For Trudy Lionel, who recently retired after a successful and satisfying career in the chemical sciences, the most promising way to augment that experience has been the prospect of helping others start their own career in the field. She has directed funds to build a program that supports high school students proceeding to study chemistry, chemical engineering, or biochemistry in a Canadian post-secondary institution. Named the Lionel High School Scholarship, it is administered by the Chemical Institute of Canada and began in 2016.

Trudy Lionel

“As a member of the American Chemical Society, I know of their programs to encourage students to become chemists, regardless of economic or social disadvantages,” she says. “I wanted to see that offered in Canada as well.”

Lionel now lives in San Francisco, where she worked for some of the biggest players in the high-tech community, including Hewlett Packard, Genentech, and Bayer. “My other passion is to let people in academia know about the opportunities that are out there for students,” she explains. “The kinds of programs where people can go and do an internship in industry are invaluable.”

As a start in this direction, the Lionel Scholarship provides a winning student, one who would not otherwise be able to attend without significant financial assistance, with $4,000 annually throughout a four-year undergraduate degree. That made a huge difference to 2017 recipient Dylan Brine, who had been faced with some hard numbers when he thought about financing his post-secondary education.

“It was an opportunity, because I’ve been tight on money,” says Brine, who is studying computational chemistry at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s. “It was a worry in my Grade 12 year, trying to think of how I was going to get enough money, since a lot of the time student loans don’t cover your full costs. It put me in the situation where I could have this ease of mind and know I could pay for this in the fall.”

Brine also shares a key inspiration with Lionel: an outstanding Grade 11 teacher who instilled in both of them a love of chemistry. In Brine’s case it was Shelley Gingras, who taught him at Harrison Trimble High School in Moncton, NB. Her well stocked Web site, Mrs. Gingras’ Chemistry Page testifies to how seriously she takes the task of turning students on to this subject.

“She went above and beyond what the curriculum taught, so I was really well prepared going into university, too,” recalls Brine. “She taught you to work hard and she taught you how to work in university.”

Details of the Lionel Scholarship, including eligibility requirements, can be found at https://www.cheminst.ca/lionel-scholarship.