About Us


Advancing diversity while empowering women in STEM



  • Rooted in a legacy of excellence, WISEST embodies justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM.
  • We deliver transformative experiences that invite a student’s exploration of their own STEM identity.
  • We lead narrative-shifting work that redefines who can thrive in STEM.
  • We create inclusive spaces that are safe for, affirming of, and accessible to, people with different lived experiences and intersectional identity factors.
  • We build a strengths-based community through collaborative relationships that strive to break barriers.
  • We innovate through ongoing reflection, assessment and diverse methods of evaluation.

WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science & Technology) began in 1982, when Dr. Gordin Kaplan, then University of Alberta Vice-President (Research), noted that of the 150 attendees at a seminar on microprocessors, only one of the participants was a woman. With the help of fellow engineers, educators and academics, Dr. Kaplan formed what is now known as WISEST. And, for more than 40 years, we have continued our commitment to empowering women who are interested or want to seek out opportunities in underrepresented fields, specifically in science, engineering, and technology (STEM).

Importance of Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology

Science, engineering and technology are critical to the Canadian economy. Enthusiastic, bright young minds with their diverse outlooks are needed to help these fields grow to their full potential.

Women now comprise slightly more than half of all first-year science students at Canadian universities, an increase of nearly 30 percent two decades ago. But, there are still fewer women than men at the post-graduate level and in decision-making positions in academia and industry. As a way to address this ongoing disparity, WISEST programs aim to strengthen connections between employers, schools, individuals, and communities by ensuring that diverse voices are being heard in the workplace and in all areas of scholarship.

Building Interests, Strengths, and Careers

WISEST is dedicated to:

  • Attracting young people to science, engineering and technology by developing and implementing engaging programs such as the Choices Conference, SET Conference, and the Summer Research Program.
  • Retaining women in science, engineering and technology by nurturing and encouraging their interests through programs such as the Summer Research Program and the UA-WiSE and WISER networks.
  • Advancing women in science, engineering, and technology through initiatives, professional development, and networking opportunities.

WISEST History

Learn more about WISEST’s history and major milestones since being formed in 1982.