Women in Communications and Technology Introduces the Dr. Roberta Bondar Career Development Program for Young Women in Science and Technology

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Women and Communications and Technology (WCT) has introduced a new career development program taking aim at advancing the careers of young women in science and technology.

“This model works”

The Dr. Roberta Bondar Career Development Program is designed to give women an advantage in science and technology careers in the private and public sector. The program consists of networking and leadership development sessions, site visits and meetings with private and public sector leaders.

The program is open to women 35 years old and younger who have been hired into their first science and technology position within the last five years. Women engineers, researchers, scientists, computer scientists, technologists and others working in science and technology fields are eligible to apply. The internship provides the participants with a perspective on issues and practices within a wide variety of government and commercial organizations and provides a unique perspective that can help bring together women working in the public and private sectors.

“Young women need professional development and strong networks to succeed in their careers”, said Kelly Gillis, Associate Deputy Minister, Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada. “This is particularly true in scientific and technical fields where women are significantly outnumbered and where the opportunities and networks don’t occur naturally.” Ms. Gillis announced the creation of the program with Ron Parker, President of Shared Services Canada at the Annual WCT Awards gala.

The program is named for Dr. Roberta Bondar who was present at the announcement. Dr. Bondar is renowned for being Canada’s first woman in space, serving as a payload specialist in the 1992 voyage of the Space Shuttle Discovery. “Dr. Bondar is a national hero and an iconic scientist and physician,” Mr. Parker said. “She embodies all the qualities we hope to inspire and cultivate in the current generation of women in science and technology. We are honoured that she has leant her name to this initiative”.

The program is modeled on another successful program that WCT has operated for over 20 years. The Jeanne Sauvé Career Development Program brings women in broadcasting and communications companies together with women in cultural and economic public policy and regulation for a similar two-week program. This program now boasts over 200 alumnae, including many current leaders in industry and government.

“This model works”, said Joanne Stanley, Executive Director of WCT. “It interrupts the isolation that women in scientific and digital enterprises occupations can experience, it introduces them to leaders in their sectors, provides unique learning opportunities and provides a network of fellow-participants that many have found to be an asset throughout their careers”.

The Dr. Roberta Bondar Career Development Program will be the capstone program of the Public Sector Network announced by WCT in the fall of 2015. The new program will open its call for applications on May 9th, and its inaugural session will take place in September of 2016.

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Mathea Stevens
Women in Communications and Technology
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