Inspiring Young Women to Pursue Careers in STEM

Through our partnership with Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta, we established the Finning Canada STEM Awards in 2020. These two $3500 scholarships are awarded to qualified women from the Wood Buffalo Region pursuing a post-secondary career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) related fields. 

We are pleased to announce on February 11, 2022, International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Manorama Joshi and Chantel Tait were awarded the Finning Canada STEM Awards by Girls Inc.

“Huge congratulations to Manorama and Chantel, who are actively working to break systemic barriers and contribute to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive society,” says Nanase Tonda, Executive Director, Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta. “We would also like to express our gratitude for Finning Canada who was able to increase the awarding amount from $1000 to $3500 to tangibly tackle thicker and taller barriers that girls face within and beyond the world of STEM.”

Manorama Joshi is entering her first year as a computer or mechatronics engineering student. She has been a participant and volunteer in the Girls Inc. Operation SMART program since 2015. Manorama says she discovered an interest in robotics and immediately joined the Tech and Trade program. Soon after, she joined Girls Inc. Operation SMART, which she found a “groundbreaking experience” that helped open her eyes to the amazing world of STEM. She says these experiences have made her stronger by fueling her passion and helping build her confidence. Manorama says she wanted to create opportunities for others to explore their hobbies and passions in STEM so she began mentoring and volunteering. As a student at Westwood Community High School, she was on the robotics team and the team’s Lead Design Engineer. 

She is also involved in Queens in Code and founded the Westwood Women in Technology Club. By pursuing computer or mechatronics engineering, she hopes one day to help build machines that will aid humanity sustainably. 

“I am incredibly honoured to be one of this year's recipients of the Finning Canada STEM Award,” says Joshi. “I am immensely overjoyed to be recognized by the award in my hometown and it motivates me to continue my involvement and passion for pursuing a career in technology. I look to continue on my journey in STEM as a leader and bring more diversity to the field. I am thankful for the incredible support and cannot wait to see what more is in store.”

Chantel Tait is entering her third year pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Keyano College. She aspires to be “a noble advocate for the Indigenous community and assist in the goal of reconciliation and empowerment of the Indigenous population.” 

She says she wants to be an inspiration to future Indigenous students and women to “pursue their dream career and not give up on what they want.” Chantel notes that the challenges and discrimination she has experienced as an Indigenous woman motivates her in proving to society that being Indigenous doesn’t restrict her ability to be successful. She has actively engaged in community development by volunteering with a variety of organizations, including Northern Lights Regional Health Foundation fundraiser events and senior home visits and food basket creation with Athabasca Tribal Council. 

A long-term goal of Chantel’s is to continue to volunteer with organizations where the main purpose is to improve the way of life for individuals. As a proud Cree woman from Fort Chipewyan, Chantel says she would like to be a registered nurse in her hometown and to provide healthcare to the Indigenous population.

“While pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, this award will assist me in financial stability throughout my school year which allows me to focus on my studies. I believe this scholarship is powerful because it symbolizes the importance of empowerment of women in society,” says Tait.

“We are so proud to be able to provide these scholarships to help young women in the Wood Buffalo Region break gender stereotypes and pursue their dreams with careers in STEM,” says Michelle Dupont, Vice President, HR for Finning Canada. “Congratulations Manorama and Chantel on being this year’s recipients of the Finning Canada STEM Awards. We wish you both success in your career journeys.”

Applications for the 2023 Finning Canada STEM Awards will open in September.