More than three years into her job as a metallurgist for a mining company, Erin Bobicki decided to return to university for a doctoral degree in chemical engineering.
“I had my first child after my first semester back at school,” says Ms. Bobicki, who is in the last year of her PhD studies, which started in 2010 at the University of Alberta's department of chemical and materials engineering in Edmonton. “With daycare, living expenses, books and tuition, it was a challenge.”
A $12,500 scholarship eased that challenge for Ms. Bobicki and her family. In 2012, she was one of three recipients of the Engineers Canada – Manulife Financial scholarship, a national prize awarded to outstanding engineers who pursue advanced studies in engineering.
Ms. Bobicki, who has a degree in environmental engineering from the University of British Columbia and University of Northern British Columbia, has focused her doctoral research on a process that addresses climate change by permanently storing carbon dioxide in the mineral waste of mining companies. It was on the strength of this research that she applied for the Engineers Canada – Manulife Financial scholarship.
“I’ve always been passionate about the environment,” says Ms. Bobicki. “Fortunately, the awards committee was looking for a sustainability-related project, and I guess they liked what they saw in my application.”
Ms. Bobicki, who now has two children, says her scholarship win came as a surprise. “I didn’t think I stood a chance, but I’m glad I applied,” she says. “When you’re already working and earning an income, it’s hard to leave that environment to return to school. These scholarships are significant – it’s a huge dollar value for a student, and it really helped me.”