Celebrating Women in Engineering

Empowering the next generation of women engineers

If there are two topics REMAP is especially enthusiastic about, they are supporting women in STEM, and driving collaboration across Canada’s exceptionally talented engineering community. As such, March is a very exciting time for the REMAP Network as we celebrate both International Women’s Day and National Engineering Month. 

Recently, REMAP had the opportunity to kick off this year’s celebrations with a very special meet and greet – enjoying lunch and an engaging conversation with Ashwini Wijeyakumar, the recipient of the inaugural Irene Sterian Scholarship for Women in Engineering scholarship recipient at the University of Toronto. 

Established in 2023 in memory of REMAP’s beloved Founder and CEO Irene Sterian, the scholarship is the result of many generous contributions from across the REMAP network, as well as Irene’s family and friends.

A proud engineering graduate from the University of Toronto, Irene was a central figure in Canada’s advanced manufacturing landscape, a talented leader and special mentor to many people – women in particular – helping them to pursue their educational and career goals in STEM-based fields. 

The luncheon with Ashwini was a special moment for everyone involved, and the REMAP team enjoyed getting to know more about this talented and ambitious scholar. Together, we spent time sharing special memories of Irene and her impact, and of course, getting to know Ashwini better. 

From left to right: Loretta Renard (CEO), Nimfa Sacun (CFO), Kristy O'Sullivan (Strategic Communications), Ashwini Wijeyakumar (Irene Sterian Scholarship for Women in Engineering recipient) and Dawn Chan (Communications)

Arriving to the luncheon surprisingly unfazed after her first University calculus exam, Ashwini was able to shift gears quickly – filling the team in on her fantastic experiences so far as a first-year Engineering Science student and sharing insight into her career goals. 

“My dream is to pursue a career in the biomedical engineering and science field,” explained Ashwini. “Ideally I would like to work on building prosthetics – doing something that helps others to lead a better life.”

The REMAP leadership team is committed to helping Ashwini pursue her dreams. “Women still face challenges in reaching their full potential in STEM fields,” explained Loretta Renard, CEO of REMAP. “In addition to the financial support afforded through the scholarship, our team is committed to enabling our scholarship recipients by providing additional support such as access to our network and ongoing mentorship – just as Irene would have done.”

“Eventually, REMAP’s goal is to create a vibrant community of scholarship recipients so that these young women can support and guide each other in their educational and career goals while forming supportive and inspiring relationships,” added Nimfa Sacun, REMAP’s CFO.

Reflecting on our time with Ashwini, the REMAP team is very proud of the impact that the scholarship is already having on women in STEM, and its potential to support and inspire other women in the future.

“It was great to learn more about Irene’s significant legacy, vibrant personality and passion for helping women in engineering to pursue their goals,” concluded Ashwini.As the first woman in my family to pursue a career in engineering, I hope I can inspire some of my younger relatives to follow in my footsteps.”

Celebrate with us!

Whether today on International Women’s Day, or at any time, join us in paving the way for aspiring female engineers!  You can make a difference by continuing to support the Irene Sterian Scholarship for Women in Engineering at any time. Your contribution, no matter the size, will celebrate these young women, all while honouring Irene’s extraordinary legacy. 

Donate today at: University of Toronto (utoronto.ca)