Members of the Dalhousie Women in Engineering Society (WiE) received 14 scholarships on Wednesday in memory of the 14 women killed in the Dec. 6,1989, École Polytechnique massacre.
The École Polytechnique massacre is Canada’s deadliest mass shooting, in which Marc Lépine entered the Montreal school and killed 14 women. He targeted women specifically.
Most of the women who were killed were engineering students.
“This is a big year for us,” Peggy Boyd, president of the WiE society, said at the memorial on Wednesday at Dalhousie’s Sexton Campus. “We wanted to start something new to help focus on action.”
The Take Back December 6th Sisterhood Awards were created with this idea in mind.
The awards were given out to students who are considered to be role models in their program.
Boyd, who received one of the awards, called each of the women up one by one to receive a scholarship cheque of $1,000 to help them in continuing their education in engineering.
“It is an honour to continue the victim’s legacies and to carry on the tradition of women in engineering,” said Nayani Jensen, one of the award winners, in an interview after the memorial.
“There was one co-op I had where there were 30 guys and then me,” said Jensen. “So I think that kind of experience is why it’s really important to have this type of award.”
The awards were presented in the form of photo frames which included a photograph and bio of the recipient next to a photograph and bio of one of the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre.
The scholarship funding came from Dalhousie University president Richard Florizone and Dalhousie Provost Carolyn Watters. Josh Leon, dean of the faculty of engineering and Wendy Gentleman, a professor in the department of engineering mathematics, also personally contributed to the award.
Gentleman kickstarted the idea for the award this year.
“Dalhousie supports this and has big visions for this growing in the future,” she said.
Award winners included:
- Peggy Boyd
- Morgan Robinson
- Florence Park
- Kirsti Mason
- Jackie Otterbein
- Jane Ouillette
- Bintou Kaira
- Ainsley Walsh
- Megan Behrens
- Nicola Jones
- Heather MacKnight
- Maddie Smith
- Gabriella San Thiago
- Nayani Jensen