Janelle is working to become an environmental scientist. She says growing up near the oil sands and being Indigenous she has always understood the economic benefit but worried for her community and land. Janelle wrote, “As a little girl I remember wanting to save the world after watching a water documentary, now I know I won’t 'save the world' but, I think the path I am on is a step in the right direction.” Janelle believes that advancements in reclamation technology are needed and hopes to work in remediation or expand research involving tailing ponds and wetlands in northern Alberta. Janelle has strong community connections, volunteering with Santas Anonymous, The Salvation Army and the Community Clean Up.
Aparna is a fifth year chemical engineering student at the University of Alberta. Aparna explains that her desire to become an engineer is rooted from experience in being raised in Fort McMurray. At the age of 13, she had the opportunity to visit Syncrude and to experience a life as an engineer for one whole day. Aparna was struck by how the engineering department was a male dominant environment. She was not intimidated by it being predominantly male, but fascinated by the work that the engineers were doing. Aparna is involved in ensuring different ways to represent engineering as a female, mostly by encouraging and educating young people about the opportunities in engineering. Aparna has been a volunteer with the Girls Inc. Staying Strong Mentoring Program for more than five years.
Carolyn Spence is studying nursing at Keyano College, she wrote “I hope in the future to be able to use the skills that I will have learned as a nursing student to give back to the community that has given me so many opportunities. The Northern Lights Health Centre of Fort McMurray has provided excellent care for members of my family. The standards of care that I have personally observed taking place here have made a major contribution to my choice to become a nurse so that I have the opportunity to become part of a profession that embodies the attribute of compassionate care while also providing for our community.” Spence added before she was accepted into nursing school she obtained her private pilot license and worked for an aviation company that serviced Fort Chipewyan. She hopes to complete her commercial pilot’s license and nursing degree to combine her two passions of aviation and health care.
Young plans to attend the University of Saskatchewan studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology, while determining if she’d rather pursue a career in medicine or environmental science. Young explains that as a child she was an introvert and took a lot of time to observe the people around her. She champions the Leader in Me program as the beginning of her volunteering journey. “My continuous efforts to volunteer encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and volunteer in my community. Alongside many strong and independent women, I worked arduously to pursue my values and expand my understanding of people and society.” She continued, “However, the experience that had the most prodigious on my person was volunteering at a local church in the organization and participation of the soup kitchen. The opportunity to provide amenities such as food, hygiene products and access to washroom facilities was efficacious. I was inspired by the interactions and conversations I had with these less fortunate people. Despite their circumstances, they kept a positive and hopeful outlook and were grateful for little things that we just take for granted.”