Roxanne Beauchamp, 20, a 2nd year mechanical engineering student at Laval University, and her sister Marie-Philippe, soon to be 18, who is preparing a DEC in pure sciences at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit, affirm that the more girls progress in their studies, the more they like science and technology. These two science and technology enthusiasts will once again be spokespersons for the annual event " Girls and science, an electrifying duo! ". They will discuss with the 300 or so participants the great diversity of existing scientific and technological careers as part of the 14th edition of this major thematic day which will take place on Saturday February 16, 2013 at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS). Satellite events will also be held at Laval University in Quebec, the University of Sherbrooke and the University of Quebec in Rimouski.
Two increasingly enthusiastic spokespersons!
“In 2013, it will be the sixth time that I have been the spokesperson for the event, the fifth for Marie-Philippe, and we take this role very seriously, because the Duo has really been a decisive experience for both of us. We can say that this simple day of discovery guided our life choices. We hope that many girls will also have the chance to discover a professional passion or at least to have their interest in science or technology confirmed! Roxanne says enthusiastically.
Roxanne's first participation in the Duo dates back to 2006, when she was in secondary 2. She returned in 2007, then agreed to play the role of spokesperson for the following years, quickly dragging her little sister with her, convinced that she had to do her part to invite girls to look at science and technology more objectively. .
More and more captivating studies
“Our studies take us more and more time, but, in return, it becomes more fascinating from year to year! The course is more and more interesting, with more and more subjects getting closer to what we want to do and, conversely, with less and less general courses. I would like to take the Mechatronics concentration as soon as possible because I want to work in robotics or in automated production, ”says Roxanne.
As children, Roxanne and Marie-Philippe spent most of their free time together imagining practical solutions to all kinds of common problems. At 12, Roxanne developed an “automatic” central vacuum system by attaching the device's hose to a remote-controlled tractor! In 3rd, 4th, then 5th secondary, she won the trophy of the student "the most passionate and involved in the world of science" for her dynamism within the environment committee of her establishment. Since then, Roxanne and Marie-Philippe have multiplied inventions: spider sensor, alarm system for cabinet, non-slip hanger, ecological insulating envelope for coffee mugs, electronic playing dice, reusable fabric gift bags… Their studies have become more demanding over time, they took a break in their career as inventors, but this is undoubtedly only a parenthesis ...
A lasting motivator
“One of the great advantages of the Duo is to allow participants to see where it will take them. Then, we know where we want to go and why we persevere! »Assures Roxanne. “The Duo is just a day, but we live it so intensely, and in the company of such passionate women, that it's a great source of motivation. In the days of discouragement, I remember the experience and it starts again, ”confirms Marie-Philippe, who still hesitates between mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.
Future scientist, teacher or popularizer, Marie-Philippe will soon devote a few hours a week to help those of her comrades who are having difficulties within the framework of a tutoring program between students established at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit. "It will allow me to be up to date in my subject and to progress myself, because the best way to fully understand a concept is to still have to explain it", she says. Note that it is mainly girls who play this role.
It gets better over time!
“At university, there are less prejudices, we are among students who are interested in the same things. So I intend to tell the participants of the 2013 edition who still face anti-science prejudices not to worry: it will get better over the years! I'm not sure if that's because the Duo has become more and more famous over time, but it really does feel like they're attracting a higher proportion of girls who are already interested in a career in science. or in technology. It's encouraging! », Assures Roxanne.
That said, there is still a long way to go for girls since, in the program she follows, there are only about 10 % girls out of the 115 students at her level, and the percentage is similar among students. of the other levels.