An Okanagan College student’s passion for protecting the environment not only earned her a prestigious award, but is also serving as an encouragement for other women.
Meghan McCreight, who grew up in Coldstream, first started her Okanagan College journey in Salmon Arm where she did the first year of her Associate of Science. There, one of her professors told her about the Water Engineering Technology (WET) program at the Kelowna campus.
“My family is very outdoorsy, skiers, campers, always kind of outside, and I grew up in nature,” McCreight explains, adding the WET Diploma’s focus on the environment was a good fit.
McCreight graduated from OC’s WET program in December, and has received a boost toward her next educational steps. She was awarded the Irving K. Barber Women in Technology Scholarship within the top tier, worth $10,000.
The scholarship recognizes women who are excelling in their studies of computer/data science, engineering or mathematics in post-secondary. The goal of the scholarship is to award women’s excellence in technology and encouraging future generations of women to join a traditionally male-dominated field.
McCreight said winning the award wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement of WET program chair Allison O’Neill, who sent out the scholarship application to all the women in the program.
“Our first year, I had two classes with Allison. She’s a very strong advocate for women in the program,” McCreight says. “She is a prominent voice supporting female engagement in the technologies and engineering sectors.”
O’Neill says she is very proud of McCreight’s accomplishment and the fact that her focus, dedication and hard work have been rewarded, paving the way for further studies in STEM.
“Women have struggled to succeed in the engineering disciplines for so long. Scholarships like these go a long way to support female students entering male-dominated environments and reverse historical trends,” says O’Neill.
When McCreight found out she was one of the winners of the scholarship, she said her first feeling was shock.
“I didn’t really know what to do. I was sitting at home watching TV and I called my mom,” she says. “The WET program is geared a lot to utility operators. Engineering in general, it’s mostly male-dominated, but there are opportunities wherever you want them.”
After she graduates from the WET program, McCreight says the plan is to pursue further studies at the University of Victoria to do a double major in biology and environmental studies, which her scholarship will support.
To learn more about the WET program, visit: www.okanagan.bc.ca/wet