(Fort McMurray March 1, 2023) – Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Finning Canada are pleased to announce the two recipients of the 2023 Finning Canada STEM Awards.
Two $3500 scholarships have been awarded to two young women from the Wood Buffalo region who are in, or entering, a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related post-secondary program. This year Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta received eighteen applications, doubling of what was received last year.
This year’s recipients are Jennifer Lee & Samhita Bhowmik.
“Empowering and inspiring young women—who are often underrepresented in the skilled trades and in STEM occupations—is one of the many reasons we are proud to support this scholarship program,” said Michelle Dupont, Senior Vice President, Human Resources Canada and Global Talent for Finning Canada.
“Our congratulations to Samhita and Jennifer. We wish them success in their studies and in their future careers.”
Jennifer is currently working towards completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Keyano College. Initially growing up in Fort McMurray, she moved to Calgary for a few years and it was there that she found her passion for nursing.
“When I lived in Calgary my first job was at a senior’s home. I was exposed to a lot of nurses and I watched how they cared for people and saw the difference they made in people’s lives. That was a driving force for me to go into nursing, I’ve always had a caring heart.”
Jennifer has always held a strong desire to help the community and does everything she can to brighten the day of those around her. During the 2022 Festival of Trees, she was elated at the opportunity to continue spreading joy as a nursing student.
“They brought in a few of us nursing students and we helped with the teddy bear hospital. It was such a cool experience and it was so cute. The kids would come in with little teddy bears and we would check the teddy bears’ heartbeat and then write down that they needed medication, which was skittles.”
“This scholarship will honestly help me so much from tuition, and books to electronics. It will help me immensely and take a lot of pressure off of me.”
Samhita has a passion for solving difficult problems and a desire to build something that improves her community, wherever that may be.
“I knew I wanted to go into civil engineering because I love designing and I love the STEM part of it where you get to problem solve and build. Another really big part is my dad is a civil engineer. He’s part of the parks you see downtown. Community projects are something that I want to do.”
Samhita found out quickly upon entering high school that to help in her success, participating in as many activities as possible helped build her time management and organizational skills.
“The biggest hurdle was finding a work-life balance. Because before coming into high school you mainly focus on friends and family. But then you jump over and you realize a lot of things matter and you have to shift your priorities and learn time management and learn how to adjust.”
Jennifer and Samhita were also given the chance to speak with Morgan Garnett, an Inclusion and Diversity Specialist with Finning Canada.
Morgan grew up surrounded by the trades industry, never knowing that was a career not typically pursued by women, only learning this fact after setting out into the trades.
Finding your dream job can be difficult, and Morgan shared her insights into finding that job, as well as keeping it.
“My advice to you both is to always keep space for stuff that really lights your soul on fire. Because even in your dream job there are moments where you’re like this can’t be it. This is hard and difficult. You can lose sight. As a mechanic, there were times I didn’t love it but some days I would jump into a 390 excavator and I would be like, four-year-old Morgan would be so stoked about this. So, just take time to find those moments on the really hard days.”
About Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta (Girls Inc.) inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. Our comprehensive approach to whole girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. Girls Inc. has been serving the Wood Buffalo Region since 2004, growing our reach every year. In 2021, Girls Inc. was able to connect with 1,500 girls from Conklin to Fort Chipewyan. The girls-only, physically and emotionally safe environment is a sisterhood of support.