Rebecca Pinto, a University of Alberta student about to enter her second year of chemical engineering, has won the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation Engineering Awards Program Scholarship. It’s both prestigious and profitable for Ms. Pinto — giving her $7,500 each year for three years to put towards her studies.
Ms. Pinto has the enviable and unbeatable record of a 4.0 GPA, the best there is. This follows high school marks of 100 per cent in math and physics.
Academic activity is only one of Ms. Pinto’s pursuits. She is an active volunteer, playing piano at a senior citizens’ residence, working with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters local chapter, and organizing students’ blood donations for Canadian Blood Services. She also mentors with Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology.
The C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation was created in 1961 to memorialize the Right Hon. Clarence Decatur Howe. The C. D. Howe Memorial Foundation Engineering Scholarship recognizes outstanding academic achievement in engineering. Each year, one male and one female Canadian student receive the engineering awards scholarship.
Says Ms. Pinto: “The different leadership activities have definitely had an impact on my life and the direction I am heading. They have shown me that sharing my time and effort with my community not only benefits those around me, but empowers me to do more with my life as well. I will, therefore, undoubtedly continue to use the skills I have to better serve my community and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”
Volunteer activities are very satisfying for Ms. Pinto. “In 2002, I began tutoring students in math and science. All of my students have had some impact on me, but my experiences with one student in particular have really made an impression on me. I tutored her in math and science, and she was able to raise her grades by 30 to 40 per cent.
“Her mom also told me how much of a positive impact I have made on her daughter, and how I have become a role model for her. I have also become even more than just a tutor to her. I really felt as though I had made a difference in someone’s life and that I had been able to effect change in my community.
“It is for this reason that tutoring has meant more to me than anything else I have done. My student can now go and spread her confidence and her talents in her community.
She now believes that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to, and there is no telling what she will do for herself and her community.
“Knowing that I have given someone the confidence to accomplish her goals gives me an amazing feeling, and is the reason why I have resolved to make tutoring a lifelong goal.”
Does that cover it for Ms. Pinto? Not at all.
Ms. Pinto was a member of the swim team throughout high school, and in her final year was the team captain. Throughout her high school career, she participated on the badminton team, the cross-country running team, the track and field team and the beach volleyball team.
Last semester, Ms. Pinto organized and was captain of a co-recreational volleyball team for campus intramurals. She works out, swims, and plays badminton regularly.
Recognizing that her future career will be in a global economy, Ms. Pinto is purs-uing studies in Spanish and French. “Since chemical engineering is such a broad field, I really want my work to have a positive environmental impact. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to help the environment as much as possible, and I know that being a chemical engineer will put me in an optimal position to do that.
“Especially with the global demand for oil being insatiable and the booming oil sands industry in Fort McMurray, I know that there is a huge potential for my environmental aspirations here in Alberta. Even a one per cent increase in production efficiency would have huge environmental benefits, and that’s what’s really exciting to me.”
Says Dr. Ken Porteous, P.Eng., associate dean of the faculty of engineering: “Ms. Pinto demonstrates the ideal conduct of all professional engineers in her integrity, competence, and devotion to service and to the advancement of human welfare, as endorsed in the Code of Ethics of APEGGA.” Dr. Porteous, APEGGA’s vice-president, recommended Ms. Pinto to the C. D. Howe Memorial Foundation and coordinated her application.