International Minerals Innovation Institute

Unique Engineering Scholarship Aims to Increase Diversity & Inclusion in Mining Education

International Minerals Innovation Institute (“IMII”) launched a scholarship initiative today designed to encourage and support women and Indigenous students pursuing a career in Saskatchewan’s minerals industry.

The five-year initiative commits over $500,000 to establish two scholarship programs. Candidates eligible for the awards are:

  • iMpowered – College, polytechnic and/or university women and Indigenous students with financial responsibilities for the family, enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, mathematics or computer science program and interested in a career in the minerals industry.
  • The Mining Futures Award – undergraduate students currently enrolled in one of three Mining Engineering Options at the University of Saskatchewan.

The selected students will be recognized for their academic achievements in a program relevant to mining and for their interest in and skills relevant to a career in the minerals industry.

Two iMpowered scholarships will be given out each year, and each student will be awarded $25,000 which may be used to cover any costs associated with their efforts to attain a higher education, such as books, childcare, tuition and transportation. One student receiving the Mining Futures Award will collect $12,000, covering most of the costs for tuition, books, instruments and fees. Both programs will run for five years.

“The IMII started these scholarship programs to give students the financial support they need to pursue a post-secondary education that will carry them into a career in Saskatchewan’s minerals industry,” says Al Shpyth, IMII’s executive director. “As the industry transitions into its digital future, it will need greater access to a more diverse skill and mind set which may be achieved by attracting more women and Indigenous students into relevant academic programs.”

“The newly announced iMpowered Scholarships will be a welcomed relief for Indigenous students and women seeking careers in the minerals industry.  Awards, such as these, assist students to pay for tuition, books, childcare and other costs associated with attending post-secondary education.  Since many adult learners have family financial responsibilities, scholarships can lighten the burden allowing more time to focus on their studies,” says Lynn Verklan, Interim President/CEO of Cumberland College.

“Not many of our students come directly out of high school and they often have families to support. The idea of going back to school to either change careers or enhance their employment opportunities is a major decision and is often not possible due to associated costs and loss of income,” says Deanna Gaetz, Business and Skills Training Manager with Carlton Trail College. “By providing this scholarship, IMII is creating opportunities for those currently under-represented in careers related to mining and minerals who may not ever have an opportunity to follow their dreams and contribute to the growth and success of the industry.”

 “We are delighted to have the continued support of IMII in promoting our mining options, and in particular, ensuring that these attractive opportunities are more visible to our female and indigenous students,” said Dean of Engineering, Suzanne Kresta. “We are pleased to see this part of our student body growing with each passing year.”

“At Mosaic, we know that innovation is key to staying competitive in an ever-changing world, so we’re proud to support IMII’s efforts in driving innovation and sustainability in our industry,” says Karen Swager, Senior Vice President, Potash for The Mosaic Company. “There is tremendous growth and opportunity in the mining industry in Saskatchewan and this scholarship helps more women and Indigenous students build careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We applaud IMII’s vision in creating opportunities to support a diverse and inclusive culture in Saskatchewan’s mining and minerals industries.”

Submissions for the 2019-2020 iMpowered awards are due by July 31, 2019.  The University of Saskatchewan will be accepting application for the Mining Futures Award this fall.  For more information about the eligibility requirements, selection criteria and how to apply for the scholarships offered by IMII, please visit