Syncrude donation helps expand youth outreach programs

(Edmonton) A gift from Syncrude Canada Ltd. will help expand University of Alberta community outreach programs that encourage young people to explore engineering, science and technology.

The $500,000 donation, to be shared by the Faculty of Engineering’s DiscoverE engineering science and technology program and the U of A’s Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology, or WISEST, was announced July 13 by Syncrude President and CEO Scott Sullivan.

“We’re very proud to support the University of Alberta in the work they do to provide high-quality educational opportunities for youth,” said Sullivan.
“Participating in these hands-on learning programs helps students grow and succeed in the careers of their choice. We’re committed to life-long education and by investing in these student programs, we support their journeys of discovery and learning.”

“DiscoverE provides thousands of young people with great experiences and opportunities to learn about engineering and technology in a way that is fun and educational,” said David Lynch, dean of the faculty. “This generous and increased support that Syncrude is providing will have an impact on current and future generations of young students that is both enabling and enlightening. With this gift we will be able to provide expanded programs to excite the imaginations of many more students.”

Chair of the WISEST program, Denise Hemming, a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, says the gift from Syncrude will support three additional student summer research placements and fund a new initiative aimed at cultivating an interest in science, engineering and technology among Aboriginal youth in northern Alberta.

“We couldn’t be doing this without Syncrude’s help,” said Hemmings. “We’ll be able to take WISEST programs out to these communities, encouraging young students in Grades 6 and 7 to stay in school by showing them that there are really cool jobs in engineering, science, and technology that they can do even in their own communities.”

The announcement included poster presentations by WISEST summer research students, science demonstrations and a tour of a DiscoverE camp where youngsters were busy building a marble maze.

Camp participants Addison Gugenheimer, 12, and Kieran Nelson, 10, demonstrated their marble maze for Syncrude CEO Sullivan, who said he was impressed with the job. For their part, Gugenheimer and Nelson said the DiscoverE camps provide them with a fun learning environment.

“What I like about it is that they give you a project but you have the freedom to do it any way you want,” said Nelson. “At other camps I’ve been to they say ‘Do this.’ But here, there is no one certain way to do something. They let you decide.”

DiscoverE camps run throughout the summer. Registration is available at the DiscoverE website.

Recent Expressnews story on WISEST funding:
 http://www.expressnews.ualberta.ca/en/NewsArticles/2011/07/WISESTMoney.aspx )