From a small grassroots beginning, to the world-class organization MindFuel is today, these are some of the incredible people who have helped shape, influence and lead us to excellence in science learning and education.
James (Jim) Kenneth Gray O.C., A.O.E.
Founding and Honourary Chair, Science Alberta FoundationJim Gray’s foresight ignited the creation of Science Alberta Foundation. In 1989, he collected 22,000 signatures from Albertans to show support for the concept of a provincial network of science centres. Science Alberta was established in 1990, and the following year received $4 million for a 2-year pilot project from provincial and federal governments, and the private sector. The resulting emphasis on mobile, self-guided science programs proved successful and Jim Gray’s vision was fulfilled – every community in Alberta has access to quality science education.
Jim Gray co-founded Canadian Hunter Exploration Ltd. in 1973, and currently serves as Chair. He serves on the Board of Directors of many Canadian corporations, and in 2001, acted as the Chair of the Organizing Committee for the 16th World Petroleum Congress held in Calgary.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Jim Gray was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1991 by the University of Calgary, a Citation for Citizenship by the Government of Canada in 1992, and the Fellowship of Honour by the YMCA. In 1995, Jim Gray was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2001 was named Canadian Energy Person of the Year.
Founding Executive Director, Science Alberta Foundation
In 1990, Anne Tingle was the founding Executive Director of SAF. Serving for almost 10 years, Anne was instrumental in executing the mission set out by the board of directors to create a world-class organization that brought science to the people.
Over the course of her time at SAF, she spearheaded numerous programming initiatives including the first travelling exhibit, “The Body in the Library” a forensic science program. Due to high demand and circulation, the travelling exhibits program paved the way for future interactive exhibits. SAF’s very popular and innovative “Science-in-a-Crate” was launched in 1993 and became a teacher favourite in schools all across Alberta serving over 200 communities throughout the 1990s. The award winning “Aboriginal Ways of Knowing” was also introduced to acknowledge the traditional ways of understanding science in Aboriginal Culture. Then in 1999, under Anne’s lead and through collaboration with numerous stakeholders, SAF celebrated a decade of excellence, and the doors to the Alberta Science School opened. Over the course of Anne’s tenure, SAF started from a grassroots organization in its early days and grew in size to become a world-class organization that succeeded in supporting educators to inspire young minds and excite the inner curious scientist in all of us. To this day, MindFuel continues to Ignite Curiosity, Critical Thinking and Imagination, thanks to the ground work done by Ms. Anne Tingle.
Prior to co-founding Science Alberta Foundation, after completing university, Anne was a teacher in Coaldale and Calgary. She was a member of the provincial Home and School Association executive. After this Anne served for nine years as a trustee on the Calgary Board of Education, two terms as Chair of the Board. During this time she was a member of the Alberta School Trustees’ Association. In 1990 Anne was appointed Chair of Mount Royal College, where she served for more than six years, and following that she was appointed to the University of Calgary Board of Governors where she served for six years. Anne was a founding member of the Calgary Winning Women Groups which provided political skills training seminars and workshops for women interested in seeking public office. Anne also served on the board of The Calgary Foundation. Currently Anne serves on the board of CERA (Centre for Education Research Applications), is on the executive of the Calgary Women’s Literary Club (founded in 1906), and holds a leadership position in her Church’s women’s organization.
Thank you, Anne Tingle.
Dr. Arlene Ponting
President Emerita, MindFuel
Past CEO, Dr. Arlene Ponting, who successfully led SAF for thirteen years, was bestowed by the Board with the honourary title of President Emerita upon the appointment of Cassy Weber as CEO on November 1, 2012. Arlene and Cassy Weber collaborated until the end of 2012 to transition key business units’ management responsibilities.
Dr. Ponting grew SAF into a world-class organization. In 2012, SAF won a Webby Award for its animation on nanotechnology. The Webby is the leading international award honouring excellence on the internet including websites, interactive advertising and online film and video. SAF also won a 2011 Digital Alberta Award and was a finalist for a 2011 Alberta Science and Technology Leadership Foundation Award in Science Education and Awareness.
SAF has been recognized as a leading science promotion organization in Canada and is achieving its mission of encouraging youth to enter careers in science and technology and fostering a citizenry that can make informed decisions about science issues facing society.
Dr. Ponting has a B.Sc. (Hon) in Pharmacy and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Alberta. She serves on the National Science and Engineering Research Council and the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations.
Dr. Ponting received the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 in recognition of outstanding service to the people and the province of Alberta. She was selected by Alberta Venture as one of the top 50 influential people in Alberta in 2008 and was selected as one of the WXN 100 Most Powerful Women in 2009 and 2010.
Thank you, Arlene Ponting.