International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023
February 11th is International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day to recognize a significant gender gap that has persisted throughout all levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) disciplines. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still under-represented in these fields.
At Babcock, we are guided by our purpose – Creating a safe and secure world, together.
To deliver on our purpose, we are committed to creating an agile, people-centered business where everyone is included, supported, and empowered to unlock their full potential. We see inclusion as a critical business enabler and the key to creating the right foundations to attract and retain the best and diverse talent.
This year, we are excited to recognize International Day of Women and Girls in Science by highlighting one of Babcock’s own: Ashley McPherson.
Ashley is currently in her second year of post-secondary education at the University of Victoria as a mechanical engineer student. However, throughout her courses she has taken a new interest in software engineering. Ashley joined the Babcock family as a Data Science Co-op within our Innovation and Technology team at the beginning of January 2023 as part of her program at school.
Ashley is currently in the process of determining which career path she would like to follow post-graduation and explained that the position at Babcock was a great opportunity to determine whether to make the switch to software engineering.
While searching for a co-op position, I wanted to work in a field that would provide me with opportunities across various industries. Data Science is perfect for this as it is another way to gain insight into software engineering. Both Data Science and Software Engineering require programming skills.Ashley McPherson, Data Science Co-op
While Ashley is still new to the Babcock team, she already has many exciting new roles and responsibilities within her team.
Ashley began her role by learning about Power BI, a software service used to turn various sorts of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. With this knowledge, Ashley has been tasked to document the code used within her team members Power BI files. This documentation records where the code is utilized within the file, as well as explanations about what the code does. Power BI uses Data Analysis Expressions code to perform calculations and build tables. Ashley has also worked to develop project management documentation templates, which has allowed her to gain an understanding of the data science process.
Most recently, Ashley has been tasked to assist in creating a data model to document the data Babcock extracts from the Department of National Defence’s Enterprise Resource Planning system.
“This project will aid in developing an understanding of the data relations. To increase manageability, all the data pulled by Babcock will be complied into a repository and automated, meaning data will not have to be pulled manually,” said Ashley.
As innovation and technology continues to evolve, it is critical for up-and-coming young professionals to have the knowledge and skills to problem solve, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make better informed decisions. These skills are heavily utilized by students within STEM disciplines.
Ashley expressed that there are many benefits within the STEM field, that she enjoys. “The STEM field incorporates math, physics, and a lot of problem solving, all of which I enjoy. There is always something new to learn in STEM, such as new advancements in technologies or entirely new industries.”
Ashley will continue to develop her skills and understanding throughout the next three months during her time at Babcock with her team’s supervision and expertise. However, Ashley shared that even though she has only been with Babcock for a month, it has been a great experience!
To end our discussion with Ashley, we asked her where she sees herself in the next five years:
In five years, I will have an engineering degree from the University of Victoria and hopefully be working in the STEM field. I’m not entirely sure where I want to end up yet regarding an industry, but I have always been interested in space or even animation/visual special effects (two completely different things).Ashley McPherson
Ashley’s Advice to Students interested in pursuing STEM Careers:
“Don’t be discouraged from how difficult course material can get throughout your education in STEM. Your hard work will pay off in the end and lead to many career opportunities!”
Babcock Canada Co-op Opportunities:
Babcock continues to support the development of the next generation of young leaders through its co-op program.
Our award-winning co-op program offers students an opportunity to develop their careers in a supportive environment, while giving them room to grow and providing them access to the collected wisdom and experience of over 30,000 skilled Babcock personnel across six continents.
If you are interested in participating in Babcock’s co-op program visit our co-op page.