Marianne Stanford, PhD - Vice President of Research at IMV Inc.
The goal of Techsploration is to increase the number of women working in science, trades, technical and technology-related occupations by assisting young women from diverse backgrounds to explore a wide range of career options in these fields.
Techsploration provides young women from grades nine through twelve with opportunities to explore science, trades, and technology occupations, while creating awareness about the critical role of work in their lives. It also helps them understand the significance of high school math and science for their future careers.
What are the benefits to the participants?
The benefits of the program are multi-fold. Young women are introduced to careers they may never have considered. In addition to the targeted goals, young women benefit as their skills are enhanced in the areas of communication, IT, leadership, teamwork, making presentations, and report writing. Teachers also indicate that the young women achieve increased levels of self-confidence, self-esteem and cultural awareness – which are all vital skills to every occupation. Techsploration positively affects the entire community as it encourages involvement among students, teachers, partners, role models, government and industry.
Why only young women?
Statistics show that women are still vastly under-represented in these fields. This means that women are missing out on exciting career opportunities and employers are deprived of a vast pool of potential employees.
Techsploration activities are scheduled between November and May, although planning and follow-up are ongoing. Some of the key events are:
Techsploration Career Research Model (December – March)
Each school team, including 6 young women in grade 9 and a teacher, is assigned a female role model from a science, trade, or technology occupation. The young women meet with their assigned role model, participate in a worksite tour and begin the research that forms the basis of a presentation they will make at school and the Techsplorer Event later in the spring.
Techsploration Goes To School (March – April)
Each school team shares their experiences and research with students at their school in the form of a unique presentation. Their school team role model, along with guest role models, set up stations with props, tools of their trade and information about their career. Small groups of students rotate through the stations to ask questions and participate in hands-on activities.
Young women and men, teachers, and staff all benefit from the opportunity to meet women working in today’s in-demand careers.
Techsplorer Events (April & May)
During the two-day Techsplorer Event, girls from across the province gather with their teachers, role models and invited guests to participate in exciting, interactive presentations and workshops. This event reinforces and expands upon the information provided in the Techsploration team presentations and gives each girl the chance to meet even more role models.
All of the girls are actively involved in the team presentations. Along with providing information on their assigned career, the students introduce their role model, who responds to questions from the floor.
For those in the audience, it is an opportunity to witness the power of the program first-hand! Each year we hear about the creativity and confidence shown by these young women.
Important skills that can take decades to acquire are being honed in a supportive and encouraging environment.
Techsplorer Alumnae Conference/Activities (ongoing)
This annual one-day event is for young women in grades 10, 11 and 12. It provides Techsploration alumnae and guest students the opportunity to meet more role models working in exciting and challenging science, trades and technology careers and participate in hands-on workshops. Attending this conference is an invaluable way for young women to learn about in-demand careers that may not otherwise occur to them: machinists, video game designers, research scientists, electricians, survey technicians, aircraft mechanics, forensic scientists, to name just a few.
These Techsploration “graduates” are also encouraged to stay actively involved in the program by participating in the annual Techsploration launch, assisting in selecting the new school team, acting as a “big sister” to current participants and volunteering at the Techsplorer Event. Many of our alumnae have gone on to emcee events, share their experiences and become role models themselves.
“The most important thing I learned from the Techsploration Program is that no matter who I am a girl, a boy, black or white. I can be anything I want to be. I learned something from every role model, which I will take with me through life.”–Krista Lee, Techsploration participant