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When Rebecca White walked into the Dartmouth office of Accent Engineering Consultants as a Grade 9 student in 2002, not only did her image of an engineer immediately change, but so did her future plans. “Up until then, I had no idea what an engineer did,” says Rebecca. “When I thought about engineering, I didn’t think it was my kind of thing. I knew I didn’t want to build bridges or robots.” But watching engineers at Accent pore over blueprints and hearing them talk about designing oil and gas pipelines was exciting. “It was over my head but I thought it was really interesting.”
In June of 2010, Rebecca graduated with a chemical engineering degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, thanks in part to the experience she had 8 years earlier as a member of the Techsploration team at East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy. “I didn’t know any women engineers. Prior to that, my options felt limited to jobs I saw other women doing. The program opened up a whole other world for me.”
Techsploration showed Rebecca that there were careers she’d never heard of and women doing them! “The program allowed me to be more open-minded about my future choices and to see a variety of different careers. This helped me choose what was best for me.” Rebecca now works as an engineer in the Distribution Design group at ATCO Gas in Calgary. Knowing how impacted she was by meeting female role models and hearing their stories, she makes a point of doing the same. “As a role model now myself, it’s very gratifying to be able to opens doors for young women and see how excited they get when they hear about what I do.”