Provincial survey reveals mentoring
is important to women in
male-dominated tech roles

15, Feb, 2023

EDMONTON, Feb. 15, 2023 – A survey by the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) revealed the importance of mentoring for women in the engineering technology profession. There is no better champion of this finding than Jennifer Stewart who received ASET’s 2022 President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

Stewart, an Okotoks-based civil engineering technologist (CET) who regularly commutes to the Calgary Beltline office of an engineering consulting firm, has been in the business for more than a dozen years. Her role involves using 3D drafting software to create horizontal and vertical geometry for roadways and sanitary storm and water pipe systems, including designing subdivisions. She routinely drives around and checks out completed projects to see the impact she’s had on the lives of the people who reside there. The same could be said about her contribution as a mentor.

Her start with ASET’s mentoring program was in 2021 when she was looking for different opportunities that would enable her to complete her continuing professional development (CPD) log, which is a requirement of her CET designation. The ASET program popped up as an option. She had already been mentoring at her workplace for several years and thought it would be an easy transition.

Soon after, she began working with a mentee who is a fellow ASET member and that relationship continues to this day. Stewart has enjoyed watching her mentee take the conversations they’ve had about how to troubleshoot a given problem and implement a solution. When a similar scenario arises a few months down the road, her mentee is already equipped with the knowledge to address the issue and can move through it much more easily and often on her own.

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.

“Traditionally, women have not had the easiest go 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.

In terms of her own commitment to being a competent mentor, Stewart says that continuing education and professional development are critical tools towards reinforcing one’s effectiveness in helping someone else.

Stewart was honoured and surprised when she learned that she’d won the ASET mentoring award. She praises ASET’s mentoring program, which was piloted in 2010 and formally established in 2012.

“It’s 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 the great opportunities it offers, especially for women in technology.”

“The women in technology (WIT) survey ASET conducted with strong participation from women ASET members confirmed that a mentoring program provided by ASET was a priority to them,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “The survey also asked respondents how male leaders or co-workers have helped them in their engineering technology careers. Almost three-quarters said mentoring. Mentoring’s clearly a vital resource for women in technology.”

About ASET
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.

Media Contact:
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET


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