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'My Mining Tee' company aims to inspire youth to become miners – Sudbury.com

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A couple of well-known Sudburians are hoping the sale of t-shirts will help inspire area children to consider mining for a career.
Jeff Lafortune, a professor in the mining and technology program at Collège Boréal, has teamed up with Theresa Nyabeze, P.Eng., a senior mine engineer for Vale, to get the word out to area youngsters that a mining career can be exciting and rewarding.
Part of the deal involves the purchase of a t-shirt from a local business – My Mining Tee – Lafortune has set up with his son Connor Lafortune. One of the t-shirt lines they produce is called Sudbury Mining Camp.
The other part of the deal is that Nyabeze is the author of a children's book titled "Underground! My Mining Adventure.” 
For every Sudbury Mining Camp tee that is sold, the company will donate a copy of the mining book to a local elementary school.  
Nyabeze said she and Lafortune share the same concern about the difficulty in attracting more young people into the mining field. The story is about a 10-year-old girl who is introduced to the mining environment by her mother who takes her on a tour of a mine, where the mother works.
Although her book was first published in 2017, Nyabeze and Lafortune, a former hardrock miner, are hoping to renew interest in the book with the mining t-shirt campaign.   
Nyabeze cited her own experience going back to when she graduated from Marymount Academy in the 1990s. For a time, she said she was unsure of which career path to follow for university. She said there was information and encouragement for mainstream careers such as medicine and law, but Nyabeze said she was still uncertain.
Even when she finally decided on mining engineering, there was not a lot of information available. Nyabeze is hoping her book will change the minds of more children.   
"And I'm just the type of person who believes that, why not use your own experience to empower other people. And this book just seemed like a nice natural fit. It's a natural fit to give young people the advantage of studying to understand that there is another path in careers in mining. You know, there are other careers other than what we generally see as mainstream careers," Nyabeze said.
She said she is a strong advocate for seeing more young people, especially girls, pursuing a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. Still, Nyabeze said, there is a lack of knowledge about the existence of well-paying careers in mining. 
She added that the book continues to be relevant because it continues to provide interest to young people and normalize the idea that mining is a viable career choice.
About the Author: Len Gillis
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