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Stantec supports STEM scholarships within the LGBTQ2+ community

September 15, 2020

Three Canadian students receive funding to help further their education and become inspiring leaders within their communities

At the end of 2019, to celebrate Stantec’s 65th anniversary of being a company, we set up 65 scholarship donations to various post-secondary institutions and organizations that are truly representative of our global organization.

A few recipients of these scholarships that really stood out were in support of the LGBTQ2+ communities in Canada. First, the OK2BME program, which is a set of free services for LGBTQ2+ children, teens, and their families in the Waterloo, Ontario region. Our donation to this program supported the LGBT Help Line and joined with our own Ontario East Region, supported two scholarships.

The two scholarships—$1,250 each—were received by individuals at the Centre Wellington District High School in Fergus, Ontario. The scholarships were given to LGBTQ2+ students who plan on pursuing STEM in their post-secondary educations.

The first scholarship recipient, Rachel, is an openly gay, autistic, female computer engineer who has broken numerous stereotypes within her small town. She won the regional Canadian National Brain Bee Science Contest and produced some of the highest Cisco network security scores on the top female team in the Canadian CyberTitan Student Cybersecurity Competition. Rachel has proven her engineering and technology skills within the walls of her school, and beyond.

As a member of student council and a leader within the school and community, Rachel works with numerous non-profit Pride related groups and puts her tech savvy to good use by assisting with web development and cybersecurity. She graduated this year and is heading to Carleton University in Ottawa to continue her education in computer science and cybersecurity.

The second recipient, Annabella, has always been heavily involved in sports, music, drama, and academics. In her final year of high school, she expanded her involvement by writing and producing the student run Limelight production, was a member of the School Reach team, and co-directed the much anticipated school production of Hamlet.

With an interest in math and science, Annabella is always striving for a more fulsome understanding of content by exploring beyond the curriculum. She then shares new research, theories, and applications in class. She graduated this year and will be studying Physical Sciences at the University of Waterloo this month.

The second organization, EngiQueers Canada, is a nation-wide non-profit organization that represents 30+ similar member groups at engineering schools across the country. We have partnered with EngiQueers to provide a $1,000 scholarship to reward academic achievement in STEM fields.

Lars, who received the scholarship, will be graduating in 2021 with a degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo (UW). Lars ran UW’s EngiQueers group for 2.5 years, where he elevated the group to full affiliate status of the Engineering Society. He also worked with the university’s Equity Office to run a cross-campus panel featuring LGBTQ+ professionals, worked with the group in Kitchener-Waterloo (KW) to connect LGBTQ+ students at UW with LGBTQ+ professionals in the KW area, and helped create a community of LGBTQ+ engineering students, which will surely last long past his time at UW.

While working on the annual Engineering Orientation Week (EOW) event, Lars worked with a team to implement a few Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives that extended to the whole campus. One initiative emphasized the importance of normalizing the use of pronouns by providing all leaders with buttons they could write their pronouns on. Engineering leaders were also provided EDI training to improve the experience of new students during EOW.

Over the past two years, Lars has been consulting with team leaders at UW and Wilfried Laurier University to produce a gendered violence action plan. He has also worked within his own department at UW to improve some of their messaging and initiatives like the International Women’s Day annual celebration by making sure the content is inclusive of trans and gender non-conforming individuals. Because of his work, Lars has been asked to provide some insight on how to make the “Intro to Systems Design Engineering” course more inclusive of LGBTQ2+ individuals.

We stand with the LGBTQ2+ community and are happy to contribute to the education of the next generation of STEM workers.

Learn more about what Inclusion and Diversity means to Stantec.

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