The Leacross Foundation was delighted to receive this Annual Report from Algonquin College. Please be sure to read through to the end, as some wonderful messages of thanks were also received from the bursary and take-home kit recipients.

Algonquin College
A steadfast champion for the education of women and girls, the Leacross Foundation donated $60,000 to support women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs at Algonquin College. And in fact, the generosity of the Leacross Foundation totals over $600,000 to Algonquin College within the past 16 years.

“The Leacross Foundation continues to be a strong supporter of promoting and enhancing opportunities for women in STEM-related fields,” said Mark Savenkoff, Vice President, Advancement. “Through their generosity and support, they are ensuring women have the tools they need to succeed in their chosen fields here at Algonquin, and we are thrilled they are leading the way to ensure female learners are set up to succeed.”

“Our hope is that women and girls can participate in whatever career they choose without discrimination (or) bias, and have wraparound support networks to succeed,” states Roslyn Bern, President, Leacross Foundation.

Students are grateful and appreciative of the donation. These funds support two programs—providing bursaries for women in the We Saved You a Seat program for those in financial need, and purchasing take-home kits for female students to support their remote learning activities.

“These two programs—the take-home kits and We Saved You a Seat—augment and continue our practice in supporting women in underrepresented fields,” adds Bern.

The COVID-19 pandemic required faculty to pivot to remote learning, and the kits reduce the reliance of hands-on lab activities traditionally performed on campus and complements remote learning activities. Each kit includes essential tools for our learners to conduct their electrical experiments from home: a PC-based oscilloscope, a multi-meter, electronic parts, tools, a power supply, and circuit prototyping supplies.

I am a recipient of the Leacross Foundation Bursary for Women in STEM. The bursary you have so graciously provided to me and nineteen other female identifying students will help us achieve our goals of providing a better tomorrow for not only ourselves and our families, but for the community. Because of your support I decided to make the final jump and ensure I come back in the fall to complete the third year of my program at Algonquin.

This funding will lock in my ability to follow my dream career of being a Distribution Design Technician at Hydro Ottawa, which I need a Technologist diploma to hold the position. The bursary has also helped me right now relieve some financial stress as I go into a summer student job at Hydro Ottawa that does not pay extremely well. Having the extra money in my bank account helps me feel as though I am making the right decision when it comes to my summer job choice.

I chose to study in the Electrical Engineering Technician/Technologist program because I have been an Audio Technician for nearly six years. The love I had for my pre-pandemic career allowed me to travel, meet incredible people and experience so many difficult situations head on. The EET program and my job went hand in hand, but in Winter 2020 semester, my whole career outlook had to switch. I had always loved the idea and found the utility stream very interesting. Hydro Ottawa and Hydro One are my two new achievable goals, and I will keep my Audio Technician job as a hobby when things slowly come back to normal. My program and Algonquin College have been fantastic towards being diverse and accepting of all challenges. Any issues I have faced, a member of faculty was there to help me through and to make the best decision for me.

Stephanie Foss

I am a student in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Algonquin College. I want to thank you so much for selecting me for the bursary. Your generosity has greatly reduced my financial stress and I am so grateful and happy that the Leacross Foundation recognized my strong efforts.

Right now I am at the end of my second semester of the program and I am really enjoying learning all about this field. I have met some great people in my program and I feel like I’m really settling in nicely.

I am in the co-op stream so I am hoping to secure a co-op placement for this fall semester which will be really exciting.

Once again thank you so much,
Sophia Fornarolo

Thank you so much for the bursary! It was a very pleasant and sincerely appreciated surprise.

I am a second-year student taking Mechanical Engineering Technology at Algonquin College, a program I very much enjoy. It was always my dream to become an engineer and Algonquin College seems a perfect fit for me. I love the classes, and the classmates, and the atmosphere.

I live with my family in Nepean, rather close to the college. We are a large family (I have three siblings) and thus this bursary is a great help.

Thank you again, and have a wonderful summer,

Sofia Ayame Sudo

My name is Mrinali and I study as an Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technician at Algonquin College. I am very grateful to receive this bursary and it has relieved my financial pressure in such times as Covid- 19. I pursued this course at Algonquin College because it ranges from advanced theoretical understanding to practical application in the industry. It shall provide me with a valuable understanding of the areas of electronic circuits, industrial pneumatics, microcontrollers, PLCs, and industrial robots.

Thank you very much for your support.

Mrinali Pardiwala

I am honored to be one of the recipients of the Leacross Foundation Bursary for Women in STEM. Thanks for your generous support that is helping to continue my studies at the college.

Being a foreign student, and mother of two little daughters, my dream to return to my career is a big challenge in my life.

At the beginning of this semester, I was planning to take a part-time job to financially help my family, and probably my grades would be negatively affected. This is the most difficult and one of the most important semesters in my course (Mechanical Engineering Technology). When I received the email of this award I cried with joy and I felt so blessed as I was receiving a miracle.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to attend this course. My goal is one day to become a mechanical engineer, and a mechanical engineering professor and never stop helping other women to become the best version of themselves.

I am an advocate for the right of all women to have the right to choose the profession they want and feel comfortable doing it. As I told you before, I have two daughters, and I always encourage them to appreciate science and see the beauty of it in their lives.

I am also working on Algonquin’s project called Young Women in STEM Mentorship, where we promote events to girls in grade 8 in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I truly believe in this project because when I was young, during one of my high school classes, we had a visit of an Engineer. I could see his passion and his exciting work-life, and my path to become an engineer began there.

One of the biggest challenges that I am facing as a mechanical woman student is finding a co-op job for my next semester. I am competing with men that had experience in the mechanical field since they were little boys.

Thank you again for helping to continue my goals. My successful educational pursuits would not be possible without the generous support from donors like your organization. Thank you for enabling this opportunity!

Elisangela Santos

I moved to Canada 12 years ago with my family. My kids were young, 1 year and 10 years old. I had to do anything to support my family. However, I wanted to get a better job. So I started Adult High School before entering Algonquin College. It wasn’t easy and wasn’t a short journey. I was a mom and part-time worker and student. After joining Algonquin College, I quit my job. I was not able to do both.

In a month, I will graduate. I don’t know what my next mountain is. But I am sure if I want to do something, I know I am not alone. I would like to say thank you so much.

Someday, I would like to pay back this money to other people.

Thank you so much,
Jaesun Kim