Linamar scholarship winners named

With Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz (middle), the first 10 winners of the Linamar Scholarships for Women in Engineering and Business.

Despite her demanding program and a full slate of co-curricular and volunteer activities, Kitan Ademidun knew she could stretch herself even further.

The Computer Engineering student from Milton wanted to push on towards a dual degree in business but the uncertainties about cost and commitment were especially daunting.

“Coming into Ivey, I was kind of concerned about how I was going to handle it. It deterred me.”

Then she learned about the inaugural Linamar scholarships newly available to 10 women each year in the Engineering/Ivey Business School Dual program – a scholarship intended to develop young female leaders equipped for both engineering and business.

Ademidun is among the 10 first recipients of the scholarship.

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.

“It provides opportunities I never thought I would be able to have access to,” Ademidun said.

The guarantee of internships and a job offer are also key elements in the scholarship, particularly because the latter eases the stresses of recruitment time for students, she said.

Fellow 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.

Scholarship winner Tharmiga Loganathan of Scarborough knew when she was in Grade 6 – writing a speech about the 2008 recession – she enjoyed learning about how businesses work. A software engineering student, she jumped at the opportunity to study for a dual degree so that she would be able to apply her technical background to the business world.

“It’s such an honour to get this scholarship, to be able to have this experience without having the stress of recruitment or the stress of money,” she said.

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.”

Applications for the next round of scholarships are open now.

Inaugural scholarship winners:

Kitan Ademidun, Software Engineering and Ivey HBA

Laura Bozzo, Mechanical Engineering and Ivey HBA

Raya Kassam, Electrical Engineering and Ivey HBA

Tharmiga Loganathan, Software Engineering and Ivey HBA

Kathleen McGarrell,Mechatronic Systems Engineering and Ivey HBA

Maral Mohagheghi Samarin, Mechatronic Systems Engineering and Ivey HBA

Sarah Simmons, Software Engineering and Ivey HBA

Mathumitha Sureshkumar, Electrical Engineering and Ivey HBA

My-Linh Yee: Civil Engineering and Ivey HBA

Jenny Zhou, Integrated Engineering and Ivey HBA