It was a life changing moment in the classroom that sparked Matthew McCann to trade the role of teacher for student.
McCann was teaching English in Brazil when he was struck by the fact that his students, many of whom were engineers, displayed an unmistakable passion for their work.
"I realized that the projects they were working on in their communities really appealed to me," says McCann. "Their energy sparked my journey into Engineering.”
Fast forward two years later. McCann received another jolt of inspiration after completing the Electronic Engineering Technology Program (ELEN) at Okanagan College, when he learned he had been selected to receive the Yvonne and Norman Harding Award for Engineering.
Valued at $5,000, the award is the largest given out annually by the Okanagan College Foundation and is intended to assist students bridging the ELEN program to a university Engineering Degree Program.
“This award definitely takes a big load off my mind,” he explains. “But even greater is the motivational factor—the fact that Yvonne and Norman Harding have made this incredible investment in my future is very validating for me. It will push me to work as hard as I can.
For McCann completing the ELEN program means he can enter the third year of Electrical Engineering at the University of Victoria. Receiving the award has meant that he can complete the year without having to worry about finances.
Norman and Yvonne Harding established the Harding Award for Engineering in 2007 through a donation of more than $100,000 to Okanagan College. Harding was enjoyed a long and successful career as an Engineer, beginning shortly after he returned from serving in World War II.
In addition to the Award, the Hardings also gave $30,000 in 2010 to support the creation of the Women's Resource Centre at The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton. Yvonne passed away in 2010.
Matthew McCann is now reaching for a career in robotics. Read the full story of how the award inspired him, in the press release.