Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering
Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering (POWE) is a McGill student-run organization with a vision to increase the presence of women in the engineering classroom and profession. To achieve this goal, POWE reaches out to future engineering students and supports current students through professional development activities.
Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering (POWE) is a philanthropic group at McGill University under Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS). POWE’s main goals are:
- To encourage young women and feminine-identifying gender minorities to join engineering by exposing them to the many career opportunities that an engineering degree offers
- To enlighten everyone about the important contributions and general role of women in the engineering field
- To create a positive and friendly safe space where fellow women and feminine-identifying gender minorities in engineering can socialize and seek support
- To promote inclusion and diversity in engineering in all our activities
A women-in-engineering committee was initially founded in September 1989 as a group put together by the Faculty of Engineering designed to discuss the barriers to access that existed for gender minorities in engineering.
On December 6, 1989, fourteen female engineering students were murdered in the École Polytechnique massacre, one of the deadliest mass shootings in Canadian history. Since then and to this day, POWE collects signatures from students and faculty members who stand in solidarity with the victims and who stand against gender-based violence and discrimination in engineering.
This jarring event shaped the need for women-in-engineering committee as a student group. In response to the senseless act of violence, students officially came together in September 1990 to form the group named POWE that would lift the barriers to access and support the role of gender minorities in engineering. The group was initially student committee in the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), and later gained more independence as a club in the EUS. We have since developed impactful outreach and professional development portfolios that continue to encourage women and feminine-identifying gender minorities to strive in their field of study, while maintaining a community that can stand together as a voice for gender minority engineering students.
The first POWE Speed Networking event took place in 2010, which marked 20 years after the group's founding. The first SymPOWEsium will take place in the 2020-2021 academic year to mark 30 years after the group's founding.
Professional and Academic Events
Our professional development portfolio aims to educate current POWE members and McGill engineering students at large about the various opportunities that exist for women and feminine-identifying gender minorities in their field of study. This is made possible through our various networking and on-campus mentorship events that aim to connect students with industry representatives in diverse engineering fields and from varying academic backgrounds.
Speed Mentoring is an annual POWE event that takes place during the fall semester where we invite around 15 professionals and roughly 35 students to have fast-paced yet stimulating discussions in small groups. These conversations allow students to understand current industry professionals’ experience as a woman in the industry, their career trajectory, and get quick mentorship and guidance.
This is our popular annual group-networking event that takes place at the start of the winter semester and is filled with career advice and fast-paced discussions between professionals and students. This event aims to provide guidance, advice, and knowledge to current engineering students. Professionals share their experiences regarding diversity, discuss challenges especially about equity and their own career journeys. Students will have the chance to make meaningful connections with industry representatives in order to further their own personal and professional growth, and obtain a stronger sense of what comes after university.
Throughout the year, POWE is able to bring groups of students to visit the offices of industry-leading companies in Montreal. This allows students to learn more about various industries in an immersive environment and gain valuable contacts to expand their networks. These tours aim to expose students to a wide variety of possible career paths with the hope of encouraging feminine-identifying gender minority students to remain within the engineering discipline after graduation. In the past, POWE has visited Medtronics, CSA (Canadian Space Agency), Pfizer, Pepsi Co., IREQ (Hydro-Quebec Research Institute), Genetec, Rio Tinto, l'Oreal Canada, McKinsey and Company, and many more!
Participation in External Conferences
One of our major initiatives is in sending a strong delegation to represent POWE and McGill to various external science and engineering conferences, namely the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Conference and the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) Conference. These conferences give selected delegates the opportunity to connect with industry, academic, and student representatives from across Canada, and internationally, while providing a keen opportunity to learn and be inspired about their discipline on a more global level. Conference delegates are expected to learn new skills and share their insights after the conference with the POWE community at a general meeting.
POWE holds diverse panels throughout the year, in order to provide students with an opportunity to learn more about what they can do with their degree, and connect with professionals currently working in the field. This is an opportunity that is beneficial to students of all years who want to expand their knowledge and learn something new about different industries.
POWE hosts its own conferences and symposiums in order to inspire young women to pursue their careers in an engineering and engineering-related field of study. Our goal is to create a space where women from varying academic backgrounds and experiences can openly discuss career journeys, network, learn and be inspired.
