6 carleton.ca/engineering-design Donors Establish All-New Scholarships for Women in Engineering at Carleton Yves and Cynthia Bled have dedicated their many years working alongside students to the ongoing benefit of youths everywhere. Although the Bleds have officially retired from their careers in academia, their relentless commitment to young Canadians remains very much intact through their generous support of scholarships at a variety of educational institutions in Canada and abroad. Here at Carleton, the pair are continuing to make a difference in the lives of students, having recently established the Yves & Cynthia Bled Future Achievers Scholarships for Women in Engineering. Endowed in 2017, the scholarships will be awarded annually to four students entering their final year of study within Carleton’s aerospace, computer systems, mechanical, and electrical engineering programs. “Establishing the Future Achievers Scholarships enables us to support forward thinking youth as they prepare for their future, the result of which affects us all,” explains Cynthia. Professor Cynthia Bled is an economist who taught at Carleton in its early days, while Professor Yves Bled is a former Dean of Students, Director of Cultural Programs, and Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Ottawa. In their wonderful home, which is filled with memories of 57 years together and mementos from all over the globe (China, Mexico, Italy, Greece, South Africa and France to name but a few), it isn’t immediately apparent why these two academics with backgrounds in the social sciences decided to fund scholarships to “celebrate and reward future female engineers”. Their generosity, it would seem, knows no bounds. To convey his perspective on giving, Yves references a German term that doesn’t quite translate to English – heimat. “‘Die welt ist meine heimat’ is a lovely expression,” he says. “The world is my home.” In essence, it means the world is the birthplace of us all – a family, and that our support of others is integral to achieving collective goals for the greater good. Cynthia also points out that investing in Canadian students, and women in particular, will support the country’s competitive future on a global scale. She views the under- representation of women as an untapped resource in a field that she and her husband value considerably. “No one passes a day without experiencing the result of the fruits of engineering,” she says. “We need to foster this area and keep abreast of innovations not only in Canada but also for our youth to stand alongside global competitors.” The couple has been impressed with the range of opportunities available in areas of the engineering field at Carleton. “The scholarships we offer are an element of motivational support to encourage our female youth and promote their awareness that we, like others, are looking to them to carry forward the torch of community development,” says Cynthia. “We are looking to them to be more fully participatory in the productive process, to be prepared to be globally competitive, to seize the opportunities that are waiting, and to be counted among the future achievers that will determine Canada’s future.” The goals set out by the Bleds’ endowment is a beautiful illustration of Carleton’s Here for Good campaign. Through partnerships, Carleton’s donors and champions give not to Carleton, but through Carleton, so that their investment in future generations can impact positive societal change. Establishing a scholarship at Carleton has never been easier. As part of the Here for Good campaign, the University has created a 1:1 matching program for new donor-funded awards, which doubles the capacity for collaborators and philanthropists like the Bleds to serve the greater good through higher education. Those interested in learning more about donor-funded awards are encouraged to reach out to Jennifer Wolters, Assistant Director, Faculty Advancement by phone at 613-520-2600 ext. 8979 or by e-mail at jennifer.wolters@ carleton.ca. Yves and Cynthia Bled recently established the Future Achievers Scholarships for Women in Engineering at Carleton, which will be awarded annually to four students. Photo: Ainslie Coghill