Jul 20, 2022

Vancouver, BC The 49 Women in Science (49WIS) initiative at Langara College is looking for women scientists to join their Giving Circle leadership group. Comprised of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) faculty, as well as retired faculty and teaching staff, and scientists in industry, the 49WIS Giving Circle hosts annual events and invites self-identifying women in STEM to get involved as guest speakers and mentors. The group is also seeking donors to contribute to their scholarship and bursary fund via the Langara Foundation, to help the group increase and diversify support for students. 

The 49WIS project was created to help young women achieve educational and professional equality and success in the STEM fields, where women are still underrepresented. Initially part of Langara's 49th anniversary celebrations in 2019, the program has been providing financial resources, mentorship and networking opportunities to support female science students ever since. One of the group’s goals is to help break down barriers for self-identifying women as they follow their dreams of pursuing an education in science.  

“Our generous donors provide their time and funding to inspire and support aspiring female scientists,” said Marg Heldman, Vice President, Academic (Interim). “When established women in science have conversations with students to provide mentorship and guidance, the students benefit from a wealth of knowledge and experience. Those discussions are invaluable for our students in reaching their goals."  

The program supports female engineering students as they study at Langara and connect to further educational and career pathways. A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts showed that, when being mentored by a woman, no women students dropped out of their studies. However, for those without a mentor, or solely male mentors, dropout rates were 11% and 18%, respectively. 

Funds raised through the 49WIS Giving Circle provide two bursaries for students in financial need, including one for a single parent. A scholarship is also awarded to a female student in the sciences, based on academic performance (CGPA). The Giving Circle has awarded $43,500 through 29 awards over the last three years, and they are also raising funds to create an endowment. There are currently 50 women in the Giving Circle, and they are seeking new industry partners and members to join the group. 

“The 49 Women in Science scholarship and bursaries not only give students much-needed financial help, but also show them that we acknowledge their hard work and want to encourage them on their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics journey,” said Gerda Krause, Dean, Faculty of Science.  

According to Statistics Canada, more women are accessing higher education and graduating with university degrees than ever before. However, STEM is still largely male dominated. Women in these fields experience systemic and social inequities, sexism, and barriers to entry and participation in industry and academia, with 20 per cent of women who attended a post-secondary program choosing a degree in STEM, compared to 40 per cent of men. 

About Langara College    
Located in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm 'house of teachings', a name given to it by Musqueam, on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located.   

Learn more.    
Coriana Constanda    
Communications Officer   
Langara College