“Never let cerebral palsy stop you from anything.” – Amanda Albers
“Never let cerebral palsy stop you from anything; nothing is impossible and there are always ways for you to overcome difficult obstacles that your disability may challenge you with,” says Amanda Albers, third-year electrical engineering student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Amanda’s studies are supported by a Tanabe Bursary from the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC, which are awarded annually to BC students living with cerebral palsy.
Albers was always interested in making a difference in the world by innovating efficient and green ways to provide energy for the world, and by being a mechanical engineer she can accomplish that.
“It aids my future goals as I intend on innovating and creating new sustainable ideas for certain natural resources,” she says. She notes that an engineer with a physical disability can always branch out into engineering careers that allow for inventiveness and creativity, rather than physically manoeuvring and developing equipment, robots and machines. This view is supported by another CPABC Tanabe Bursary recipient, Julia Halipchuck, who is now a professional engineer. Like Albers, she was always interested in buildings and architecture and thought structural engineering would allow her to work in the field and learn the technical side of making buildings work. Julia says she has found her career experience to be very positive and rewarding, with lots of support from her colleagues. “I have adapted how I prepare design packages or get around to different construction sites and do my reviews there,” she says.
Despite living with cerebral palsy and being young women in a predominantly male-oriented profession, Halipchuk and Albers look forward to being innovators and having an impact in the engineering field by changing how structures are looked at and the environmental footprint they are creating.
I am just so thankful for receiving this bursary,” said Albers. “I never knew that having cerebral palsy would be an advantage for me.”
Nineteen-year-old Amanda Albers is encouraged in her dreams by her father, a mechanical engineer who is very persistent and goal-oriented, and she tries to emulate these characteristics. He supported Amanda in her high school courses and she sees him as a motivating factor in her personal development.
She has faced challenges in her first year of university, such as the increased workload, being away from home and having to make new friends, but she persevered and has done extremely well.
“I am just so thankful for receiving this bursary,” said Albers. “I never knew that having cerebral palsy would be an advantage for me, but the CPABC bursary allows fellow CP students a sense of enjoyment and gives them an advantage for having a disability.”
The Tanabe Bursary aided her by providing support for her tuition and textbook fees. In addition, it taught her to be fiscally responsible by keeping a budget and allowed her to focus on her schooling.
Since 1994, CPABC has awarded an average of 11 educational bursaries per year to students living with cerebral palsy who want to pursue post-secondary education and achieve their dreams. Albers is certainly on her way to achieving that goal.