A Halifax-based non-profit organization is excited to announce even more young women from diverse backgrounds will soon have the opportunity to meet and be mentored by female role models and employers.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Techsploration has been providing female participants the chance to explore and learn about science, engineering, skilled trades and technology occupations with the intention to create an interest in careers that they might not otherwise have considered.
“(I love) being able to see the outcome of connecting young women to inspiring female role models and the connections that are made through that,” says interim executive director Emily Boucher, who leads the award-winning organization that delivers hands-on, mentor-led programming to girls in grades 9 through 12. “I really think we are one of Nova Scotia’s better-kept secrets!"
Through the organization’s four-phase program, Techsploration facilitates the pairing of eligible students to a role model from an in-demand field in science, engineering, trades or technology. From there, the students are provided with exclusive mentorship and invaluable worksite experience.
“They get to experience a day in the life of their role model,” says Boucher, adding the organization is currently partnered with 23 schools across the province. At each participating institution, up to eight students are permitted to apply to the program.
“We have had role models and teachers who have literally participated for 24 years,” says Boucher, who adds many students who go through the program return to Techsploration to act as mentors. “Being part of the program and knowing that more women are entering fields where they are still significantly underrepresented is a really positive feeling.”
Recently, Techsploration expanded into Ontario after receiving funding from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to start-up its programming at several schools in Hamilton and Ottawa.
Now the organization is excited to announce an expanded partnership with global commerce provider Shopify who, in November, became Techsploration’s newest Eureka Level Partner — a title given to sponsorships valued at more than $50,000.
“Shopify came on in advance of this national expansion pilot as we were looking at Ontario expansion,” says Boucher, noting the pandemic began restricting in-person programs shortly after. “One of the reasons I think they have continued to invest in us as a program is because of our ability to adapt to an online model and working with them and various other partners.”
Although Shopify’s considerable donation gives the organization a much-needed boost in both financial support and in kind, Boucher says additional support is always welcome to keep Techsploration’s important programs thriving — particularly in a pandemic.
“There are two primary ways to get involved with Techsploration and one is certainly program participation,” says Boucher, adding that they are always looking for role models, guest speakers or general volunteers.
She also notes, as a non-profit group, Techsploration also accepts donations to help provide imperative core programming to young women.
“As part of our program, we ensure that no student and no school pays to participate,” adds Boucher. “(So) all of that goes toward supporting the participation of students in this program.”
For more information on Techsploration, visit the website.