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Imperial Oil donates $1M to create Aboriginal Science & Technology Education Program

Mount Royal University

Program goal to boost graduate success rates in sciences

The Imperial Oil Foundation announced today a $1 million investment over five years to establish the Aboriginal Science and Technology Education Program (ASTEP) at Mount Royal University.

ASTEP will focus on preparing and transitioning Aboriginal students into science-focused programs with the objective of increasing the number of Aboriginal students completing a degree from Mount Royal’s Faculty of Science and Technology. Specifically, the program will provide academic, financial and mentorship support in collaboration with the Faculty of Science and Technology and Mount Royal’s Iniskim Centre – a centre dedicated to increasing enrolment and retention of First Nation, Inuit and Métis students.

“Science and technology are essential to progressing growth in our business and to Canada’s competitiveness,” said Bruce March, Imperial Oil Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe ASTEP will empower Aboriginal students to achieve success in science and help to meet Canada’s needs for a skilled and diverse workforce.”

Imperial’s donation is an extension of its current support of Mount Royal’s Iniskim Centre, having provided $300,000 to the centre over the last six years. The centre is dedicated to increasing enrolment and retention of First Nation, Inuit and Métis students. ASTEP will expand services at the Iniskim Centre to include support for Aboriginal students seeking to complete a degree in science and technology.

“I am inspired by the new opportunities ASTEP will offer my peers and me,” said Katelin Breaker, a Mount Royal Aboriginal student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in health science. “Mount Royal’s smaller class sizes and commitment to supporting students of all backgrounds and, particularly, Aboriginal students are the key reasons why I chose to pursue a science degree here.”

“Without the generous support of the Imperial Oil Foundation this program would not exist,” said Mount Royal President David Docherty. “We are very grateful to have the support of such a strong community partner as Imperial Oil and look forward to the future development of this program.”

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