Rachel Notley makes SAIT premiere
Alberta premier gets a first-hand look at the future workforce.
It was an enlightening foray into new territory as Alberta Premier Rachel Notley visited SAIT's campus Thursday, Jan. 18, for the first time.
President Dr. David Ross and SAIT's executive team were on hand to tour Notley around campus. They were joined by Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education, Robyn Luff, Calgary-East MLA and Craig Coolahan, Calgary-Klein MLA.
"That's our premier!" shocked students said as the entourage strolled the pathways between buildings.
Today's students, tomorrow's leaders
On the tour, Dr. Ross and SAIT instructors showcased many of the campus' hands-on learning spaces, including the Distributed Control Systems Lab in the Johnson-Cobbe Energy Centre.
"It's great to see that she is interested in our learning here," says Samuel Laughlin, first-year Instrumentation Engineering Technology student, adding he was happy to see the premier take the time to learn about SAIT's facilities.
At the Home Building Lab, students framed the future of construction for the premier. After viewing the homes being built, SAIT's concrete toboggan team showcased the institution's history of success at a unique competition.
"We are the only two-year school competing in a competition full of four-year institutions," says Abigail Watt, second-year Mechanical Engineering student. "We consistently reach the top five."
Team member Andrew Humphries, a third-year Bachelor of Business Administration student, added it's important for government officials to meet the future workforce.
In the driver's seat
Jim Szautner, Dean, School of Manufacturing and Automation, toured the group through the robotics lab in the Aldred Centre. Instructor Daniel Barrett's robot demonstration highlighted the final stop, where Notley and Luff got a chance to drive the robot.
First-year Mechanical Engineering Technology student Alyson Covin says Notley's visit was meaningful to her as a woman studying in the STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — field.
"It was fantastic," she says. "It let me know that she is interested in engineering and technology."
Students were not the only ones taking something away from the experience. Luff was impressed by many of SAIT's hands-on learning spaces.
"The spaces are designed to prepare students for their jobs," she says.