A welcome gift from Shell Canada
Shell Canada helped welcome about 300 Aboriginal high school students to SAIT Polytechnic's Open House last October. During a "meet and greet" orientation, Shell announced a $250,000 gift dedicated to Aboriginal SAIT students through the Chinook Lodge Aboriginal Resource Centre.
A portion of the money will cover entrance application fees. It can cost students up to $300 to apply to SAIT, a sum that is not affordable for low income Aboriginal families. Thanks to Shell's generosity, that fee will be covered. This will help ensure that more students who qualify can attend SAIT and receive a post secondary education. The Shell gift also creates entrance scholarships for Aboriginal students coming to SAIT directly from high school. The rest of the contribution will support SAIT students in the MacPhail School of Energy with scholarships and opportunities to meet industry leaders and role models through conferences and industry events.
Mark Shilliday, a diversity recruiter for Shell was among those greeting the students. He explained that when he was in university 20 years ago, there was no such thing as an Aboriginal resource centre, but it is different today.
"You will have to study hard and motivate yourself," Shilliday said, "but you have an amazing opportunity to take advantage of the Chinook Lodge Aboriginal Resource Centre - a facility committed to helping you overcome challenges and guide you through your academic career."
SAIT's President and CEO Dr. David Ross reinforced the message by urging Aboriginal students to investigate the wide variety of programs offered by SAIT.
Dr. Ross thanked Shell for its ongoing support noting, "Shell has been working with SAIT for more than 20 years and in that time their contribution has grown to nearly $1 million in programs, scholarships and gifts. Shell's dedication to student success is not just monetary. Shell employees are often on campus to mentor SAIT students and many Shell staff sit on SAIT industry advisory councils."
Bottom right: Mark Shilliday, Diversity Recruiter for Shell Canada, talks to high school students about finding success at SAIT.