Through a $5-million gift from auto-parts giant Linamar Corp. and the Hasenfratz and Newton families, scholarship winners get half the cost of tuition, a guaranteed co-op placement at Linamar and the opportunity for a full-time job at Linamar when they graduate.
Scholarship winner Raya Kassam, a third year Electrical Engineering/Ivey HBA student from Mississauga, knew early on that she wanted a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – a path encouraged by role models who include her parents and her engineering uncles.
“Looking at their (engineers’) rings at Thanksgiving, I could imagine that ring on my finger. They even let me try them on sometimes, even though they were far too big.”
The business emphasis came into focus during her first year as she realized the two disciplines demanded different, but complementary, skill-sets. “I think it’s important for a woman in STEM to be able to move up the managerial ladder.”
But until she heard of the Linamar scholarships, Kassam was undecided about pursuing the dual degree. “It was definitely a huge push. It pushed my teetering, on whether I wanted to do it or not, into a 100-per-cent yes.”
Her leadership already extends to building mentoring relationships for younger women in engineering and helping to organize a conference at Western on diversity in engineering in 2019.
At the scholarship ceremony, award winners met and talked with their benefactor, Linamar CEO Linda Hazenfratz, one of Canada’s top business leaders and an advocate of building a bigger base of women equipped for leadership in industry and business.
During an earlier gift announcement at Western, Hasenfratz said the scholarships enable more women to hit the ground running when they graduate.
“This is a great way to bring together the three things that mean a lot to me and to Linamar as a company: manufacturing, business and improved opportunities for women,” Hasenfratz said at that time. “Western has world-class engineering and business faculties – it’s the perfect combination to help develop this country’s next generation of women leaders.”