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Encourages more women to enter IT careers

January 12, 2007

When second-year Camosun College student Dena Ponech completes her diploma in Electronics Engineering this summer, she’ll be starting a new career with the Department of National Defence as an Auxiliary Systems Technician.

Ponech is being recognized as one of Canada’s top electronics engineering college students as she receives one of three new national technology scholarships for women sponsored by Cisco Systems Inc. and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC).

L to R: Ward Cartier, Acting Associate Dean, School of Trades & Technology Trevor Curtis, Instructor Dena Ponech, Scholarship Recipient Dr. Liz Ashton, Camosun College President, Michael Conn, Acting Dean, School of Trades & Technology

L to R: Ward Cartier, Acting Associate Dean, School of Trades & Technology Trevor Curtis, Instructor Dena Ponech, Scholarship Recipient Dr. Liz Ashton, Camosun College President, Michael Conn, Acting Dean, School of Trades & Technology

Cisco Systems Inc. is a world-wide leading supplier of networking equipment and network management for the Internet. Cisco provides almost all of the network infrastructure equipment globally for the Web today. Camosun teaches all of its networking electronics and computing courses using Cisco equipment.

ACCC is the national, voluntary membership organization created in 1972 to represent colleges and institutes to government, business and industry, both in Canada and internationally.

In May 2006, Cisco and ACCC signed a partnership agreement to encourage integrated Internet-based technology and increase women in information technology (IT) programs. Part of the agreement was the creation of the 2006-2007 Cisco-ACCC Technology Scholarship program to encourage more women to enter into studies and careers in the growing IT sector.

Ponech receives $1,000 from Cisco and a matching $1,000 from Camosun’s School of Trades and Technology.

“I am honoured to be chosen for the scholarship,” says Ponech. “I think it is essential that women are encouraged to pursue careers in technology and to compete for scholarships. I believe it will be a challenging and rewarding career choice and competing for this scholarship has enhanced my presentation skills.”

“I started to attend university for electrical engineering, and got my Diploma in Engineering from Dalhousie,” she adds. “It was very theoretical, and I wanted to get more hands-on training. I researched Camosun and chose it because they have extensive lab facilities and small class sizes. The instructors have been very helpful. They often put in extra hours to help students out and are attentive to our needs. They have high expectations and are there to help students meet their goals.”

“We are extremely proud of Dena and her accomplishments,” says Ward Cartier, acting associate dean for Camosun’s School of Trades and Technology. “Dena’s scholarship illustrates that Camosun is not only graduating extremely bright young women in technology, but we are also teaching them with the highest quality, state-of-the-art information technology and networking equipment available.”

Camosun currently offers nine different technology programs in the areas of electronics, computer, mechanical and civil engineering, computer graphics, computer systems, networks and electronics technology and web design. Almost 400 students take technology programs and 10 per cent are female.

“The future job prospects for technologists and engineers are extensive across Canada and there’s lots of room for females who have an interest in math and science,” adds Cartier. “Engineering technologists work in a variety of high tech areas including embedded microcontroller design, robotic systems and wireless communications.”

“On behalf of Camosun College, I congratulate Dena on all of her achievements and for being recognized at a national level,” says Dr. Liz Ashton, president of Camosun College. “It is very gratifying to see our students realize success in the career area of their choice and to work with such supportive industry partners like Cisco Systems Inc.”

Learn more about the Camosun's Electronics Engineering program.


Ward Cartier
Acting Associate Dean, School of Trades & Technology
Camosun College
Phone: 250-370-3821

Last updated: December 21, 2009 11:17 am

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