One local student is getting ready to embark on a voyage of discovery this summer after qualifying for an exclusive educational experience with the Shad Valley program.
The two-phase program will see Amy Gill, a grade 11 student at Fort High, spend four weeks at one of nine Canadian universities starting July 4 and then five weeks working with Abitibi-Consolidated here in August.
“I hope I go to Lakehead [University],” said Gill, who will hear from Shad Valley shortly as to where she will go. She was asked to list her preferences among the nine schools, picking Lakehead U. in Thunder Bay as her number-one choice.
“I feel very lucky to be accepted. I think it will be a great experience,” she enthused.
“I’m happy I have the ability to go,” she added, referring to Shad Valley’s tough criteria for accepting students.
As to what she is looking forward to most, Gill noted the schooling portion may be best.
“The academic half should be a lot of fun but a lot of hard work,” she remarked. “On the other hand, I’ve talked to Mr. [Len] Robinson at the mill and I should be able to learn a lot where they’ve placed me.”
“We’ll be putting her in the environmental/technical area of the operation. It’s an area that does a lot of testing, and should be suited to her academic background,” said Robinson, human resources manager at the Abitibi-Consolidated mill here.
“If you want a basic understanding of the mill, that’s a great place to start,” he noted.
Robinson said it was an honour to have top-notch student come on board for the summer. “It’s a real prestigious appointment that not everyone can qualify for,” he remarked.
Gill’s work term at the mill will be a paid position. But she still will have to pay $1,300 for the program.
As far as spending a summer at home or on a summer job like many other high school students, Gill thought the educational and work experience should be worth it.
“I’ve thought about ‘missing’ summer, and I still think about it, but it’s really just one summer,” she reasoned.
Shad Valley is a live-in motivational program representing a partnership between university, high school, and industry. Science, technology, entrepreneurship, and the environment are the focus areas of study.
Every year, the program is offered to almost 500 of Canada’s top students.
The program is made possible through partnerships with corporations and organizations that have an interest in fostering science, technology, and entrepreneurship, and that seek to recruit top talent.
Nine Shad Valley alumni have received Rhodes scholarships, including eight since 1990.