On Tuesday, March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day, following Black History Month and during National Engineering Month, over 120 female high school students and their teachers visited the Lassonde School of Engineering to explore how they can make a difference in the world using science and engineering.
The female high school students were from local high schools including Downsview Secondary School, Emery Collegiate Institute, James Cardinal McGuigan Catholi High School, C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate Institute, Westview Centennial Secondary School, Weston Collegiate Institute, Northview Heights Secondary School and Yorkdale Secondary School.
The day began with a private screening of the film Hidden Figures, an inspirational story about the impact of the work done by three black female NASA engineers.
Later the students returned to the Bergeron Centre for a hands-on workshop, a tour of the labs and a meet-and-greet with Lassonde students and faculty.
During the hands-on activity, the students built a payload for a mission to an asteroid to find out how life began on earth. Using simple materials, students learned how to make a spectometer, a magnetometer and a grabber and then put these instruments to work collecting and analyzing asteroid samples.
This hands-on workshop was designed by female Lassonde graduate students Kristen Cote, Beth Lymer and Catheryn Ryan.
These graduate students are currently working with Lassonde's own space engineer, Associate Professor Michael Daly, who designed the instrumentation and Canada's sole contribution to the OSIRIS-REx mission.
The event was organized by Lassonde 50:50 Challenge leader Assistant Dean, Inclusivity and Diversity Marisa Sterling, P.Eng, and supported by IBM Canada's STEM 4 Girls progam, and the Toronto District School Board's STEM K-12 and Robotics Initiative.