An engineering student at the University of B.C.’s Okanagan Campus will soon learn whether she has won the title of Miss World Canada.
Ena Vehabovic, a fourth-year civil engineering student, is one of 50 finalists for the title. The winners will be announced at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on Saturday, May 16.
Vehabovic is taking part in the hope that it will inspire more young women to go into engineering.
In a UBC press release, she explained: “I’m stepping way out of my comfort zone and taking a risk by participating in this event,” she says. “I’m incredibly nervous and excited but I’m hoping that by showcasing myself as a female engineer in such an event I can be the role model I never had.”
She points out that Miss World Canada is not a beauty contest. It’s a major fundraiser for the Variety Club, in which contestants focus on humanitarianism or philanthropy, with the goal of inspiring hope and enriching the lives of children. Her goal is to introduce young girls into the academic world of applied science.
“I want young girls to know that you can like things like pretty hair and make-up and be wonderfully female and at the same time you can be good at math, sciences, and engineering,” she says. “Engineering needs a female’s perspective. It’s a science that is all around us and women haven’t had much of an influence.”
In a video on the Miss World Canada website, Vehabovic explains how part of her studies was to design easily assembled homes for disaster relief in developing countries. She says she believes in inner peace and a positive outlook, and hopes that her participation will inspire more young women to become engineers.
The School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan has been increasing the number of women enrolled in engineering. Last year 42 out of 190 first year students were female.
The annual seven-day Miss World Canada pageant started May 10 and brings contestants from across Canada for a week of rehearsals, competitions and events.
For the first time the event is coinciding with the Mister World Canada competition.
Click here for Vehabovic’s profile and video on the Miss World Canada site. http://www.missworldcanada.com/#!ena-vehabovic/ca60
Click here for the UBC press announcement.