Three Scholars Selected for Women of Inspiration Education Award presented by Syncrude operated by Suncor
[Fort McMurray, Alberta – November 10] – Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta (Girls Inc.) is thrilled to introduce this year’s remarkable recipients of the Women of Inspiration Education Award, generously presented by Syncrude, operated by Suncor. This year, we received 38 applications, a substantial increase from the previous years. The three scholars selected by the Women of Inspiration Committee are:
- Afeefa Ahmad for the Barb Jewers Memorial Scholarship
- Brooke Plews for the Elsie Yanik Memorial Scholarship
- Agametochi Okoro for the Ann Dort-MacLean Scholarship
These outstanding young women join 30 others who have been proudly supported by Girls Inc. and Syncrude since 2013, serving as powerful role models who inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.
The three prestigious scholarships celebrate and honor the achievements of young women in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo region who are shattering barriers and creating positive change through their pursuit of higher education.
Two of the three scholarships have been named after former Women of Inspiration. The Barb Jewers Memorial Scholarship is awarded to an applicant who demonstrates sincere commitment to volunteerism and community activism. The Elsie Yanik Memorial Scholarship is awarded to an applicant with demonstrated commitment to Indigenous advocacy and community engagement. The third scholarship, the Ann Dort-MacLean Scholarship, is awarded to an applicant with demonstrated passion for youth empowerment and gender equality. This award is named after Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta’s founder to honour her legacy. The three awards were selected based on financial need, academic achievement, and extracurricular and community involvement.
“Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta believes education is key to empowerment. We are honoured to once again partner with Syncrude operated by Suncor to support and recognize the unique journeys of Afeefa, Brook and Agematochi, future leaders and agents of change in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo region and beyond,” says Nanase Tonda, Executive Director, Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta.
Afeefa Ahmad -Barb Jewers Memorial Scholarship
Afeefa Ahmad is pursuing a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta. She is an enthusiastic volunteer who is also a Girls Inc. girl. She has an impressive track record, including being a part of the RCMP National Youth Council Advisory and Mayor Advisory Council on Youth. Afeefa brings her intersectional perspective to encourage young people to get involved in their communities and improve their quality of life. She is deeply committed to volunteerism and community activism and has assisted in programs with the Wood Buffalo Regional Library, Girls Inc., Markaz ul Islam, and YMM Parent to name a few.
Afeefa believes in volunteering with organizations that align with her values and passion. Witnessing the challenges in her community that need improvement has inspired Afeefa’s commitment to volunteerism. Afeefa has been deeply inspired by individuals who have demonstrated the transformative power of action, often overcoming adversity and utilizing their unique skill sets. In her years of volunteering, she has realized that even the smallest acts of kindness can have a profound impact, and how every moment of community service brings people one step closer to creating a better and more compassionate society.
Afeefa shares: “The road to pursuing your dreams may present challenges, but it is definitely a path worth traveling. Remember that your potential knows no bounds, and with determination and resilience, you can achieve anything you set your mind to… always remember that you possess the power to shape your own remarkable story.”
Brooke Plews – Elsie Yanik Memorial Scholarship
Brooke Plews is seeking to become a social worker at Mount Royal University. She is a member of Fort McMurray #468 First Nation who exemplifies advocacy and community involvement through her efforts to raise awareness about the lack of cultural competency and cultural safety she had encountered. She seeks opportunities to mentor Indigenous youth and children, guided by the ‘Truth and Reconciliation 94 Calls to Action’, and advocates for inclusivity and equity. Brooke is an Indigenous mentor working with Calgary Police Services, addiction centre, and mental health agencies advocating for Indigenous community’s needs. Brooke finds inspiration in the resilience of Indigenous people, and her role modeling and continuous advocacy provide opportunities for self-determination.
She states: “What inspired me to continually advocate for my community is knowing that my community is strong and resilient. It is those in the community who have faced many hardships in their lives that continuously inspire me. I want to help and walk alongside fellow Indigenous people who want to fight against the injustices we face. My message would be to continue to believe in yourself. To continuously work towards their goals and continue to push through the hardships that might pop up on their journeys. It will be worth it in the end.”
Agametochi Okoro – Ann Dort-MacLean Scholarship
Agametochi Okoro is a student pursuing a degree in Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Waterloo. She is a passionate advocate for youth empowerment and gender equity. Agametochi initiates discussions about local Black role models, organizes leadership presentations, and leads workshops to strengthen youth in areas of underrepresentation, such as the STEM field. She works as a Marketing Director of STEMConnect, a student-led initiative aimed at bridging the gap between communities with limited access to STEM education. Agametochi encourages young girls to participate in activities related to their interests and get involved in their communities. She believes that pursuing one’s passion is worth it in the end and that, through her actions, she can inspire others to do the same.
Encouraging girls to follow their passion, Agametochi says: “I want to send a message to girls to be involved in your community in the things you are interested in. Many of my extracurriculars stem from current interests and passions that drive me as a person, which led to my contributions which put me where I am today. Even if the road seems difficult and there aren’t many people or role models to look up to, I believe that you should continue to let your passions drive your actions in all your activities because it turns out to be worth it in the end.”
To read about past recipients visit: https://girlsincofnorthernalberta.org/women-of-inspiration-education-award-recipients/
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 holistic approach to girl development equips them to surmount gender, economic, and societal challenges, fostering their growth into healthy, educated, and independent individuals. Since our establishment in 2004, Girls Inc. has been steadily expanding its presence in the Wood Buffalo Region.
In 2022 alone, we had the privilege of inspiring over 1,900 girls throughout the region—a remarkable increase from 310 girls in 2016. This year, we aspire to welcome many more girls through our doors, nurturing their journey to become strong, smart, and bold, thereby enriching the Wood Buffalo region as an even greater place to thrive.
Syncrude is one of the largest operations in Canada’s oil sands industry, with an over 55-year history of innovation. Based in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and with a large research and development facility in Edmonton, Syncrude is a joint venture operated by Suncor and is known for pioneering many of the processes used in the industry, including an expanding suite of technologies to improve environmental and future economic performance.
For more information, please visit www.girlsincofnorthernalberta.org.