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Summer in a math lab

Lisa Scott
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 13/05) - Instead of hanging around Yellowknife waiting tables or working retail, Kate Jefferson is spending the summer crunching numbers in a mathematics lab in Edmonton.

The 17-year-old isn't sure what to expect from the six-week research program that will have her researching mathematics next to a Ph.D student at the University of Alberta, but hopes it will help her decide about her future schooling.

"I don't really know what I want to do," says the Sir John Franklin high school Grade 11 student.

What Jefferson does know is that she's good enough at math for teacher Ed Lippert to encourage her to apply for the Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology summer research program.

One of 70 Grade 11 students chosen from Alberta, Saskatchewan and the NWT, Jefferson will get a glimpse of the possibility for careers in non-traditional jobs in engineering, science and technology for women.

"We're trying to increase the number of women in decision making jobs in science and technology," says Grace Ennis, program coordinator at the University.

Started in 1982

The program started in 1982 to attract women into careers in science and technology, fields usually dominated by men.

Jefferson's academic prowess, mixed in with her teacher references, scored her the summer position, says Ennis.

"I've always found math really easy, which makes it easier to like," says Jefferson.

Last year fellow Sir John student Ariel Lau spent her summer in the research program. Lau is headed to Montreal in the fall to study science at McGill University.