The Imhotep’s Legacy Academy (ILA) is in its 20th year of operation and on Saturday, May 13, 2023, we held our 20th Youth Excellence Awards Ceremony (formerly closing ceremony) to celebrate our program participants, university-student Mentors/Tutors, funders, and supporters as we have done annually. The event was attended by parents, students, academics, and various community members.

The theme for this year’s event was Reset and Launch!  The ceremony showcased the contributions of international science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals and also highlighted the STEM program activities conducted by ILA for learners of African heritage. ILA Program Director, Mr. Asher Trim-Gaskin gave the welcoming remarks (Click to see Video).

The guest speaker for this year’s Youth Excellence Awards was Dr. Camille Wardrop Alleyne who presented her experiences through academia and their journey to a successful career. She was introduced by the Deputy US Consul General to Halifax Mr. Daniel Bingham-Pankratz.

Dr. Camille Wardrop Alleyne is an American aerospace executive, rocket engineer, space scientist, internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, educational leader and science ambassador whose accomplishments in the field of space exploration have been extraordinary. In the highly technical fields of science and engineering where women are underrepresented, she is one of the most recognized in aerospace engineering and one of the few women of color to serve in a senior leadership position at NASA.

Dr. Alleyne has had a 28-year career advancing the areas of aerospace and space technology development at NASA. She is a leading architect in the commercialization of space, enabling space economies in low earth orbit and on the moon and is the first African American to lead a major human space flight program at NASA. She is also an expert in the areas of space, science and technology application for sustainable development, specifically focused on developing countries.

Dr. Alleyne is renowned for her work on global STEM education for girls, which she does through The Brightest Stars Foundation founded in 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Howard University, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Florida A&M University, a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the
University of Houston.  Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Alleyne is a licensed Private Pilot whose accomplishments include being a Finalist in NASA Astronaut
Selection Program.

We also recognized the sponsors, donors and supporters that make our programming possible. This year’s event was sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)’s Science Odyssey.

We were honored to have opening remarks delivered by MLA Ali Duale ; as well as Mr. Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Mr. Ali Duale
Mr. Ali DualeMLA for Halifax Armdale
Mr. Andy Fillmore
Mr. Andy FillmoreMember of Parliament, Halifax

Award and scholarship recipients were announced [PDF 278kB] (awards were distributed by mail):

Student of the Year Awards
Awarded to students with exceptional participation in ILA program activities, (i.e., After-School Program, FIRST LEGO League Program, ILA Coding Program, Virtual School Program).

Assessment Criteria:
– Student must be nominated by ILA Program Staff
– Strong program attendance and participation
– Demonstrated commitment to program activities
– Demonstrated strong interest in STEM subjects (Sciences, Mathematics)
– Strong academic student

ILA-TD Opportunity Scholarships
A four-year renewable scholarship valued at up to $5,000/yr, for secondary school students with demonstrated academic accomplishment and STEM-study potential.  Scholarships are tenable toward a STEM-related program of study at Dalhousie University, Halifax.

Assessment Criteria:
– Strong program attendance
– Demonstrated commitment to program activities
– Demonstrated strong interest in STEM subjects (Sciences, Mathematics)
– Strong academic student

Summer Student Research Scholarships (SSRS) and Medical Studentships
These $6,500 SSRS scholarships are awarded to students of African heritage enrolled in full-time studies in computer science, engineering, health, or science. These scholarships provide students with computer science, engineering, health, and science-related research experience over the summer months.

Assessment Criteria:
– Enrolled in an undergraduate STEM program at a post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia.
– Preference will be given to applicants who have participated, or intend to participate, in the Imhotep’s Legacy Academy.
– Selection is based on a combination of academic performance (50%), research ability (30%) and leadership/community involvement   (20%).
– Cumulative GPA at the time of application in a computer science, engineering, health, or science program of study of at least 3.0 is required.
– Students must conduct their research under the guidance of a Dalhousie University faculty member

These $5,000 medical studentships are awarded to undergraduate students of African heritage who are confident that medical research will be part of their professional careers.  The goal of this studentship is to increase the number of African Nova Scotians in medicine by providing medically related research experience.

Assessment Criteria:
– Enrolled at Dalhousie University and completed at least 2 years of an undergraduate program;
– Member of African Nova Scotian community or African Canadian;
– Demonstrate a serious interest in a future career in medicine or medical research;
– Quality of the student (research experience, skills, fit to the project);
– Potential contributions of the students