Hydro One celebrates Women in Engineering

Western Engineering News | March 8, 2018

Today, on International Women’s Day, Hydro One has announced both the winners of the Hydro One Women in Engineering Scholarships and the renewal of its Women in Engineering University Partnership — Two major initiatives that Western Engineering is proud to be involved with.

Of the 10 Hydro One Women in Engineering Scholarships given to university students across Ontario, Western Engineering women have received four. Ruhmaa Bhatti, Zoee Fox, Carlee Armstrong and Sydney Wilson will now receive a financial award as well as the opportunity for a paid placement at Hydro One where they can learn and expand on their skills in engineering. Hydro One established the scholarships in 2014 to help foster a more diverse workforce, remove barriers and encourage women to pursue a career in engineering.  

All four Western recipients are active in the Western Engineering community, Ruhmaa has been involved in the FIRST Robotics Competition since high school and joined WEMARS, an engineering robotics club competing in the European Rover Challenge. Zoee is part of the IEEE club at Western, which is based around electronics and computer engineering. Carlee is a member of the Western Engineering Toboggan Team (WETT), where they build a toboggan to compete against other universities across Ontario, and Sydney is a member of the Women in Engineering student club that aims to provide a network of support for women studying engineering at Western University.

Despite the recipients’ impact within the engineering community, there is a significant population disparity of women-to-men studying engineering at universities in Canada, with only around 20 per cent women. However, all of these women commented that there is a small but positive increase since they joined Western.

“When I was just looking at the extracurriculars, there weren’t a lot of females in leadership positions, and this year our UES (Undergraduate Engineering Society) actually has five females versus two males on our executive team. So, it was really cool to have a female president and four other reps that are not only representing Western Engineering, but also representing all the women at Western Engineering,“ says Ruhmaa Bhatti.

The second major announcement from Hydro One today is the renewal of their Women in Engineering University Partnership with a $1.6 million investment. Western University, along with Ryerson University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the University of Waterloo are partnership schools that now have support to continue to provide outreach programs, networking opportunities and professional resources to young women. In its fifth year, this Hydro One initiative has supported over 18,000 students across all of the partnership’s universities.

Although there is still work to be done, initiatives like these contribute to making engineering a choice all women could imagine for themselves.  “There may not have been obvious jobs for women before, but we’re really good at them, so it should be obvious now,” says scholarship recipient Carlee Armstrong. “Hopefully we’re getting there.”