Contact Information

PO Box 6133, STN Main
Fort McMurray, AB T9H 4W1

Kerri Johnson-Leland, Managing Editor

Shared from Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta

Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Finning Canada are honoured to
share the two recipients of the Finning Canada STEM Award.

The $1,000 scholarships are awarded to two young women from the Wood Buffalo Region that are studying a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related discipline.

This year the recipients are: Aparna Gupta and Janelle Flett.


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 my 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.

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.

“In 2020, we heard the word ‘innovation’ more than ever. The core of ‘STEM’ is creativity and solution-seeking that break what is normalized in the daily lives. We are proud and honoured for our scholars who are doing just that. We would also like to express our gratitude for Finning Canada who made this opportunity possible,” said Nanase Tonda, executive director, Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta.

“The machines and power systems used by our customers are being transformed by advances in innovation and technology,” said Michelle Dupont, VP, HR for Finning Canada. “So we know the importance of investing in educating the next generation in STEM to build the inclusive and diverse workforce we are going to need to drive our business forward. This is why we are proud to provide these scholarships to help young women in the Wood Buffalo Region pursue careers in STEM. Congratulations
to Aparna and Janelle, our Finning Canada STEM Award recipients. We wish you all the best on your educational path to reaching your career goals.”

Applications for the Finning Canada STEM Award for 2022 will open in June.


YMM News Team

The YMM News Team is a collaboration of authors and contributors from in and around Fort McMurray.