Women in STEM Careers: ‘So Much Potential There’

British American Foundation of Texas Among Numerous Enbridge Community Partners Fueling the Future of Girls and Women
Mar 21, 2023 1:45 PM ET
Group of graduates throwing their hat in the air

A young woman in Texas hoped to study computer science in university. But the program was too demanding for her to complete while also working two part-time jobs. Tuition was simply too expensive to pursue the degree of her choice.

That all changed when she was awarded two scholarships from the British American Foundation of Texas. The exceptional young student promptly switched majors and graduated with her preferred degree.

The scholarship had a cascading effect. The woman, now in a well-paying computer science job, supports her entrepreneur brother as he develops his business.

Two other siblings are working harder than ever at school. College is within their sights. If their sister could do it, so will they.

“It's really gratifying to know that we’ve supported one woman, but the knock-on effect is so much greater than the sum of its parts,” says Kay Thomson, BAFTX’s Executive Director.

Since 2006, BAFTX has been providing STEM- and business-focused scholarships to Texas-based students who excel academically but who also face financial barriers. In 2020, the non-profit established the Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) scholarship because “only 28% of the STEM workforce is currently female,” Thomson explains. “The sector is missing out.”

Enbridge has been contributing to BAFTX’s general scholarship fund since 2012. When we heard about the organization’s new Women in STEM scholarship, we wanted to support this initiative—to give more opportunities to girls and women to succeed in STEM—and now provide an annual $10,000 Fueling Futures grant to fund two scholarships per year.

We’re proud that many of the organizations we support through our Fueling Futures grants focus on developing the potential of girls and women, be it through career and personal development, leadership opportunities, and STEM education.

In 2022 and 2023, we helped fuel the future of girls and women through these organizations across North America:

  • The YWCA YWHISPER Gala, in Calgary, AB, raises funds for critical services for vulnerable women and families. We’ve sponsored this year’s gala with a $5,500 grant.
  • Build a Dream supports career development, and its Dreamer Day festival celebrates women working in underrepresented industries, such as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). Enbridge Gas has been supporting this organization since 2017.
  • The SPARK Leadership Conference for Women, in Fort St. John, BC, encourages attendees to step into their greatness and advance their careers. We’re an annual sponsor via $5,000 Fueling Futures grants.
  • Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta helps girls aged 6 through 18 learn to be strong, smart and bold by developing the skills needed to break free from gender stereotypes and create change. We support this group with an annual $2,500 Fueling Futures grant.
  • Williams County Soil Conservation District’s Ladies Ag Night in North Dakota connects women in the agriculture industry, promoting their work and the sector. We recently supported with a $1,000 grant.
  • The Homewood Science Center in Homewood, IL, operates the Girls STEAM Success Club—which delivers afterschool programming to girls in middle school, helping them develop skills, learn about STEAM careers and set goals. We supported this group in 2022 with a $7,500 donation.
  • The Detroit Area Pre College Engineering Program delivers advanced STEM courses to pre-K to Grade 12 students to encourage future interest in STEM careers. We provided $25,000 in support of DAPCEP in 2022.
  • The Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence in Houma, LA hosts Girls Who Code Summer Camp—a week-long learning experience for girls, focused on STEM and the notion of being “Brave Not Perfect.” We provided $2,500 in support in 2022.

Thomson believes there’s an untapped resource regarding women in STEM.

“There's so much potential there,” she says. “We need to harness this potential. We need to remove the barriers to make sure they can access careers in STEM, so they can boost our economy and make a meaningful contribution to our industries.

“We don’t want to miss out on what (women and girls) have to offer.”