May 2011

Top of the class

Two award-winning students are off to a good start

By Marlene Eisner

Mary Devine is keeping her options open; Allan Linegar has his career plans already mapped out. Both are Memorial University of Newfoundland students who recently received the CIM Newfoundland Branch Silver and Golden Jubilee scholarships, respectively.

Silver lining

The annual Silver Jubilee Scholarship (this year $2,400) is available to students in their final or penultimate year in earth sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The principal criterion to be considered for the scholarship is scholastic achievement, although economic need and character are also taken into account. “The Silver Jubilee Scholarship is based on a recommendation from the head of the department,” explains Judy Casey, manager of student scholarships, awards and financial aid at the university.

Devine, 22, this year’s winner, is in her fourth year studying earth sciences and says that when she graduates in the spring, she would like to begin working before beginning her master’s degree.

After that, she says the sky is the limit in terms of her career options. “I would like to have a job lined up,” she adds, “but probably not in Newfoundland. I’m open to anything.”

Her interests lie in the chemistry side of earth sciences, although she has not ruled out all aspects of the mining industry. “I’m really interested in geochemistry and the environmental remediation part of mining,” she says. “I love to travel, and that’s a nice thing about the work – there’s mining everywhere.” When she is not studying, Devine keeps busy with ballet, jazz and tap dance classes, as well as hiking, canoeing, skiing and camping.

Photo credit: Susan Hannan

Golden opportunity

The Golden Jubilee Scholarship (this year $2,000) is available to students from a number of disciplines and is not based on a faculty recommendation. Instead, a broad number of students who are eligible for academic scholarships are considered, with the award going to the strongest student.

Scholarship winner Allan Linegar, 24, is in his final year of civil engineering. He has always been interested in the structural side of civil engineering and thought that would be where his career would take him. His work terms changed his mind.

“I’ve got a lot of experience in oil and gas,” he explains, “After working with Statoil and ExxonMobil in St. John’s, I knew that was what I wanted to do – I loved it. I really liked the type of work and what they did. There is a stigma about oil and once I got in there, I saw the good side: the focus on safety is huge and that’s what I really liked about it.”

Linegar is attracted to Alberta not only because of its mountainous terrain, where he can enjoy his hobbies of hiking and snowboarding, but because of the oil sands sector, which he will soon be working in as a tailings engineer for Imperial Oil on the Kearl Oil Sands Project. “I’m looking forward to getting some great field experience,” he says, “and learning more about the oil sands mining industry. I’m excited to be involved in the startup of a new oil sands mining operation.”

Winning the award has come in handy for both students. “I used it to pay for tuition and books this term,” says Devine. As for Linegar, receiving such a prestigious scholarship was not only an honour, but also a welcomed financial boost. “It completely paid for my last term of school,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Allan Linegar

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