In celebration of International Day of the Girl, Fleming College will host the third annual FemSTEAM Summit to encourage women to pursue careers in science, technology and trades, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) on Wednesday.

Photo Courtesy of Fleming College.

Photo Courtesy of Fleming College.

FemSTEAM was started by three local businesswomen three years ago to encourage young girls in the region to consider STEAM fields and skill-oriented careers through mentorship, events, education and outreach activities. Fleming College and Trent University alternate hosting the annual summit, with Fleming organizing the first one on campus in 2019, followed by a virtual event last year by Trent. Due to the pandemic restrictions, this year’s event will be virtual.

“It is expected that 50 per cent of jobs in society will be related to fields of STEM study,” states Rhonda Barnet, a FemSTEAM founder and president and COO, AVIT Manufacturing. “Women in North America make up 48 per cent of the workforce. Yet they make up less than 30 per cent of STEAM graduates and only 23 per cent of science and technology workers around the world. In response to these staggering statistics, FemSTEAM’s mission is to move the dial on girls in Canada entering post-secondary studies in STEAM.”

Teachers and students from local school boards are invited to attend the event. Fleming President Maureen Adamson and Cathy Bruce, Vice President of Research and Innovation at Trent University will provide the welcome remarks. The agenda for the morning includes keynote addresses by Nicole Verkindt, founder of OMX Offset Market Exchange, and Jamie McMillan, founder of Kickass Careers, virtual tours of Fleming College and Trent University, and a panel featuring current students and graduates from both institutions.

Panellists include:

  • Krista Scaldwell, vice-president of communications and public affairs, Canada Life

  • Joanne Dereta, principal and managing director, CI Private Wealth

  • Sarah Aftergood, director of environmental permitting, Orsted Onshore North America

  • Mackenzie Barclay, Welding & Fabrication Technician student

  • Emma Tozer, Electrical Engineering Technician student

  • Rebecca Yaxley, Carpentry Apprentice

“Our goal at Fleming is to provide equal opportunities for women to pursue and thrive in STEAM careers,” said Pam Stoneham, Dean, School of Trades and Technology at Fleming. “The female enrolment in trades and technology programs at the College is currently around nine per cent. We believe initiatives like the FemSTEAM Symposium and Mentor Mondays will contribute to our goal of doubling that number by 2026.”

“At Trent University, we have many state-of-the-art and renowned facilities and over 100 academic programs–all accessible by our students so they can get hands-on experience in the fascinating fields of the sciences, technology, engineering, the arts, and math,” notes Cathy Bruce, vice president of research and innovation at Trent University. “As a mathematician and mathematics educator, I know first-hand how transformational it can be for students to study alongside renowned professors who are also leaders in their fields. Trent University takes those student experiences very seriously.”

More than 600 students are expected to watch the event from the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board. Students from the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board will also participate. This year’s virtual event will reach more than 1,000 grade seven and eight students in the area.

The virtual FemSTEAM Summit on Wednesday, Oct. 13 begins at 9:30 a.m. For more information and to join the live stream, please visit

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