A Sturgeon County "farm girl" has received a scholarship from a Heartland industrial group celebrating its 40th anniversary.
The Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) announced Aug. 30 that it had awarded scholarships to 10 high school students in the Sturgeon County and Strathcona County region as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations. Sturgeon County resident and Sturgeon Composite graduate Brooke-Lynn Finnerty was one of the recipients.
Established as the Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association in 1982, the NCIA is a non-profit group which serves as the voice of industry as it relates to air, water, noise, and other environmental issues in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, said spokesperson Chantal Delfs. To celebrate its 40th anniversary (which was in March), the group decided to give 10 students $1,000 scholarships to support careers in science, engineering, math, technology, and the trades.
“They are the future of the work force,” Delfs said of the recipients, and the NCIA hopes they will bring fresh ideas to the table.
Recipients were picked based on their grades and written submissions, with each school able to submit two nominations, Delfs said. Nominees said they hope to make strides in everything from nuclear physics to the culinary arts.
Finnerty, 18, described herself as a "farm girl" and a long-time member of the Bon Accord 4-H Club, through which she raised several prize-winning steers and heifers.
“Those animals are amazing,” she said of cows, and her work raising them through 4-H helped her find her love of agriculture.
Finnerty said the COVID-19 pandemic shook up food supply chains, causing panic buying in stores and leaving many farmers scrambling to find ways to raise and sell their food. It also showed her how little many people know about food production.
“It’s crazy to think some people don’t know where eggs come from,” she said.
Now in her first year at the University of Alberta, Finnerty said she hopes to earn a Bachelor of Science in agriculture and advocate for farmers and food education.
“Food is everyone’s business,” she said, and the where’s and how’s of food production are more important now than ever.
Finnerty said she plans to use her degree to help her community manage pressing agricultural issues such as financing and environmental impacts. She also hopes to pass on her knowledge as a mentor to other 4-H members. This scholarship — one of several she had applied for — will help her focus on her studies.
Delfs said the NCIA hopes to continue this scholarship in some form in the years ahead.
Visit www.ncia.ab.ca/who-we-are/40years for a list of scholarship recipients.