Women In Technology Scholarship

Women In Technology Scholarship

Tearing down the barriers to Women in Cyber Security

Why are only 11% of Canadian cyber and network security professionals women? There’s absolutely no logical reason for it, and I can prove that. But before we get to that, let’s look back at how our society managed to reinforce rather than tear down the barriers that stood in the way of a woman’s ambition to join the building and traditional trades back in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

We were told then that a woman would never want to be a drywaller or that a woman couldn’t be a roofer or a plumber, or shouldn’t expect to last as an electrician or as a miner in Alberta or northern Ontario.  Posters were plastered across the walls of our high schools, encouraging men to take on the building trades.  Men were depicted on television fixing homes and carrying out those roles, which served to reinforce the societal perception. Today, according to the 2011 Statistics Canada Labour Survey, only 6% of all trade positions are held by women, a field that pays significantly more than the median income level in Canada.

Let’s park for a moment the notion that a woman might not want to lean towards a physical job, even if I vehemently disagree because I know many women who not only love the trades but enjoy the salaries and benefits that come with them.  But if this is true, then why are there only slightly more women (11%) who make up the cyber and network security workforce in Canada? The physical argument doesn’t hold up.  Yet the reasons I hear all too often are eerily similar:  “A woman would never want to get into the cybersecurity industry.”

Google ‘cybersecurity’ or even the word ‘hacker’ and see what images pop up.  All men.  Are you telling me women are incapable of logical, problem-solving thought?  It’s rubbish and just more of the same from the latter half of the last century.  We should and need to do something about it.

It’s time to identify the barriers facing women in technology. Together, let’s open the door for thousands of women from across Canada who aspire to a rewarding career in the cyber and IT sectors. With the job shortage facing the IT industry, I promise we are going to need them.

As a part of our Vision2020,  Willis College is delighted to announce the Women in Technology Scholarship (WITS) in Cybersecurity Education. The scholarship initiative was undertaken to empower young women and also to help recruit new talent into the rapidly growing sector of cybersecurity.

Three Scholarships will be awarded to qualified recipients over three years.  The Scholarship will be administered by the WITS Board of Trustees, who will meet annually in Ottawa to evaluate and award the candidates. The Board of Trustees is comprised of the following exemplary individuals, who are recognized leaders in their fields:

Board of Trustees

Denise Woods-Goldstein, Director of Business Development, Canada, CompTIA
Diana Davies-Harju, Magnifi (quote included)
Erin Blaskie, Marketing Director, L-Sparks
Jamie Petten, Executive Director, Kanata North BIA
Jenna Sudds, Executive Director, CIO Strategy Council
John Weigelt, Microsoft Canada
Katherine Thompson, Chair, CATA Cyber Council & National Spokesperson CATAAlliance
Michael Anderson, SVP, Sophos
Michael Tremblay, President & CEO Invest Ottawa & Bayview Yards
Paul Vallée, CEO, Pythian
Rima Aristocrat, President & CEO, Willis College
Sandra Saric,  VP, Talent Innovation, Information, and Communications Technology Council
Solange Tuyishime, President & CEO, Elevate International
Valarie Findlay, Research Fellow, Police Foundation (US) Doctoral Research (DocSoSci)

Board of Trustees Quotes

“At Elevate International, we have the mission to elevate women and girls locally and globally. Particularly focusing on Women’s Leadership, Economic Growth, and Community Building. While leaders and institutional shareholders have been stepping up to express support and the importance of increasing gender diversity in all sectors and amongst companies, gender diversity remains a key item in our society, on the governments and corporate governance agenda. It is with great honour to be part of The Willis College, Women in Technology Scholarship, to inspire, empower, and elevate more women in this the Tech Industry.”

Solange Tuyishime, President & CEO, Elevate International

“I am proud to contribute as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Women in Technology Scholarship Fund. This initiative, led by Willis College, will arm talented women in the cybersecurity field with the necessary resources to thrive amongst their peers and contribute to Canada’s economic growth. Diversity efforts such as these will enable Canada’s technology industry to develop a competitive advantage and discover success on the world stage.”

