Hatch Inspires Aboriginal Students

Kathryn Bemben of Hatch Mott MacDonald and Professor  David Barnett, Lakehead’s Dean of Engineering, are excited   to be fostering Aboriginal students’ interest in science

Hatch Inspires Aboriginal Students

Lakehead’s Aboriginal Mentorship Program (AMP) received a giant boost from our friends at Hatch – a leading engineering and consulting firm. Hatch has operations around the world and is recognized for giving back to the communities where it works.

On December 12, 2014, representatives from the Hatch head office in Mississauga, Ontario, and the Thunder Bay Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) office visited Lakehead University to present AMP Coordinator Lisa Harris with a cheque for $20,000.

This generous gift will further AMP’s mission of inspiring Aboriginal high school students throughout Northwestern Ontario by enhancing learning opportunities in science, engineering, and business as well as bolstering their academic success. AMP does this by partnering high school students with Lakehead science, engineering, and business students who act as volunteer mentors. AMP incorporates interactive learning opportunities into both high school and university environments.Kathryn Bemben of Hatch Mott MacDonald and Professor David Barnett, Lakehead’s Dean of Engineering, are excited to be fostering Aboriginal students’ interest in scienceL to R: Hatch Global Director of Mining Pierre Rocque, Thunder Bay HMM Project Manager Kathryn Bemben, HMM Sr. Assoc. Provincial Infrastructure Gerry Buckrell, Biology Professor Peter Lee, Dean of Engineering David Barnett, Hatch Managing Director Tony Cesta, Acting Dean of Science and Environmental Studies Todd Randall, AMP Coordinator Lisa Harris, and Philanthropy Director Jennifer Childs

Creating this positive connection has a real impact on the lives of Aboriginal youth. Lisa Harris says, “One of the most moving things I’ve encountered is an increase in the confidence levels of our high school students, many of whom are from remote communities. They’ve told me that ‘before the AMP program I never saw myself going to university, now I believe that I can.’ Improving students’ confidence can make a world of difference.”

Lakehead University has one of the higher percentages of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students among Canadian universities with an estimated 1,175 Aboriginal students attending both Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses, representing approximately 11% of the student population.

Thunder Bay HMM Project Manager Kathryn Bemben was on hand for the cheque presentation ceremony. Kathryn, a 1981 Lakehead civil engineering grad, is very proud of the company’s track record as an employer of postsecondary school graduates. “By supporting Lakehead’s Aboriginal Mentorship Program, we are fostering a talent pool of promising Aboriginal youth right here in Northwestern Ontario,” she explains. 

Tony Cesta, Hatch Managing Director, Mississauga, is convinced that Hatch’s “commitment to diversity continues to be a source of strength. It is one reason we have excelled in innovation.”

Thank you to everyone at Hatch for believing in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario students!