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Engineering grad from B.C. awarded Polytechnique's Order of the White Rose


The annual Order of the White Rose was awarded to an engineering student from British Columbia on Monday.

Every year for nearly a decade, Polytechnique Montreal has given the scholarship to a remarkable Canadian female engineering student in memory of the 14 female engineering students killed at the school on Dec. 6, 1989.

This year's recipient is Amelia Dai, a chemical engineering graduate from UBC.

"This award is a tribute to the 14 women that lost their lives in the tragedy of 1989 and it's also a call to action to everyone to come together to imagine, design and built a more inclusive and diverse community for the future," she said.

The $50,000 scholarship will help her continue her PhD studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

"Big picture, I would like to focus my energy on developing sustainable energy, likely electric chemistry, likely on batteries," she said.

The white rose has become a symbol commemorating the attack at Ecole Polytechnique 34 years ago when the engineering students were gunned down because they were women.

Supporting women in engineering is deeply personal for survivor Nathalie Provost.

"We need them. Their point of view, the way they work is a bit different, and I think we are less about competition and more about finding solutions together and that's really important," she said.

Women engineers continue to be underrepresented in the field.

While more women are graduating from engineering programs than in 1989, change has been slow but steady.

At Polytechnique, 32 per cent of engineering undergrads last year were women.

"We know we want to go further and faster, but it's really deep work that we need to do in schools, making sure we initiate women to STEM, making sure they understand that engineering is a promising profession for them," said Maud Cohen, Polytechnique Montreal's first-ever female president.

Dai said she is passionate about promoting inclusion and diversity among engineers and the communities they serve.

"The people we're designing a problem for may not be from the same background as us, so it's important for us to take the time to learn who exactly each person is, rather than having some sort of assumption based on prejudice," she said. Top Stories

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