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Vera Straka, P.Eng.

East Toronto Chapter

A tireless champion of inclusion and diversity in the engineering profession, Vera has enthusiastically advanced many important PEO initiatives.

She was an integral member of the Women in Engineering Advisory Committee (WEAC), chairing it during its transition from PEO to the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers. Her first-hand awareness of issues affecting female engineering students, gained through her experiences as a professor at Ryerson University, helped forge the committee’s direction. She also supported PEO’s partnership with the Ontario Women’s Directorate and NSERC’s Ontario Women in Science and Engineering Chair to develop and roll out a training kit on gender issues in the classroom to support Ontario universities in removing barriers to the recruitment and retention of women in faculties of engineering.

A member of the Equity and Diversity Committee (EDC) since 2011, Vera has shared valuable insights from her work with WEAC and with Ryerson’s Women in Engineering Committee. She was instrumental in the EDC’s effort to develop PEO’s Equity and Diversity Policy, which was approved by council in 2011, and an action plan to implement the policy. As chair of the EDC’s recognition subcommittee, she led its work to advise on methods to ensure PEO’s awards programs recognize the diversity of PEO licence holders.

Vera was also a positive role model for young people interested in sciences. As a volunteer in the Engineers-in-Residence program, she motivated students with hands-on programming in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Click here to watch Vera's gala tribute video