The Science of Flight: APEGA’s Partnership with TELUS Spark

One thing Laurie Shinkaruk, the director of advancement at TELUS Spark, loves most about her job is how her dual passions—science and learning about engineering—intersect. At TELUS Spark, she watches as others discover those same things, gaining an appreciation for the role science plays in their everyday lives. 

“Passion for science starts at an early age, and the science centres in Alberta play a tremendous role in inspiring our youth to take our world to the next level,” Shinkaruk explains. “And now, especially within a pandemic, we can see the importance of science and its impacts on our world.

A partnership to explore the possibilities

To kick off our centennial in 2020, APEGA endeavoured to create legacy partnerships—long-term sponsorships that benefit and complement both parties. APEGA’s sponsorship program supports projects and organizations that match APEGA’s mandate of protecting Albertans and that further the professions of engineering and geoscience. APEGA began working with TELUS Spark in February 2020. 

APEGA’s partnership with Spark has allowed for the development of the Gadget program, which provides science guides at Spark with high-tech, engineered costumes to add delight for visitors. Rather inconspicuous at first glance, the costumes release a beautiful set of wings at the touch of a button by the wearer.

“Guests have received surprising welcomes from winged staff upon their arrival at the Spark lobby, with our team navigating all of Spark—including making appearances in our Brainasium outdoor playground—in these winged contraptions,” shares Shinkaruk.

Adding to the excitement is that no two sets of wings are the same—one set emulates the feathers of a red-tailed hawk and a second resembles a da Vinci design, one of the first sketches of human flight. A third set flaunts its flair and colour.

The wings were designed by Calgarian artist Kath Blair.

The excitement of spreading wings

Shinkaruk’s professional background includes working in the engineering faculties at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, so joining Spark’s team in September 2020 was a natural progression. She says engineering fits perfectly in science centres because it gives children of all ages imagination fuel—the marvel of what’s possible and the recognition of the ripple effect that stems from new ideas. 

TELUS Spark’s Gadget program is visible proof that imagination and science intertwine.  With APEGA’s partnership, Shinkaruk sees a bright future for the science and engineering professions in the province.

“APEGA’s commitment to science and engineering communication makes the partnership with Spark so exciting. We are excited to continue developing this roster of gadgets as well as excite people about the wonders of science through education."

Curious about other legacy partnerships?

Read about our exciting partnership with Canada Task Force 2.

The Canada Task Force 2 Partnership



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Laurie Shinkaruk headshot

Laurie Shinkaruk