Outreach volunteer Kim Hauer, E.I.T., tests her paper
plane design skills at the Edmonton volunteer training
workshop in March. Outreach volunteers explain theory
and practical application to Grade 6 students who
study air, aerodynamics and flight.
Members say it's important
that APEGGA promote the professions and generate an interest
in science and technology. A program that does just that relies
on the support of member volunteers, and 500 of them reached
40,000 Albertans in the last term.
Editor's Note: The following is the first
in a series of articles on APEGGA Outreach.
BY JEANNE KEASCHUK
Senior Outreach Coordinator
Three of the top four roles that members would like to see
APEGGA place more priority on are:
- Promoting, enhancing and increasing visibility of the
professions with the public.
- Promoting public recognition and appreciation of the accomplishments
of your professions.
- Promoting the importance of science and technology in
kindergarten to Grade 12 as a step leading to future careers
in the three professions.
That's what the APEGGA 2002 Member, Employer and General
Public Opinion Survey told us, as reported in The PEGG, October
2002. Compare it to the following vital and valuable messages
that APEGGA Outreach volunteers take to students, teachers
and the general public every year in every activity they undertake.
- Engineering, geology and geophysics are not "invisible"
- Engineers, geologists and geophysicists contribute to
the economy and quality of life in Alberta and globally.
- Engineers, geologists and geophysicists have challenging,
rewarding and fun careers.
- Engineers, geologists and geophysicists use science, math
and technology every day in their careers.
Outreach is helping to address the wishes of members. This,
the first in a series of columns on the subject, is an opportune
time to review the program and remind APEGGA members of its
More than 500 member volunteers currently support Outreach.
As another September to June term ends for Outreach volunteers,
they can proudly report that they have reached an audience
of more than 40,000 Albertans. An apt comment from a new volunteer
is: "Just think about the incredible impact we would
have if more members participated."
Long and Strong Roots
Outreach is not a new member program. Its long and strong
roots go back to the 1950s and possibly earlier, when members
implemented a career counselling program to help draw talented
youth to the professions. The idea was to ensure a continuing
supply of qualified professionals for provincial, national
and global markets. These objectives are still integral to
the program, but others have been added over the years:
- to promote interest in science, math and technology through
the Alberta school system.
- to recognize outstanding science and math teachers.
- to support provincial school and university science events.
- to partner/collaborate with other organizations and companies
on math and science events.
- to assist in the development of science and math curricula.
Outreach volunteers have built a strong and reputable program.
The fact that the current number of volunteers cannot meet
the demand from educators is a testimony to its quality.
What Do Outreach Volunteers Do?
Outreach volunteers make it possible for students and the
general public to meet and talk to an engineer who has worked
on a bridge, highway, electrical system, concert hall or ski
lift. Perhaps they'll meet a geologist who has found a diamond
mine or helped the world cope with hazards such as earthquakes
The might hear a geophysicist explain how seismology is used
to find burial tombs of Mayan lords in Central America. Or
maybe they'll witness the enthusiasm of an engineering, geology
or geophysics university student who is just acquiring the
knowledge to start a career.
Outreach volunteers participate in a vast array of activities.
They are at career booths and in classrooms making science
and career presentations. They judge science fairs and science
and math competitions. They present awards.
They help with career interviews and job shadows. They talk
to teachers at their conventions and make presentations to
teachers at their professional development days.
They support the APEGGA Teacher Awards program, National
Engineering and Geoscience Week activities, Alberta Science
and Technology Week and the activities of other science groups
They develop presentation kits for the program. They help
in the development of in science and math curricula. They
attend volunteer training workshops to learn, exchange ideas,
meet other volunteers and do hands-on science activities.
Volunteers Believe in the Cause
What do these volunteers think about the commitment they
"APEGGA has an established and well-organized Outreach
program. Through my volunteer work in this program, I can
fulfil my passion to teach math, science and engineering to
students and assist APEGGA in its mandate."
-Paul Schnitzler, P.Eng.
"The more the public knows about our profession,
the more they will realize and respect the work we do."
-Dan Seibel, E.I.T.
"It keeps me in touch with the basics that we so
easily forget. Communicating with children and young adults
sharpens your presentation skills, which is helpful to your
-Albert Wegelin, P.Geol.
"I believe that each one of us has a duty to give
something back to our industry. What better opportunity to
do this than with our next geoscientists. Outreach allows
us to contact a broader audience and to educate the general
public about geology, mining, etc."
-Pamela Strand, P.Geol.
"I think there are a large number of high school
students who don't enrol in engineering because they don't
know what it is all about. I would like to help them make
an educated decision about their futures."
-JoAnne Volk, P.Eng.
Volunteers Benefit, Too
There are many direct benefits to individual members in their
volunteer efforts for Outreach that go far beyond earning
professional development credits and developing communication
skills. These volunteers express them well.
"I have developed great friendships as a result of
my involvement. You can't beat the sense of well-being that
comes from helping another person learn something new and
-Steve Wyton, P.Eng.
"All of my fondest memories as a volunteer come as
an Outreach presenter to young school children. Doing classroom
presentations was always a lot of fun and gave me as much
as I think I gave the kids."
-Terri Steeves, P.Eng.
"A girl came up to me [after a presentation I made
to a Grade 5 class] and said this presentation helped her
understand math better and made it seem more fun. Those are
the moments that keep me doing this."
-Monique Schluff Soboren, P.Eng.
"Teaching them (children) is very fun and rewarding.
I love doing it."
-Paul Elliott, P.Eng.
The Power of Many
Outreach needs more volunteers to help raise awareness of
the professions. Your support is needed. Just five hours of
volunteering can make a difference to the Outreach program.
Many volunteers give far beyond the minimum and receive employer
support in their activities.
Training workshops are held regularly in Edmonton and Calgary
and periodically in APEGGA branches. Volunteers receive support
materials along with newsletters and requests received from
OR TO VOLUNTEER
scroll down Fast Find to Education & Career, Outreach
Edmonton and branches
Toll Free: 1-800-661-7020