Jamie Petten, Director of Marketing, L-SPARK

“With its curriculum driven by real-world needs, Willis College is preparing students for lucrative careers in newly emerging fields. The Women in Technology Scholarship represents an exceptional approach to boosting female participation, which will further establish Ottawa as a leading producer of diverse talent. I am thrilled to be involved with such an influential program.”

Diana Davies-Harju, CMO, Magnifi


A total of three (3) annual scholarships will be awarded. The scholarship will be offered ib 2018, 2019, and 2020. Each scholarship will be offered to qualified female students from across Canada who require financial assistance to enroll in Willis College’s Advanced Network Security Professional, Cybersecurity Analyst, or Mobile Software Developer Diploma Programs.

Each Scholarship will be valued at approximately $25,000 and provides for tuition, books, industry certification, industry lab costs, as well as a co-op for a one-year term starting in the Fall semester.

The Scholarship is non-transferable and may only be applied to academic career courses at Willis College.

The deadline to submit applications each year will be July 1st.

The evaluation and award process will take place annually in Ottawa.  The WITS Board of Trustees administers the Scholarship.

The Board of Trustees will be assessing candidates who have passed all required screening by Willis College. The candidates will demonstrate some or all of the following qualities (in no particular order):  proven intellectual and academic ability, personal integrity, interest in technology and cybersecurity, demonstrated leadership, and the need for financial assistance.

Information on how to apply for the Scholarship will be available from Willis College.

The successful candidates will be awarded the Scholarship, and a commemorative certificate at the WITS Scholarship Award Annual General Assembly held each August at Willis College in Ottawa.

Selection Process

Basis of Selection

The Selection Committee is looking for candidates with proven intellectual and academic ability, the integrity of character, interest in technology, respect for fellow human beings, ability to lead, demonstrated leadership and creativity in the areas of cybersecurity stewardship, appreciation for education, and initiative to use their talents to the fullest. 

Method of Selection

A Selection Committee consisting of representatives of WITS 2018-2019-2020 Board of Trustees will choose the successful candidates.  The decision of the Selection Committee is final.

Method of Application

Download the application form

The completed application, with all the required information, must be forwarded to:

Selection Committee Women in Technology Scholarship Board of Trustees
c/o Willis College of Business, Technology, Healthcare

1200 St. Laurent Blvd St.
Laurent Shopping Centre, Suite 20
Ottawa ON K1K 3B8


Admission Status

The applicant:

  • Must be 18 years of age or over;
  • Must successfully pass all entrance requirements;
  • Provide proof of education, including all secondary or post-secondary transcripts.

Award Presentation

The successful candidate will be presented with the award and a commemorative certificate at WITS Scholarship Annual General Assembly, to be held each summer at Willis College Headquarters in Ottawa.

About Willis College:

Willis College, a proudly Canadian and Ottawa-based organization, is Canada’s first regulated Career College.  Willis College has an excellent track record of partnering with employers that extends back to1866.  Our model has been to deliver industry-led, job-ready talent in a short period within Canada’s cultural mosaic.  Over the last 150 years, this best practice model has allowed Willis College to produce over 150,000 graduates locally, nationally, and internationally. With three locations, Willis College offers many financial solutions for qualified students, a wide range of services, and is home to Canada’s only Fortinet and Sophos Labs.  Students may take individual courses to upgrade their skills or enroll in a full career diploma program that leads them to lucrative jobs in business, technology, and healthcare.  To learn more about Willis College and our programs, visit https://www.williscollege.com.

Point of Contact          

Rima Aristocrat, President, and CEO, Willis College; ; (T):  613-233-1128

Click the link below to apply for the scholarship.


Willis College Advanced Network Security Graduate Sneha Sunny George

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