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Dr. Sheryl Staub-French announced as inaugural holder of Goldcorp Professorship in Women in Engineering at UBC

The Faculty of Applied Science announces Dr. Sheryl Staub-French, associate professor in civil engineering, as the inaugural holder of the Goldcorp Professorship in Women in Engineering at UBC.

As Goldcorp Professor, Staub-French will lead a targeted recruitment strategy for UBC Engineering that plans to increase the number of women enrolled in its programs from the national average of 20 percent to close to 50 percent by 2019.

As Engineers Canada predicts a skills shortage of almost 100,000 engineers by 2020, and engineering remains one of the last professions to see underrepresentation of women, introducing young women to the career option is essential to filling the workforce gap.

“If a significant part of the talent pool isn’t even considering it as a career, you’re missing out on some of the best and brightest,” says Staub-French. “Part of our work is to help address that skills gap by encouraging young women to explore career possibilities in engineering and science.”

The recruitment strategy focuses on promoting engineering as an excellent career choice, one that is rewarding, creative, stable and well-paid. It will connect professional engineers, engineering students and schools, and create hands-on activities that help students and teachers understand engineering. And it will communicate the benefits of an engineering career to parents, teachers and career counsellors.

“Engineering is a creative, engaging and rewarding profession about solving problems, designing solutions and helping our communities,” says Staub-French. “It is a critically important profession, and I believe if everyone understood what we do, equal numbers of young men and women would aspire to careers in engineering.”

Staub-French will first focus on developing one-day workshops for high school girls, and then work with partners to extend these training opportunities through UBC.  “The best way to explain what we do is to let girls get hands-on experience,” Staub-French says, “so these workshops will focus on solving problems through engineering design “.

“Admission to UBC Engineering will continue to be based on the highest competitive averages for all applicants,” says Applied Science Dean Marc Parlange. “These new efforts will ensure we recruit the best and the brightest with aptitudes in the STEM fields, resulting in outstanding engineers and leaders of tomorrow.”

For the 2014-15 academic year, UBC Engineering has already seen an increase in percentage of women students accepting offers for admission from 24.1% to 29.4% per cent – a 22% increase.

The Goldcorp Professor for Women in Engineering at UBC was made possible by a $500,000 gift from Goldcorp announced March 7, 2014.

Click here for a previous media release about the Goldcorp Professorship, and click here for an interview with Dr. Sherl Staub-French.

For more information, contact Jeannie Scarfe at jeannie.scarfe@me.com.

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