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Hebron announces $1.5 million for scholarships and research

By David Penney

The Hebron Project, Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic announced a partnership March 7 that will provide support for scholarships and research.

Endowments totalling $1.5 million will be split evenly between students from Memorial and College of the North Atlantic. These funds will be used for scholarships that are specifically directed toward women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

Of those groups, a preference will be given for those enrolled in engineering, geoscience, environmental science, chemistry and trades and technology studies.

Within that broader initiative, Memorial’s portion will be designated as the Hebron Diversity Endowment Fund and the Hebron Women in Science and Engineering Scholarship Program. In addition, Memorial will benefit from a one-time research grant of $80,000. The research funding will also be committed to diversity, both in subject matter and for those who will be directly involved.

Senior Hebron Project Manager Hareesh Pillai and Memorial President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Gary Kachanoski were joined by Mr. Bruce Hollett, president, College of the North Atlantic and Ms. Holly Dunn, a bachelor of engineering student at Memorial, along with other special guests and representatives from Hebron.

“ExxonMobil Canada and the Hebron co-venturers believe diversity delivers a competitive advantage,” said Mr. Pillai. “A diverse workforce is important to the Hebron Project. Creating an environment that supports diversity helps us to attract and retain talented and qualified people. By valuing differences in individuals, we ensure that our organizations can better use the capabilities and unique perspectives of all employees.”

Dr. Kachanoski noted that Hebron’s commitment to diversity serves to strengthen a core value at Memorial.

“Hebron shares Memorial’s commitment to diversity as an integral part of our goal to remove barriers to learning – wherever they exist,” he said. “By fostering an inclusive community on this campus, and in our workforce, we are taking steps to ensure we realize this goal.”

Mr. Hollett echoed that sentiment, noting the positive effects that would be felt by the larger community.

“By offering supports and recognition to women entering non-traditional careers, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities we are strengthening the future of our province. The effect this announcement will have on our institution and our students will be a lasting one.”

With the Women in Oil and Gas conference opening in St. John’s last week, Holly Dunn put the announcement in context. She explained that with females representing approximately 20 per cent of the engineering student body at Memorial, among the highest within Canadian universities, there is reason to be proud – but there is still work to do.

“We can always do better. We can push to become more diverse, like Hebron is doing with this initiative. And I think this starts with understanding that diversity is an advantage. Diversity feeds different opinions, experiences, and most importantly, creativity and innovation.”

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