Eight UBC students receive inaugural women in tech scholarships

UBC Point Grey. Photo: Hover Collective.

For Giulia Mattia, a computer science student at UBC, the pathway into the tech sector just got a bit easier thanks to a newly launched scholarship from the Irving K Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society.

Mattia is among 11 students in BC awarded the women in tech scholarships based on academic achievement and a commitment to pursuing a career in computer science, engineering or mathematics.
"I aspire to be a female leader in tech," said Mattia, who is in her third year of the four-year degree. "And, I hope to one day represent and inspire women in the tech sector throughout B.C and around the world. This scholarship has helped me realize the impact that my work has had on my community. Most importantly, it’s encouraged me to believe in myself and to remember that women belong in tech."

Women are under-represented in tech-related disciplines such as sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Women receive about 37% of STEM credentials awarded by the B.C. public post-secondary system, compared to 59% of non-STEM program credentials.
"We want to open the doors for more women in the tech sector because they're under-represented in tech businesses throughout the province. Women have the knowledge, skills, and tech talent to launch successful careers in a dynamic sector and we are committed to supporting them to get ahead," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "These scholarships are an important first step to giving more women opportunities to succeed in the tech sector."

Premier John Horgan announced the scholarships in May 2018 at the BC Tech Summit to inspire and support more women considering these fields.

"We are encouraging and supporting girls and women to pursue a career in the tech sector," said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. "These scholarships are one of the ways we are working to ensure women have access to the right training to help advance their career in the sector. Women in the tech field bring different perspectives that can lead to innovative solutions that ultimately help businesses thrive and grow."

The tech sector in B.C. is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy generating about $29 billion in revenue, supporting over 106,000 good-paying jobs. The province is home to more than 10,200 tech businesses.

Labour market forecasts expect more than 82,000 tech-related jobs openings over the next decade for computer programmers, software designers, engineers and others.

"The sheer number and exceptional calibre of not just the award recipients but of all applicants speaks volumes about the contributions made and the contributions that women will inevitably make to this province," said Rajiv Gandhi, chair of the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society. "The namesake of our society believed strongly in education as the basis for equality, progress, and personal and professional satisfaction. We’re humbled to steward this award and to play our part in encouraging the advancement of women in science."

2018 Women in Technology and Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarship Recipients

  • Emilie Boras from Penticton - UBC - mechanical engineering
  • Alexandra Dean from Nelson - UVic  - computer science/math
  • Emma Jackson from North Saanich - UBC - mechanical engineering
  • Natella Jafarova from Victoria - UVic - statistics
  • Giulia Mattia from Burnaby - UBC - computer science
  • Emily Medema from Vernon - UBCO - computer science
  • Angelina Pinchbeck from Kelowna - UBCO - mechanical engineering
  • Marlie Russell from Williams Lake - UBCO - computer science
  • Jobina Tamminga* from Big Cedar - UBC - computer science/biology
  • Amy Zhu from Vancouver - UBC - computer science

*Jobina Tamminga is the recipient of the Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarship

"This scholarship has helped me realize the impact that my work has had on my community. Most importantly, it’s encouraged me to believe in myself and to remember that women belong in tech."

Alex Walls
Media Relations Specialist, UBC Media Relations