SCIberMENTOR Participants
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Names in Space
Cold Lake students in the SCIberMENTOR program prepare their names for space travel.

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta is helping students celebrate Space Day by having their signatures sent into space. About 100 Cold Lake students belonging to the SCIberMENTOR program are among a select few chosen from 600 applicants to take part in the NASA’s Student Signatures in Space program this year.

The SCIberMENTOR program is an e-mail mentoring program aimed at girls aged 11 to 18 with impact at a formative stage in their development. The program matches girls with women who are studying science and engineering or scientific and engineering practitioners. Faculties of engineering at the U of A and the University of Calgary are key collaborators in SCIberMENTOR.

As participants in the SCIberMENTOR program, 100 Cold Lake students signed a giant poster during a SCIberMINGLE event at the Lakeland Inn, in May. The poster will be photographed and taken into space in the next U.S. Space Shuttle mission in early 2005. Similar signings were held elsewhere in Alberta.

Along with the opportunity to “fly” signatures into space, the program will receive educational material and program memorabilia throughout the year. After the space flight, the poster will be returned with an official NASA certificate verifying that their signatures flew into space and a photo of the space shuttle crew who carried their signatures into orbit.

Alby Pei, SCIberMENTOR program administrator for Northern Alberta, said: “We are thrilled to have been chosen as part of the Student Signatures in Space program because only a small number of international applicants are successful.”

Student Signatures in Space Program
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As part of the SCIberMINGLE session in Cold Lake, there were displays highlighting some of the technologies that have been part of the space program and human exploration of outer space. “Introducing girls to space travel inspires them to take greater interest in science and math in school, enriching their learning experience and, hopefully, encourages them to pursue a nontraditional career” said Ms. Pei.

The U of A Faculty of Engineering has been a sponsor of SCIberMENTOR since 2001. More than 1,000 girls and adult female mentors have participated in SCIberMENTOR program to date. Other supporters are EnCana, Alberta Innovation and Science, and NSERC. Collaborators are the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and Alberta Women's Science Network.

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