me the opportunity to dive into this important research question: how can we adapt the way we communicate engineering to increase the number of young women interested in pursuing engineering as a career?
What are the key findings of your research?
In my research the following findings were discovered:
- Most young women had limited exposure and understanding of what engineering roles entailed
- Young women typically suffered from low self-efficacy in math and science, or “stereotype threat”, in which they feared confirming negative stereotypes
- The majority of young women described themselves as looking for opportunities that valued creativity, problem solving, and making an impact in their careers; all of these values align with engineering
- Young women were attracted to the freedom of career choice that a degree in engineering provides
- Increased exposure to engineering through conversations with family and friends was correlated with interest in pursuing engineering as a career
How has your MRP research influenced the work you do now?
Before I embarked on my MRP, I could not have imagined taking on my current role as Manager, Corporate Communications at Bell. In fact, I had only ever considered working in Arts, Culture, Education or the Not-for-Profit sector; diving into the world of telecommunications networks and innovative technology was a complete departure for me. After encouraging young women to look into options they might not have felt qualified for, I decided to take my own advice - and I’m glad I did, because I’ve learned more than I could have imagined, both about the industry and myself.