Scholarships create impact, opportunity and connection for women in the tech sector

VANCOUVER - For student Haley Waldhaus, enrolled in mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria, it was a role model who helped steer her toward her future. Haley is one of 10 recipients of this year’s Women in Technology and Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarships awarded by the Irving K Barber BC Scholarship Society. They all have similar stories to share and hope they can plant the seeds for future women interested in the study of computer/data science, engineering and mathematics.

“It took a female science and mathematics teacher, to plant the engineering seed.” Waldhaus“I found it difficult to imagine what a woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) would look like when I was growing up —no one said… ‘you should go into engineering’,” says

The recipients receive more than just a $10,000 scholarship, they are the architects of a community of women in engineering, computer/data sciences and mathematics to inspire and support each other as they advance their careers and pay it forward. As 2018 recipient Natella Jafarova explains, “The past year has had an immense impact on my life and career goals, partly because of the amazing opportunities associated with receiving a Women in Technology Scholarship. It has opened new doors for me.”


“These women are breaking down barriers and disrupting the status quo,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “B.C.’s tech sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and women are underrepresented. In order to move the dial, we need to support and empower women, Indigenous people, and other equity seeking groups so they can fully participate in B.C.’s strong economy.”

The 2019 Women in Technology & Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarships were presented at a ceremony held at Science World in Vancouver on November 29 and this year's recipients are:

• Nadia Ciobanu – Simon Fraser University – Computer Science
• Lorelei Guidos – Thompson Rivers University – Software Engineering
• Esther Lin – UBC – Engineering Physics
• Daphne Liu – UBC – Computer Science
Parmis Mohaghegh – UBC – Engineering Physics
• Tiffany Quon – UBC – Engineering Physics
• Sumreen Rattan – Simon Fraser University – Mechatronic Engineering
• Haley Waldhaus – University of Victoria – Civil Engineering
• Jessica Bo – UBC – Mechanical Engineering
• Kennedy Rolston* – University of Victoria – Civil Engineering

*recipient of the Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarship


The programs of the Irving K Barber BC Scholarship Society are administered by the Victoria Foundation. The Society delivers a series of scholarship and award programs that support B.C. post-secondary students to achieve their educational goals. Programs include awards for students transferring between B.C. public post-secondary institutions, Indigenous students, and students undertaking study or work opportunities abroad. Since its inception, the Society has awarded more than $20 million to over 6,000 students in B.C.


Learn More:
Eligibility criteria and applications for the Women in Technology Scholarships and Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarships are available at:



Recipients with Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training,
and Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity