Terri-Jane Yuzda


Survey Gives Educational
Program Strong Endorsement

Flight Plan
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.

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" professions.
  • 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 many contributions.

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 and floods.

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 and organizations.

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 make?

"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 career."
-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 exciting."
-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 schools.


Visit www.apegga.org
scroll down Fast Find to Education & Career, Outreach


Edmonton and branches
(780) 426-3990
Toll Free: 1-800-661-7020

(403) 262-7714

Home | Past PEGGs | PEGG Search | Contact Us