Province announces boost for Women in STEM Scholarships during event at Mount Royal University

Increased funding will benefit students in science and technology

Peter Glenn | April 7, 2022

Rachel Timmermans, VP External, SAMRU; Theresa Tayler, MRU alumna and head of content and public relations at Chic Geek;  Dr. Yasaman Amannejad, PhD, assistant professor in mathematics and computing at MRU; and Whitney Issik, associate minister of Status of Women.

From left: Rachel Timmermans, VP External, SAMRU; Theresa Tayler, MRU alumna and head of content and public relations at Chic Geek; Dr. Yasaman Amannejad, PhD, assistant professor in mathematics and computing at MRU; and Whitney Issik, associate minister of Status of Women.


Increasing the number of women working in science, technology, engineering and math is key to Alberta’s economic future. On Thursday, April 7 at Mount Royal University, the Government of Alberta announced a record number of students will be receiving the Women in STEM Scholarship this year.

This scholarship supports women studying in STEM fields, areas in which women are often underrepresented. This year, $732,500 will be distributed to 293 students. This one-time top-up funding will mean 243 more students will receive $2,500 to help pay for their studies than last year.

“Helping more women pursue education and careers in well-paying STEM fields is an important step in advancing gender equality and supporting women to succeed in the fulfilling career of their choice. Helping women achieve their dreams benefits all of Alberta and is the key to building this province’s thriving future,” said Whitney Issik, associate minister of Status of Women.

MRU’s Faculty of Science and Technology offers studies and generates research in a wide variety of STEM fields, including biology, chemistry and physics, earth and environmental sciences, and mathematics and computing. In 2019, the province approved new majors in biology and computer science within MRU’s Bachelor of Science program. The new specializations joined science majors in chemistry, environmental science, general science and geology, along with a degree in computer information systems.

“Mount Royal University is focused on increasing the number of women in our science and technology programs gaining knowledge and skills needed for employment in STEM-related fields, and helping to increase women’s representation in these sectors,” said Dr. Yasaman Amannejad, PhD, assistant professor in mathematics and computing at MRU. “While being underrepresented, women excel in our classrooms and programs due to their hard work and determination. These scholarships bring more visibility to the success of these women and help us celebrate with them the challenges they have overcome to this date in their pursuit of STEM education.”

Amannejad emceed the announcement, held at the Maker Studio in Mount Royal University’s Riddell Library and Learning Centre, and said she has interacted with many bright women who excel in computing programs.

“These women have overcome many challenges such as gender stereotypes. Some were even questioned about their decisions when they chose to join programs that are traditionally known to be male-dominant. These women, with their determination and hard work, have shown by example that studying in STEM fields is not gender-dependent.”


Whitney Issik, associate minister of Status of Women.

Whitney Issik, associate minister of Status of Women speaking at the Maker Studio in Mount Royal University’s Riddell Library and Learning Centre.


The success of the Women in STEM Scholarship recipients goes beyond individual achievements and sends a clear message to other women in Alberta, Canada, and all over the world that they, too, can follow their dreams in any field that they may wish to pursue.

When women are supported in pursuing careers in which they are often underrepresented, they access new opportunities to reach their full potential, support their families and contribute to Alberta’s growing knowledge-based economy.

“The Ministry’s investment in the Women in STEM scholarship is an exceptional increase in funding compared to previous years. These funds will significantly reduce the barriers and increase affordability for hundreds of women across Alberta. The contribution this scholarship and its recipients will make to the province of Alberta will show returns for years to come. This is one strong foot forward in the movement towards equity for women,” said Rachel Timmermans, vice-president external, Students’ Association of Mount Royal University.

The Women in STEM Scholarship program is a pivotal entrance point for women in Alberta into the province’s growing and vibrant technology sector and the jobs that will not only help them and their families prosper, but empower more Albertans with meaningful, vibrant tech careers, said Theresa Tayler, MRU alumna and head of content and public relations for Chic Geek, a Calgary-based organization striving to increase diversity in the high-tech and startup communities by educating, engaging and empowering women.

“At Chic Geek, we know women are underrepresented in the technology sector and STEM, and they are also twice as likely to quit mid-career level as men are. Chic Geek exists to provide women in tech with a clear path to advancement and we know just how important creating opportunities, such as scholarships, are.”

At the end of March, Chic Geek launched its Career Pathing initiative (supported by the provincial and federal governments) that bridges tangible career connections with programming that directly impacts women in the technology sector, as well as those who want to transition into tech from other careers, while helping seed tech companies with qualified, passionate women.

The next application intake for Women in Stem Scholarship will open in fall of 2022.

Read more about the scholarships and STEM options at Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Science and Technology.