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Island Women in Science and Technology Launches Inaugural Scholarship Program with Support from Women's Equity Lab

Island Women in Science and Technology Launches Inaugural Scholarship Program with Support from Women's Equity Lab

Technology Sector Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Philanthropy/Charity

Eleven Women Leaders in STEM take the runway at the STEMStruck Event to raise funds to launch the iWIST Scholarship

Victoria, BC - In a groundbreaking move to foster diversity and empower women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Island Women in Science and Technology (iWIST) is proud to announce the launch of its inaugural scholarship program. This initiative, launched this month, is made possible through the generous support of the Women's Equity Lab, an organization committed to advancing women's equity through women-directed early stage investing.

Founded in 2011 as Island Women in Technology, iWIST has been a beacon of support for women in STEM on Vancouver Island. With a mission to build a trusted community that promotes and facilitates access to peer connection and individual development, iWIST sees the launch of the scholarship as a way to ensure women studying STEM receive the funding they need to succeed in starting their careers.

"We are thrilled to introduce this scholarship program as part of our ongoing commitment to support and encourage women to engage with and thrive in STEM," says Louise Wilkinson, iWIST Board Chair. "As the STEM sector continues to evolve, it's crucial that we provide tangible support to women pursuing education in these fields."

The iWIST scholarship is designed for women studying STEM subjects on Vancouver Island. Eligibility criteria include residency on Vancouver Island, demonstrated perseverance and dedication in a field where women are underrepresented, and a clear commitment to a future career in STEM. The scholarship aims not only to provide financial assistance but also to recognize and celebrate the resilience of women navigating traditionally male-dominated fields.

"We're looking for applicants who embody the spirit of iWIST," explains Robyn Quinn, Scholarship Committee Lead, and one of the original founders of iWIST. "These are women who, despite challenges, are passionate about making their mark in STEM. By supporting their education, we're investing in a more diverse and innovative future for our industries."

Women's Equity Lab (WEL), known for its impactful investments in women-led ventures, stepped up as the primary sponsor for this initiative by hosting a fundraising fashion show “STEMStruck”. This mesmerizing evening held in Victoria last year showcased eleven impressive women leaders in STEM on the runway, and was made possible thanks to the vision and effort of Laura Arnsdorf, Jade Stevenson, Kristine Lee, Stephanie Andrew and Anna Arneja. "Supporting iWIST's scholarship program aligns perfectly with our mission," states Stephanie Andrew, Founding Partner at Women's Equity Lab. "By backing women in STEM education, we're not just funding scholarships; we're fueling the pipeline of talent that will drive technological advancements and scientific breakthroughs."

iWIST plans to award the scholarships at their 2024 Summer Party, an annual event that exemplifies the organization's commitment to creating a fun, engaging, and accepting community. Recipients will have the opportunity to network with established professionals and peers, gaining valuable connections that can shape their careers.

This scholarship program is the latest in iWIST's array of initiatives aimed at supporting women in STEM. The organization regularly hosts networking events, professional development workshops, and panel discussions featuring successful women in the field. Notable past events include the "Best Advice I Ever Ignored" CEOs Panel and the "Leading the Way" conference.

Applications for the 2024 iWIST Scholarship are now open. Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the iWIST website ( for more information and to apply. As iWIST continues to grow and evolve, this scholarship program marks a significant milestone in its journey to cultivate allyship, promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, and ultimately, to change the face of STEM on Vancouver Island.

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