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Ameera Seiyad: Why become a GEMgirl?

Ameera Seiyad was one of our amazing GEMgirls in 2014-15. Her mentor was Leslie Fullerton. We interview her about her experience in The GEM Program.

-What did you love about the GEM program?
-GEM allowed me to have my own ideas. I gained confidence and skills that I use every day. It has impacted me so much and it has also humbled me. GEM also gave me a job! I got hired as a community outreach intern. It was exciting to see and be part of all the planning that goes into the program.”

What did you get out of your mentorship relationship?
-I was looking to gain support from someone who wasn’t a friend or teacher. I found that support in my mentor, Leslie Fullerton. Having an open communication with her gave me confidence, not only in school but also when applying for summer jobs. Sometimes I still ask myself ‘what would Leslie think/do?’ when making decisions.”

-What are you doing now?
-I’m a second-year student at Wilfred Lauirer University. I’m studying Environment and Business Management.

-What would you say to someone who may be interested in GEM?
-Shut up, join it! GEM will give you opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. Girls need support and the GEM program is a great space to gain that support and start with a clean slate. It might seem overwhelming at first, but just take it day by day.”

Hira Durvesh: Why become a GEMgirl?

Hira Durvesh was one of our amazing GEMgirls in 2015-16. Her mentors were Alison Simpson and Alexis Wolski. We interview her about her experience in The GEM Program.

-What did you love about the GEM program?
-My favourite part of The GEM Program was being able to connect with professional women who came from a wide range of fields. It gave me an opportunity to explore both the marketing field and the accounting field. I also liked the GEMinars because they were informative and helped me develop skills that would benefit me in the future.

-What did you get out of your mentorship relationship?
-The relationship I built with my mentors allowed me to gain connections in the business world. They offered me help with editing essays and were willing to serve as references. I’m grateful for the open communication I experienced from my mentors and for all the recommendations they offered me.

-How did GEM impact your life?
-The GEM program offered a positive atmosphere where young women could connect with each other. GEM gave me knowledge through the GEMinars and the interactions with my mentors. I learned skills that I was unable to get from high school. You learn so much! GEM gave me the chance to have a first-hand look at some of the careers choices I was interested in. I was also one of the winners of GEM’s Scholarship because of my commitment to the program. I won a MAC laptop which is an item I would have had difficulty attaining by my own. GEM also provided me the opportunity to be an outreach intern, which gave me the opportunity to experience the GEM program from a different view.

-What are you doing now?
-I’m a grade 12 student at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute. I habe been the Treasurer of the Student Council for three years. I’m also a part of her school’s Social Justice Committee and Equity Committee.

-What would you say to someone who may be interested in joining GEM program?
-APPLY! APPLY! APPLY! It’s such a worthwhile program to be a part of. GEM can open many doors for you and help you get connected to the right people that can help you now and in the future. All girls should take this opportunity! Opportunities like these don’t happen often so when they do, grab it!

Congrats GEMerald Award Winners!

This year GEM started a scholarship fund called the GEMerald Awards. The intention is that every year the GEM community of mentors, supporters and donors will contribute to a fund that will benefit GEMgirls pursuing further education. This year we had a fantastic group of GEMgirls win 5 awards. Each GEMgirl was encouraged to apply and to highlight her contribution to GEM as well as address how the GEM program had positively impacted their life. Girls were chosen through an evaluation process lead by GEM Mentors that emphasized the written application and the strength of their reference.

The winners of the first ever GEMerald Scholarships were:

Zarah Ahmad – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, Apple MacBook

Hira Durvesh – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, Apple MacBook

Fatima Waheed – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, $1000

Aliza Fatima – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, $750

Hajar Seiyad – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, $500

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Career Spotlight: Thrive Natural Family Health

We all know about Family Doctors, and surgeons, and many of us pursue these careers, but how many of us know about complimentary health professionals? At our Thrive Medical coffee chat, GEM girls were able to sit down with a chiropractor Dr. Jennifer Wise, a Naturopath Dr. Kristen Heins, and a Psychologist Dr. Chelsea Sherrington to chat about their careers, and the path they took to get there.

It is an expectation, that by the time we get into high school, we have a career path planed out. As if we are supposed to know at 14, what we want to do for the next 50 years of our lives. Many of us choose obvious jobs in fields that interest us; if you are interested in medicine, you chose Doctor, if you are interested in the Arts, you chose painter, and if you are interested in Law, you chose lawyer. The Doctors at Thrive, thought us that the career you choose in high school does not necessarily have to be career you end up pursuing.

The three women, who seem to have everything planned out, and in order at their cozy midtown office, reveal that it was not always that way. In high school, Dr. Sherrington took advice on her major from a stranger on the phone, and ended up with many classes she did not like due to this Major in politics. Eventually she figured it out, and found a way to switch her majors and her classes to suit her interest in Psychology. Doctor Kristen, was on the path to become a lawyer, until she also eventually found her passion, and became a doctor.

The point is, being high school students it’s okay to not know, or to be unsure of what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life, and it’s okay to change your mind multiple times. That’s the point of University, you get to explore the different career options available in the field you’re interested in, or maybe even fields that you have never considered before.

Thank you to Dr. Wise, Dr. Heins, and Dr. Sherrington for hosting the GEM girls and for the insightful coffee chat.

Tabassum Lakhi is a Creative Writing Intern at GEM and also a GEMgirl.

 

BSS Summer Academy Math Scholarship

The Bishop Strachan School and Girls E-Mentorship have a Summer Academy Math Scholarship available for young women entering Grades 9 and 10 next year. Last year, Isha received this scholarship. After her summer course, she was offered the chance to apply for a scholarship for Grade 9 at The Bishop Strachan School. The following is an interview with Isha about her experience and why she says she’s always on the lookout for new opportunities.

What made you decide to apply for the Summer Academy Math Foundation Scholarship?

Getting this scholarship was really important for me because I want to be a good role model for my younger siblings and I want to show them how it’s not impossible to do great things in life. Before this summer course I never thought it would be possible for me to ever do something this great in my life. I thought my life would be like my elder sisters, but I always wanted to do something different. I wanted to show myself that it’s possible to change the way life is going, that there are lots of different paths you can choose from. I really like the feeling of not knowing my future, now that I’m on a different path than my sisters. I think this helps you take more risks in life. My parents always said that I wasn’t ever afraid to try new things. They always tell me how nothing will ever stay the same and you can’t ever depend on anyone, that you need to write your own story, a story different than everyone else’s.

What was the Math Foundation course like? What did you learn?

It was like a regular course, but with less people. It was clear what was expected of you and what you need to do in order to be successful in this course. The course was really focused on math, and you had to keep up with the class, otherwise it was really hard to catch up later. The lessons were always well planned and there were always moments when you were allowed to do what you wanted. I thought it was a great course and I got to meet lots of new people. I’m really glad that I was able to get ahead by doing my grade 9 math course before I started high-school.

Why would you recommend the Math Foundation course to other girls?

I had a great time and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on this. It’s a one time opportunity. This course opened up lots of new doors for me and made me think about life in a different way. I love math and in my old school I couldn’t ever go ahead and learn new things, but this course made you explore and try new things. My teacher in this course encouraged me to explore grade 10 math.

What other opportunities did the Math Foundation course open up for you?

This course changed my life, and made it possible for me to get enrolled in a school like a BSS after the course was done. After taking this course I’m in grade 10 math, while I’m still in grade 9. Also, it showed me the real world and how there are so many great opportunities in life and you just have to look for them. You can’t ever stay home and just expect a great opportunity coming knocking at your door, you have to go out and look for them. Through this course I met great people, like Ms.Powell, Ms.Dias, Rochelle, Ms.Ranson and my math teacher Mr.Underhill. They guided me through the hardest moments, and were always there for me.