Earlier this year, TD sponsored a series of robotics competitions with FIRST Robotics Canada — a high school program that inspires young people to pursue studies and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

FIRST Robotics organizes competitions around the world to showcase the skills of students at exciting, high-tech and high-production, rock concert-like events that are attended by more than 70,000 high school students globally.

"Supporting Women in Technology and STEM studies is a key priority at TD, and part of our broader commitment to diversity," says Tim Hogarth, Vice-President of Innovation Framework & Strategies at TD.

As part of its sponsorship of the competitions, TD created six $2,500 grants to help students cover the cost of travel and materials. The grants were awarded to teams that submitted videos demonstrating how they encourage and promote young women to participate and engage in STEM education and in FIRST Robotics — and the response was overwhelming. Close to 50 teams made up of over 1,100 students shared inspiring stories about how FIRST Robotics helped them grow, develop, and achieve personal and academic goals, and explained why they feel it's important to foster a culture where women are encouraged to explore the opportunities associated with STEM.

FIRST Robotics is one of many programs TD supports as part of its Women in Technology initiative, which also includes mentorship and peer to peer programs for technology professionals, in addition to providing sponsorship and volunteer support for technology-inspired events and hackathons.

"We are very encouraged by the high participation levels of young women in FIRST Robotics competitions at a time when many start to leave STEM studies," added Hogarth.