“Awesome, we had so much fun.”
Those were the words Techsploration communications and strategic planning manager Emily Boucher used to describe the April 12 regional conference in Port Hawkesbury, at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Strait Area Campus.
“It’s hard to describe 100 young women learning all about these exciting careers, other than it was a lot of fun.”
Boucher talked more about the Techsploration organization, noting they’ve been around for 21 years.
“We do three divisional conferences each spring, so the Port Hawkesbury event was our division ‘A’ event, and the first one of the year. We have another one at St. Mary’s University May 9 and 10, and another one at Acadia May 23 and 24. What’s unique about Port Hawkesbury is, it’s the first place we ever did one, 21 years ago, that was our first event.”
The Techsploration conferences provide girls, in Grade 9, the opportunity to explore “exciting careers in science, engineering, trades and technology with inspiring female role models.”
Boucher said the reference to “100 girls” was a rounded figure with participation, actually, even a little stronger than that number.
“It’s roughly about 75 to 80 young women, then, including teachers and role models, I think the registration number was, specifically, 115 … it may have gone up to 119, 120,” she said.
“That’s average. Eight school teams at this division and, normally, that’s the average number we have per division; and each school team has approximately six to eight girls on each team.”
At the Port Hawkesbury conference, the following schools participated; Strait Area Education Recreation Centre, Dalbrae Academy, Sydney Academy, We’koqma’q Mi’kmaw School, Fanning Education Centre/Canso Academy, Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School, Guysborough Academy and East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy.
Boucher talked about the NSCC Strait Area Campus as the host venue.
“It’s fabulous,” she said. “NSCC is one of our funding program partners; we would not exist without support from NSCC.
“It’s also a great way for the young women to see what a campus is like. While they’re exploring different career options, they can also see that phase of a career path by going to the campus and seeing the wave tank that is there, all of the classrooms,” she said, adding the conference also included a couple of workshops the evening before (April 11).
Boucher talked about the targeted Grade 9 students.
“The main reason for that is, it’s the year they decide their science and math courses,” she said.
“So while we’re a career exploration program, one of the primary reasons we exist, one of our goals, is to encourage young women to stay in science and math. Take the science and math courses that will lead to opportunities in science, engineering, trades and technology.
“Also, it tends to be the age frame when young women tend to lose confidence; so it’s multi-fold.”
In talking more about the organization, Boucher said they hold about 50 events over the course of a year in, about, 40 different schools.
“We’re at capacity so we actually have a waiting list of eight schools looking to get in; so we’re working on that,” she said.
“The other piece I wanted to mention is scholarships. While we do have significant in-person programing, we do offer a scholarship program for our alumni. When they get to Grade 12, there are a number of different scholarships available to them; whether they’re entering post-secondary education science, engineering, trades or technology.”
Boucher offered a closing thought on the conference.
“It was truly a community event and great to see young women, from rural communities in particular, having access to all of these incredible role models, as well as meeting other young women from around the region.”
For more on Techsploration, visit its website at techsploration.ca.