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Rural Science Network Ignites Passion for Science and Technology

New project focuses on guiding youth to science-related careers

Edmonton, AB – The Rural Alberta Development Fund Board of Directors has approved $900,000 in funding to create the Rural Youth Science Network, aimed at engaging youth in science and technology through an innovative face-to-face and social media program. By showcasing the need for science-related jobs, the Science Alberta Foundation will work towards leading youth down a science and technology oriented career path.

“Growing a skilled workforce is vital for a strong Alberta economy,” said the Honourable Jack Hayden, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “A skilled workforce will foster continued economic growth and enhance science and technology initiatives in rural Alberta, which will impact industries and future job growth.”

Breaking free from the traditional avenue of telling or lecturing, this program focuses on hands-on youth engagement and involvement. The Rural Youth Science Network will provide high school students with facilitated sessions at post-secondary institutions, connecting them with the network and tuned into everyday science in their communities. Integrating face-to-face sessions and social networking tools, youth from five regions of the province will work on projects about science topics of interest, collaborating to create digital content such as animations, videos and photography to showcase real science applications.

“The Rural Youth Science Network will help youth become better informed about science topics affecting rural Alberta, while getting them excited about the science and technology career opportunities that exist within their own communities,” said Jann Beeston, Chair of the Board of Directors, Rural Alberta Development Fund. “Students will also realize the potential for job growth in the science sector and learn about programs offered at local post-secondary institutions to pursue those opportunities.”

Partnered with the University of Lethbridge and Red Deer College initially, but expanding to three other regions in the future, Science Alberta Foundation takes the lead on this project to build confidence, knowledge and peer support among Grade 9 to 12 students - an age when critical career decisions are made and life-long attitudes about learning are formed. Not only will students be fascinated about science, they will develop communication, writing, multimedia, teambuilding, research and critical thinking skills, preparing them to become successful workers of the future.

Funding from the Rural Alberta Development Fund will go towards staffing, program support and coordination, program development and transitioning as well as delivery into five regions throughout the province. The project’s expected completion date is December 31, 2013.

Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $85.2 million has been committed to 76 projects. Applications are now being accepted for the remaining funds, which must be committed by March 31, 2012.

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For more information, contact:

Gitte Sorensen
Communications & Program Coordinator
Rural Alberta Development Fund
780.436.9585 office
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Jody MacPherson
Senior Manager, Communications, Marketing, Public Engagement
Science Alberta Foundation
403.220.0077 ext 233 403.560.9369 cell
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)