March 24, 2014

Help Cybermentor go mobile

Mentoring program collecting donations to move to mobile platform

Cybermentor is starting a crowdfunding campaign today to raise $10,000 to make the online mentoring program mobile, allowing mentors and mentees to connect more easily to discuss science and engineering, thereby encouraging more girls to enter the fields.

The crowdfunding campaign, which will raise money through an online "crowd" is the first of its kind at the University of Calgary. McElhanney Land Surveys will match the online donations up to $5,000, to raise enough money to build a Cybermentor mobile app.

In order to encourage people to donate, Cybermentor will share an inspiring story about a woman in science and engineering with every $1,000 raised. "So many women have had these incredibly moving, life-changing experiences in their careers as scientists or engineers and we get to share those stories during the campaign," says Brandi Chuchman, the director of Cybermentor.

As the donations pour in, you'll learn about an emotional, century-old find made by Kate Cairns, a survey engineer at McElhanney Land Surveys. You'll also find out about the two most grueling, but rewarding, hours in the life of Lesley Ewoniak, a project land surveyor at McElhanney. People who make donations are also welcome to submit stories and photos about their "a-ha" moments in science and engineering to be shared throughout the campaign.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this innovative fundraising campaign for such an important program," says Tyler Charkie from McElhanney Land Surveys. "We're really looking forward to writing that $5,000 cheque and seeing more girls excited and empowered to work in science and engineering."

More than 70 per cent of the women and girls who participate in Cybermentor say a mobile-friendly system would improve their experience. "The campaign is giving people who care about inspiring girls in science and engineering the power to make a real impact," says Chuchman. "They can directly contribute to new technology that will empower more girls."

Since 2001, Cybermentor has matched nearly 3,000 girls in grades 6-12 in Alberta with female role models in science, technology, engineering and math.