The Yellowknife Community Foundation (YKCF) announced in a news release Wednesday that they will be creating a Rio Tinto Diavik Mine Community Scholarship for women in sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Rio Tinto Diavik Mine has increased their annual funding to the Yellowknife Community Foundation as to include a new scholarship for Northern women in STEM fields. Bronwyn Watters, president of YKCF, accepted the funding at the annual YKCF fundraising gala on Feb. 9. Front row from the left, Winter Bailey, Bronwyn Watters, Kenna Snow, Lindsey Dempsey, Angela Big and Tara Marchiori. In the back row from the left, Moira Gustafson, Cara Benoit, Amber Robertson, Mellisa Mercredi and Laura Tremblay-Davey. photo courtesy of YKCF

“There was an obvious growing need for people to enter into the STEM fields,” said Bronwyn Watters, president of YKCF.

“Traditionally this is a male-dominated environment and this is beginning to break away,” she said. “But we wanted to give an extra bit of incentive for women to become a part of the picture.”

This new $2,000 scholarship will be for assisting any woman who is applying in a STEM field and is a resident of NWT or the West Kitikmeot region of Nunavut. To be a resident the applicant must have lived in these regions for at least half of their life.

It’s not required that applicants commit to returning to the North, but preference is given to those who express and interest in working in mining.

Winter Bailey, acting manager of communities and communications for Rio Tinto Diavik Diamond Mine, said this scholarship is in line with Rio Tinto’s inclusion and diversity initiatives.

“Rio Tinto has ongoing efforts to support women in the mining industry and this Northern women only scholarship will directly support these efforts on a more local level,” said Bailey.

Diavik’s most recent internal review in 2017 found that only 13 per cent of staff were women, which fell short of its 25 per cent target.

Bailey mentioned those numbers are similar throughout the mining industry but, “we want as many women to get involved in the mining industry as possible.”

Since 2013, Rio Tinto has been providing funding to for scholarships to applicants who wish to becoming educated a mining-related field and have contributed $207,900 to the scholarship fund. The two other scholarships offered are for students focusing on mining programs or mining support programs.

The funding from Rio Tinto was received at the 2019 YKCF annual fundraising gala on Feb. 9.

Applications to all of the Rio Tinto Diavik Mine scholarships through the YKCF are open on March 1.

Brett McGarry

Brett McGarry came to Yellowknife in early 2019 after graduating from Humber College with an advanced diploma in journalism. After covering city council and local business as a reporter, Brett is now an...

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