This 2-day conference for women and feminine-indentifying gender minority undergraduate students includes many networking and career counselling opportunities for women to gain a keen understanding of their field of study and what to expect after graduation. Our goal through the annual Women in Engineering SymPOWEsium is to encourage, inspire, support and celebrate feminine-indentifying professionals and soon-to-be professionals in primarily male-dominated fields. SymPOWEsium will be launched for the first time in March 2021 and will include many professional development events, including the following:
- One-on-one networking with industry professionals and academics
- Q&A-style career fair with participating company representatives
- Panel discussions
- Interactive workshops and problem-based learning sessions
- Keynote speaker by an accomplished woman in engineering
POWE’s Conference invites over 135 high school students from the Montreal and surrounding area to visit McGill for a day to experience a microcosm of what it means to be a McGill engineering student. This conference takes place during McGill’s winter semester every year. The full day conference involves a keynote speaker, lab tours, student and professional panels, and concludes with a design competition. Year after year, we receive enormously positive feedback from both participating teachers and students!
Social and Community Involvement Events
One of our primary goals is to foster a sense of community amongst women and feminine-identifying gender minority students in engineering. This is done through multiple social and community building events throughout the year in hopes of creating a safe space where students can thrive in a positive and friendly environment. Through these initiatives, we aim to support and uplift our community.
Weekly General Meetings
These general meetings are an opportunity to de-stress from school and commitments, and just find a space to meet new like-minded people and engage in low-stress and fun activities for 30 minutes to one hour per week. General meetings in the past have included POWE Game Night, secret Santa gift exchanges, trivia challenges and much more!
Our first general meeting of the fall semester is our annual Ice Cream Social that invites all POWE members to an evening of ice cream and sorbet from Frostbite! Similarly, our first winter semester general meeting is the annual Hot Chocolate Social that welcomes all POWE members to an evening in the EUS Common Room with a warm beverage and even warmer company! Other socials throughout the year include a POWE brunch, game night, ice skating and movie night.
By far one of our favorite social activities aimed to build hype around our group and give people the opportunity to show their love for POWE through fashion is through our merch sales! We sell POWE sweaters every year, and we distribute POWE pens and stickers at all our outreach and involvement events. By volunteering for outreach workshops or the POWE Conference, you can also get a free POWE t-shirt. In recent years, we have also sold and given away more specialty items including mugs and patches bearing our logo.
Social Media Giveaways
Every semester, POWE does a social media giveaway, which gives all of our social media followers the chance to win a package of POWE merch for free.
POWE Tea Time
If you need a study-buddy, or you want company, or just want to sit with a fellow POWE member while you work, come to POWE Tea Time! These are online “office hours” with POWE members where you can sit with us from the comfort of your home in a casual meeting between POWE members and friends.
POWE Book Club
Once a month, our general meeting is dedicated to hosting a book club! At the start of the month, we distribute a short article, story or TED talk related to our mandate that members are expected to view/read before the day of the book club. Members can submit pieces that they would like to view/read via an interest form, and selection of a piece for that month is based on a vote by all our participating members. On the day of the book club, discussion topics will be provided related to the piece in order to facilitate a conversation about that selected article, story or video. This is in hopes of starting a dialogue about various topics of interest and broadening our horizons amongst like-minded individuals.
Outreach and Mentorship Events
The outreach portfolio aims to inspire and encourage youth to pursue a field in engineering. Through workshops, school visits and our year-long mentorship program, POWE educates younger students about our engineering programs, services and opportunities within our field and at our university. Some of the major outreach initiatives include Caravan visits to CEGEPS, Explore McGill design workshops, and the Shadow Days Mentorship Program.
Several McGill faculties visit CEGEPs in the greater Montreal area every year to help answer students’ concerns and promote the University. POWE Outreach representatives attend these caravan visits alongside MESC to answer questions about the faculty, as well as promote POWE’s mission of inclusivity.
The Explore McGill program was pioneered by McGill’s high school liaison representative, Joelle Neish. POWE’s Outreach members work alongside Joelle’s direction to give engineering presentations to high school students followed by a design competition for them to enjoy hands-on experience doing an activity related to the field. In the past, an example of a design competition was building a catapult that launches a ball the furthest distance.
Shadow Days Mentorship Program
The Shadow Days Mentorship Program connects a current McGill engineering student, the mentor, to a high school student, the mentee. The mentor acts as a pen-pal and is often the first friend an incoming student makes at the university.
