Operation Minerva

2001 Winner: Excellence In Science And Technology Public Awareness

Research has proven that education by example is extremely effective and Operation Minerva is proof positive. From the very start, the organization has successfully provided an increased public awareness and understanding of science and technology in Alberta. The organization was founded in 1988, in response to statistics showing that only a minority of students taking advanced science and mathematics education were female.

Studies have also shown that many girls in the eighth and ninth grades would lose interest in science and mathematics. This resulted in fewer trained female professionals in areas such as engineering, physics, computer science, geology and geophysics. A group of concerned volunteers, educators, parents and science and technology professionals took action. Operation Minerva organized its first conference in 1991. It provided grade eight girls with an opportunity to learn about the opportunities in science and technology through job shadowing with women professionals working in these fields. Students experienced diverse activities including panel discussions, meet-a-mentor roundtables, career nights, field trips and workshops.

The conference also aimed to provide an understanding that females can balance their choice of lifestyle, with productive and successful careers in science and technology. Since then, Operation Minerva has spread throughout Alberta impacting 3,600 girls and providing over 2,250 female professionals the opportunity to interact with the next generation of scientists and engineers. With a mission to change public, personal and educator awareness, and ensure that young people realize that careers in science and technology are interesting, rewarding and lucrative, Operation Minerva is truly changing the science culture of today’s youth.