Women in the Professions
Highlighting Women Advancing the Professions
APEGA is committed to increasing the representation, engagement, and retention of women in engineering and geoscience to ensure the inclusivity and sustainability of the professions. Let's celebrate those who practice, from the trailblazers to those who are currently leading the way.
Alberta Women’s Science Network (AWSN) Equitable Scholarship Program
AWSN is receiving a 2023 Summit Award in recognition of their exceptional achievement as a champion of women in engineering and geoscience. In 2022, AWSN updated their scholarship program to assess the whole person and their experiences with the practicalities of the application and adjudication processes. This change better considered how the social and political identities of an individual intersect to create types of systemic oppression, discrimination, and lived experiences.
Honour Excellence at the Virtual Summit Awards Gala
What happens when you bring together a group of exceptional professional engineers and geoscientists to celebrate their innovations and contributions to the professions? Attend APEGA's virtual Summit Awards Gala on April 27 to find out! Come and learn about the accomplished professionals and projects receiving awards in 2023.
Read about More Women Engineers and Geoscientists in Alberta
A Blocked Pipeline to Success: Changing the Female Geoscientist Experience
Mandy Williams, P.Geol., stayed up much of the night directing the drilling progress of a horizontal well. She's used to the ambiguity—it trails through regions of the geoscience landscape in more ways than oil-pool prospects. It is similarly plaited into the experience of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. The data is bringing this to light, in part by APEGA’s Women in the Workplace: A Shift in Industry Work Culture report.
Engineering Equity: A Female Perspective in a Male-Dominated Profession
As a female working in a male-dominated profession, Megan Bowen, P.Eng., says most of her experiences are positive—it’s the negative ones that can mar the rest. “At my current company, I feel very supported and respected, which is really huge.” She says her current role is ideal, but in the past at other organizations, she has faced challenges and biases because she is a woman.
Mentorship in Any Language
When she first moved to Canada, mentoring was a foreign concept to Mairim Neves, P.Eng. “I remember a friend told me I needed a mentor. I didn’t know what the term meant.” Fast forward 12 years—Neves has become the mentor she once needed, volunteering in APEGA's Mentoring Program.
Swimming Against a Colonial Current
Professional engineer Kerry Black is an innovator making Calgary—and the world we all share—a better place to live. For her efforts, Black has been awarded an Avenue Top 40 Under 40 award. She swims against a colonial current, working to change systems, policies, infrastructures, and beliefs. Her work is helping to ensure clean water and equity for Indigenous communities.
A Symbiotic Asset for So Many
APEGA’s 2022 Women in Engineering and Geoscience Champion Summit Award recipient, Dr. Qiao Sun, P.Eng., is simultaneously an educational leader, a government influencer, and an entire grassroots organization unto herself. She imparts the courage to fail—and succeed—on her mentees. She says, "Engineering training gives you that attitude—if you don’t like it, change it."
Lighting the World into the Next 100 Years
Alison Thompson, P.Eng., is about progress—perpetual movement forward towards a cleaner country—a drive that earned her the APEGA Centennial Leadership Summit Award in 2020. For years she worked in the oil and gas industry before having an epiphany about geothermal energy. Why was the Canadian sector not leveraging this system that had been in use for more than 100 years in other countries?
Alberta's Women Engineers and Geoscientists Through History
Let's celebrate those who came first, forging the way and creating possibilities for women in the professions.
Breaking New Ground: Alberta’s First Female Geoscientists
Alberta’s first female geoscientists were true trailblazers—sometimes literally. Whether climbing mountains to collect rock samples or examining microfossils in a lab, their work led to new discoveries and gave future generations of Earth scientists a better understanding of the world beneath our feet.
Champions of Change: Alberta’s First Female Engineers
Alberta’s first female engineers quietly transformed the face of engineering in Alberta. Though they were few—only a handful by the late 1960s—they overcame resistance and steadfastly cleared a path for those who followed. Challenging the status quo, they were pioneers in their fields. They were also patriots. Entrepreneurs. Advocates for women in engineering. Leaders and role models.
Who was APEGA’s First Female Member?
Was professional geologist Helen Leskiw the first woman to register with APEGA? We did some digging and the answer is yes—probably. She graduated from the University of Alberta in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in science, followed by one year of graduate studies in the geology department, and registered with APEGA in 1954.
The Unstoppable Alice Payne, P.Geo.
The Dean of Women was threatening to expel her. It was 1961 and Alice Payne, a third-year geology undergrad at the University of Alberta, had signed up for the annual class field trip to the mountains. The one-week outing was a vital part of her structural geology course—a chance to learn hands-on skills she’d need for employment. The problem? She was the only female on the list. Going on the field trip simply wouldn’t be proper.
Women in the Professions Share Their Perspectives
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Check out APEGA's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
- Read the Women in the Workplace: A Shift in Industry Work Culture Report
- Learn more about APEGA's 30-by-30 Initiative
- Explore free training and resources
- Learn more about the Women in APEGA Advisory Group