A Walk for Education (POWE x NSBE)
This event often takes place in late October in partnership with NSBE. POWE members table for elementary school students to teach them about engineering. We often have a hands-on learning activity such as a strawberry DNA extraction that the students can participate in.
Les Filles et Les Sciences
Les Filles et Les Sciences is an annual event that takes place at Polytechnique or ETS, where various universities table for high school students. This event is also followed by a hands-on learning activity that is more targeted to high school students (such as bridge building).
EmPOWEr Mentorship Program
The EmPOWEr mentorship program pairs incoming women and feminine-identifying gender minorities engineering students with current McGill engineering students on the basis of similar fields of study and similar academic backgrounds. This mentorship initiative allows incoming students to have a person to contact with any questions they may have before school begins and allows them to get a taste of university life in the summer before they start school.
|VP Branding||Hitaishi Dhoowooah|
|VP Conference||AnnaMaria Zubieta|
|VP External||Shaza Ghawanmeh|
|VP Finance||Amélie Barsoum|
|VP Internal||Mona Kalaoun|
|VP Outreach||Ghia El-Zoubeir|
|VP Social Media||Anna Dove-McFalls|
|VP Sponsorship||Serena Kim|
|Community Director||Anna Donova|
|Photography Director||Katia Hwang|
|VP Branding||Paola Prado|
|VP Conference||Laurence Peinturier|
|VP External||Ruolin Zhang|
|VP Finance||Sofia Dieguez|
|VP Internal||Yasmine Laferrière|
|VP Outreach||Ashley Scappaticci|
|VP Social Media||Purba Sarkar|
|VP Sponsorship||Stephanie Kirichu|
|Community Director||Katia Hwang|
|Photography Director||Melanie Rodger|
|VP Branding||Suzanne Lee|
|VP Conference||Saumiyaa Pathmarajah|
|VP External||Sruthi Sudhir|
|VP Finance||Florence Yared|
|VP Internal||Sharon Kattar|
|VP Outreach||Lakshmi Roy|
|VP Social Media||Ruolin Zhang|
|VP Sponsorship||Julia Strauss|
|Community Director||Stephanie Kirichu|
|Photography Director||Melanie Rodger|
|VP Communications||Suzanne Lee|
|VP Conference||Julia Strauss|
|VP External||Sarah Ford|
|VP Finance||Sadiyah Shamsuzzaman|
|VP Internal||Sharon Kattar|
|VP Mentorship||Houda Shafique|
|VP Outreach||Aastha Goyal|
|VP Sponsorship||Julia London|
|VP Communications||Jenny Li|
|VP Conference||Catherine Pronovost|
|VP External||Serah Ladhani|
|VP Finance||Stephanie Wu|
|VP Internal||Diana Serra|
|VP Mentorship||Julia London|
|VP Outreach||Taylor Curtis|
|VP Sponsorship||Tiffany Wang|
|VP Communications||Nina Qi|
|VP Conference||Sara Bozzo|
|VP External||Jenny Pan|
|VP Finance||Emma Rozier|
|VP Internal||Marika Ueda|
|VP Mentorship||Diana Serra|
|VP Outreach||Taylor Curtis|
|VP Communications||Stephanie Greene|
|VP Conference||Isabella Bozzo|
|VP Engagement||Gustav Sustar|
|VP External||Amanda Bianco|
|VP Finance||Sarah Ma|
|VP Internal||Emma Rozier|
|VP Mentorship||Tarjei Skaar|
|VP Outreach||Gabriel Benchitrit|
|VP Communications||Jacqueline Harvey|
|VP Conference||Helen Lin|
|VP External||Jacqueline Varey|
|VP Finance||Sarah Ma|
|VP Internal||Sheelah McCarthy|
- The annual POWE Conference was postponed in 2020 due to a snowstorm
- POWE was awarded EUS Club of the Year in 2015
- POWE received the Preston Phipps Diversity & Equity Award in 2019
POWE Feedback Form
If you would like to provide us with feedback, comments or suggestions for our current and prospective events and initiatives, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your comments through the following anonymous and confidential feedback form here. This form is checked on a weekly basis by POWE’s current president(s) and all feedback will be addressed in an appropriate and timely manner.