Mining industry scholarship attracts women and Indigenous students
- Julia Peterson | June 02, 2021
Corine Strube had always been interested in chemistry and lab work. But when she enrolled in the Chemical Technology Program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, she wasn’t sure what support there would be for a Métis woman, mature student and single mother like her.
Then, in 2019, Strube was one of the first winners of the iMpowered Scholarship, a program from the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMMI) which supports women and Indigenous students enrolled in post-secondary programs relevant to Saskatchewan’s mining industry. She won a $25,000 scholarship which she could use to pay for everything from books and tuition to childcare and rent. For Strube, it was a game-changer.
“It was amazing,” she said. “I’ve been completely set up for success. I don’t have massive amounts of debt and I didn’t have to worry about emergencies. I could just focus on my studies and taking care of my daughter and doing the best I could.
“And now that I’ve graduated, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something, and I’m just so honoured to have the support that they gave me. I don’t think I could have done it, as a mature student and a single parent, without that help.”
For the 2020-2021 academic year, IMMI awarded $100,000 in scholarship money to four recipients. Vonda Roberts, a mature student from the Wahpeton Dakota Nation enrolled in the Exploration and Mine Engineering Program at Northlands College, was one of them.
“This scholarship is a symbol and an indication that age is not a factor when it comes to education,” said Roberts. “You can return to school regardless of your age. … My family and children are all very proud of me, I can see it in their eyes.”
Al Shpyth is IMMI’s Executive Director. He says the iMpowered scholarship serves multiple purposes
“We don’t want talented women and Indigenous people to not complete their post-secondary education and pursue a career in mining because of the cost,” he said. “We always want to see talent succeed.
“[And] all of our members have made commitments to increase participation of women and Indigenous people in their workforce. So we thought this scholarship could help send the message that the industry is looking for more women and more Indigenous people.”
IMMI has committed $500,000 over five years to the scholarship program, and Shpyth says he hopes to be able to carry it on in some form beyond that.