For International Women’s Day
STEM association spotlights mentoring for women in tech
02, Mar, 2023
EDMONTON, March 2, 2023 – In recognition of upcoming International Women’s Day, the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) is spotlighting mentoring as an important resource for women in the traditionally male-dominated engineering technology profession.
When the provincial STEM association surveyed its women membership about in what ways it could do more to support them, almost half (48.31 per cent) said mentoring programs. When asked how male leaders or co-workers have helped them in their engineering technology careers, close to three-quarters (70.95 per cent) responded with mentoring.
ASET member and civil engineering technologist Jennifer Stewart, who received ASET’s 2022 President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, believes mentoring is beneficial for women navigating the profession.
“Traditionally, women have not had the easiest experience in technology fields. It’s important for those of us who have paved the way to shepherd the next generation through so that they can continue to blaze the trail forward,” said Stewart.
ASET’s mentoring program was piloted in 2010, redesigned in 2011 based on participants’ feedback and formally established in 2012. Matches are made for ASET members all over Alberta with civil engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology, instrumentation engineering technology, and engineering design and drafting technology among the most requested disciplines for mentoring.
“Mentoring relationships may range from something as simple as a few questions and answers exchanged between mentee and mentor to relationships spanning many years,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “Given that only 10 per cent of ASET members are women, ASET is more committed than ever to providing them with the support they need to enter and remain in what is a lucrative and rewarding profession.”
“ASET’s mentoring program is a fantastic program that can open up opportunities to mentors and mentees alike,” said Stewart. “I truly hope more people will find out about it and take advantage of all that it offers, especially for women in technology.”
Stewart, whose job involves using 3D drafting software to create horizontal and vertical geometry for roadways and sanitary storm and water pipe systems (including designing subdivisions), started with ASET’s mentoring program in 2021. She soon began working with a mentee who is a fellow ASET member and that relationship continues to this day.
Among the most important lessons she has passed on to her mentee, Stewart believes that time management skills and knowing your own skill set and value as a woman in the engineering technology profession are key.
ASET’s first President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring was given out in 2012.
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 17,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET