Encouraging Girls in Engineering: Investing in our Future


When academia and industry partner together you get “Feats of Engineering,” a program to encourage enrolment and career opportunities for young women in engineering.

On June 11th we had the privilege to host Youth Think Tank members Claire and Vikki and Ryerson student Stephanie at our Cisco Canada headquarters in downtown Toronto. We were just a little excited – here are the students showing off their new Cisco ICAN shirts with Associate Systems Engineers Alice Okundaye and Sam Yiu.

We Made It

After a short welcome and introduction to Cisco the students were put to work configuring a Cisco Telepresence unit. They used the same unit to have a videoconference with Cisco Engineer, Casey Kewais, located in our office in Kanata, Ontario.

We ended the day being interviewed by the students. Some of the things they wanted to know…

What do we do? Our specific team at Cisco are service and sales engineers who help customers understand and deploy our technology.

Why do we like it? It is cool. We are changing the way the world works, lives, plays and learns. Our technology is the foundation of so many awesome things that are happening in the world. We all like the aspect of working with customers and interacting with people.

What advice would we give? Don’t be intimidated because there are not many women in the field, you can do it. Stay curious and learn as much as you can.

Then we turned the tables.

Our students have been working on a project called “WEMADEIT”. Their website is designed by high school students for high school students to encourage them to consider Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Along the way they have written, interviewed and created videos. So we asked them…

What did you learn while doing this project?

Here’s what they said: Engineering is a very broad field and people do a lot of different kinds of jobs. IT is everywhere!

We couldn’t agree more.

Read more about how Youth Think Tank is investigating why girls aren’t getting into engineering here.

About Trina Alexson

Trina Alexson is the head of Advanced Services for the Service Provider Segment at Cisco Canada. In her role, she leads engineering teams that work directly with Cisco Service Provider customers to help them plan, build and operate their networks. Trina has over 25 years experience in the information technology industry and has been with Cisco since 1996. Prior to her role in the services organization she led software development teams responsible for high availability features in Cisco’s premier routing platforms. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland and an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. Trina Alexson est la responsable des services avancés offerts au segment des fournisseurs de services chez Cisco Canada. Dans le cadre de ses fonctions, elle dirige les équipes d'ingénierie qui travaillent directement avec les clients prestataires de services afin de les aider à planifier, à créer et à exploiter leurs réseaux. Forte d'une expérience de plus de 25 ans dans le secteur des technologies de l'information, Trina œuvre chez Cisco depuis 1996. Avant d'occuper son poste dans le domaine de l'organisation des services, elle dirigeait les équipes de conception de logiciels responsables des fonctions à disponibilité élevée dans les plateformes de routage de premier ordre de Cisco. Trina détient un baccalauréat en ingénierie de la Memorial University of Newfoundland ainsi qu'un MBA de la Richard Ivey School of Business de la University of Western Ontario.
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