Girls Inc of Northern Alberta and Finning Canada announce first scholarship recipients

Release: Finning Canada and Girls Inc name first scholarship winners

Girls Inc of Northern Alberta and Finning Canada announce first recipients of Finning Canada Spotlight on STEM Scholarships.
(L-R: Nanase Tonda, Executive Director, Girls Inc, Carolyn Spence, Kaylen Young, Tony Mankowski, General Manager, Oil Sands, Finning Canada)


Fort McMurray (February 11, 2020)— On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Finning Canada are honoured to announce the first recipients of the Finning Canada Spotlight on STEM Awards. 

Carolyn Spence and Kaylen Young will receive $1,000 each from Finning as they work to pursue post-secondary education in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics related field. The scope was expanded to include applied sciences such as nursing, economics and social sciences. 

“As Finning evolves in its use of technology to offer our customers innovative solutions, we know that encouraging STEM careers is critical to ensure the workforce of the future – one of the many reasons we are proud to support this scholarship program,” said Chad Hiley, VP of HR for Finning Canada. “Our congratulations to Carolyn and Kaylen, and we wish them all the best as they continue on their STEM education journeys.”

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. 

Kaylen 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.”

“We are truly excited to achieve this first milestone with Finning Canada, strong advocates for unleashing all girls’ potential through STEM – not just in the conventional sense but including ‘applied sciences’. Echoing this transformative vision, we are confident that both Carolyn and Kaylen can further navigate through the STEM field and inspire more girls to be strong, smart and bold. Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!” said Nanase Tonda, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta. 

Finning Canada has generously pledged $5,000 a year, for the next three years to help Girls Inc. deliver their Operation S.M.A.R.T Program and award two $1000 scholarships to female students from the Wood Buffalo region pursuing a post-secondary education in a science, mathematics, engineering or technology (STEM) related field.

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 2019, Girls Inc. was able to connect with over 700 girls from Conklin to Fort Chipewyan. The girls-only, physically and emotionally safe environment is a sisterhood of support. 

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