Luncheon Speaker, Barnaby McHarg
Techsploration: A Compass for Career Exploration – from Nova Scotia to India
One of our Techsploration role models was a little more than surprised when she was recognized as a movie star while exploring the streets of India during a recent vacation. You see, she is not an actress, she’s a mechanical engineer. When a little girl ran up to her and exclaimed “I know you, I’ve seen you in a movie”, our role model thought the girl must have been mistaken, until she explained that she had seen one of Techsploration’s Women in Action Web Videos.
Whether it’s through the popular Women in Action Web Videos (which have had over 300,000 views) or a work-site visit with a Techsploration role model, the impact of Techsploration’s programming across Nova Scotia and beyond is powerful. Hundreds of volunteers, role models, and teachers donate their time and resources to help make the non-profit a thriving, community-led organization. Next year (2018) will mark the 20th anniversary of Techsploration, which now reaches over 3,000 students in 40 schools throughout the province each year.
We’ve jokingly (and not so jokingly) suggested Techsploration’s new tagline be “just doing it”, because we’ve really been one of the province’s best kept secrets, quietly working away at improving the number of women working in science, trades, technology. It’s for this reason that we encourage our industry sponsors, role models, and community partners to participate in our annual Techsplorer events, the climactic two-day conferences where our participating school teams (affectionately referred to as Techsplorers) come together to share information on exciting careers and meet female role models in our region. Our Techsplorer events are anything but quiet (cue our school team cheers).
This year’s Techsplorer events at Saint Mary’s University and most recently at the NSCC Truro campus each featured nine incredible presentations and skits from our school teams across the province. One group performed their own re-make of the country hit, the Road Less Traveled, their version, entitled ‘the Career Less Traveled’, was a hit! Check it out here if you haven’t already seen it. Another group performed a dramatic crime scene investigation from first response to jail time. Each presentation was informative, describing the respective career and role model with which each team shadowed. The energy and enthusiasm of our Techsplorers is contagious, which is why our Techsplorer events provide a unique opportunity for our role models and industry partners to see first-hand how they’ve inspired young women in our region.
There’s a reason a number of our role models are former Techsplorers: the program works. It provides girls in our region, and beyond, with the knowledge they need to choose a career that is right for them. In many cases, that knowledge has become a career path to sectors that have traditionally been uncharted territory for women. With an incredible amount of support from our sponsors, teachers, role models, and volunteers, we’re working on changing that.
Just how important are role models to young women? Ask our alumna from 2012 who had an electrician from Irving Shipbuilding as a role model. She credits spending time with a tradeswoman at Techsploration with helping her make the decision to become a pipefitter. You could also ask the alumna who is pursuing an engineering degree because of the impact her team role model had on her. You could ask Margaret (Megs) Davidson, an alumna from the first group of Techsplorers who has volunteered with us since she first participated in the program in 1998, you could even ask the little girl in India who met a role model from the other side of the world.
Interested in participating as a role model, volunteer, or sponsor? Let’s chat! Contact Emily Boucher at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!