Carissa Goulard

Carissa Goulard was on her way home last August, worrying about how her family was going to manage the year ahead. When she made the decision to go back to school, finances weren’t a concern but the downturn in the oil and gas industry meant her husband’s income wasn’t what it used to be, plus they now had the added expense of full-time child care for their two small children.

But a phone call from Medicine Hat College changed everything. Goulard was told she had won a full-ride scholarship courtesy of CF Industries. The scholarship, valued at $20,000, is awarded every two years to a member of an underrepresented group who is pursuing a career in power engineering. 

“We’re a huge advocate of equality and diversity in the workplace and also a passionate supporter of further education – which is why this partnership was such a great match,” said Michele Amos, human resources manager at CF.

It’s a partnership that opens doors and changes lives.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” recalled Goulard, when she heard the news she thought too good to be true. But then she received the email confirmation from MHC’s financial aid office and her worries began to fade.

Goulard, a journeyman tile setter for 10 years, was looking for a new career path after the birth of her first child. The long days and physical nature of her job were not what she wanted as a new mom. An acquaintance mentioned the power engineering technology program at MHC and her decision was made.

It’s been a challenge for her growing family, especially because her husband works out of town, but they are adjusting.

“Things are busy, juggling classes during the day, labs in the evening, and time with the kids,” said Goulard, whose children are ages three and one.

“But I know I’ve made the right choice.”

She recently completed a placement at CF where she worked with many of MHC’s power engineering technology graduates who were very helpful and eager to share their knowledge. The experience provided Goulard with the opportunity to work on all four shifts and gain understanding of the entire operation.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity. Without the CF scholarship, this year would have been really difficult. There’s not a lot of time left over at the end of the day and I’m happy that I can spend that time with my family and not have to worry about working.”