Exploring solutions for climate action: Co-op students awarded Louis Giroux Scholarship
Much like the namesake of the award they recently received, three University of Waterloo students are dedicated to the pursuit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The students, who each have a strategic vision in this space, were awarded the Louis Giroux Scholarship in Greenhouse Gas Reduction Science. The award recognizes co-op students who achieve academic excellence at the University and pursue climate action solutions.
Olamide Olatunbosun, Frances Hallen and Nicholas Decker each received $5,000 towards their tuition.
Donors Claire Paris, wife of the late Dr. Louis Giroux, and the Canadian Carbonization Research Association (CCRA), a division of Canmet ENERGY, honoured the three recipients for their achievement.
“We are grateful for this ongoing connection with CanmetENERGY,” says Norah McRae, associate provost of Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) at the University. “They provide vital opportunities for our students that enhance their academic experience and inspire their future success.”
Hallen is the acting president of the University of Waterloo Energy Network (UWEN), a group for students who are passionate about driving sustainable development and becoming more involved in the industry. In her co-op term with Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE), she contributes to research and modelling for the improvement of global energy transition.
As a woman in STEM that independently finances all of my tuition and living expenses, this scholarship goes a long way in helping me pay back loans faster and open doors for my career in ways that were previously unavailable to me due to financial barriers.
Donations from the CCRA and Paris made the scholarship possible. Dr. Giroux was a well-respected research scientist at CanmetENERGY who worked closely with many Waterloo co-op students over the years.
Paris hopes to continue Giroux’s legacy of mentoring and helping Waterloo co-op students in their journeys. As a first step, these scholarships will reduce financial barriers for students working in clean energy technology at the University.
“The Louis Giroux scholarships mean a lot to me in that they totally represent what was important for Louis and allow for his work and memory to continue being alive,” says Paris. “Seeing the impact is a great gift.”
Olatunbosun has held positions in the Waterloo Engineering Society and National Society of Black Engineers. He also worked at the University of Waterloo and cleantech startups such as SeeO2 Energy and Summit Nanotech. In Fall 2023, he starts his Master of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering degree at Waterloo. His goal is to have a career scaling sustainable technologies – hydrogen, lithium-ion batteries, carbon capture - to world changing levels as a process engineer.
Receiving this award acts as a form of validation that my co-op experience has me on the right career path in the global effort to remove greenhouse gas emissions.
The scholarship will be awarded annually to full-time undergraduate co-op students enrolled in year two, three or four in the Faculty of Environment, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering. Selection is based on academic excellence and a statement from students explaining how their efforts (professionally, academically) contribute to greenhouse gas emissions reduction as well as their intent to pursue a career in this space.
Two recipients had the opportunity to meet the donors and visit CanMET in Ottawa recently. This gives the chance for the donors to learn more about the recipients interests and student experiences and for the recipients to explore career connections and opportunities at CanMET.
Decker, who has a passion for preserving the wilderness, studied greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Manitoba at the University of Manitoba as part of a co-op work term. Recker also joined WatRox, the Earth and Environmental Science Clubs at Waterloo.
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to attend the University of Waterloo. My parents both graduated from Waterloo in the 80s. My mom saved a school assignment from Grade 3 where I said I wanted to attend Waterloo when I was older. I want to thank the donors for providing me with the opportunity to continue my studies this summer.
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