Student Stories

Inspiring success stories about out how Indspire has helped Indigenous students reach their full potential.


Kristin Aimoe

Kristin AimoeKristin Aimoe, a single mother, shares her story of pursuing a career in occupational health and safety with the support of Indspire. Kristen received two bursaries from Indspire over the course of her studies. She successfully completed the Occupational Health and Safety Certificate program at the University of Alberta in April 2012, then went on to achieve her National Construction Safety Officer designation.

How important was receiving funding from Indspire?
I had recently been laid off of work and spent the past 8 months trying to accommodate my work duties as a full time health and safety coordinator and attending post secondary schooling during the nights and weekends to “formalize” my career. Though I’ve welcomed challenges that arise when raising a child alone as a blessing, real life setbacks still occur. Indspire’s awards were very influential factors to the success of my past and current studies.

What challenges did you face during your studies?
The biggest challenge I faced during my studies was coordinating childcare and being able to afford the associated costs.

Have you found a job related to the schooling you just completed?
I have been fortunate to have found an amazing employer and team at SafeTech Consulting Group Ltd., a company that assists organizations with the development, maintenance, and management of their health and safety systems.

Any final words?
Thank you for supporting my journey and career aspirations!



for-parents-family-and-friends-1-smMy name is Carl. I was born to a Métis mother and Romanian father. I grew up in poverty and experienced more racism than I would like to remember. My 11 brothers and sisters and I were raised in Winnipeg’s North End. My parents were divorced by the time I was 3 years old. I bounced back and forth between the two homes of my parents and changed schools over ten times. I could have used some stability at that time in my life.

I believe the experiences I endured during those days were the ones that shaped the core of the man that I am today, and fuelled my passion to improve myself. When I was a teen, my oldest sister Amber began to connect with our Indigenous heritage, and she inspired me to join her. My life changed forever. I realized that my calling was to integrate Indigenous culture with my education and work to revitalize my community.

Today, I am a father of 3, with a 3.63 GPA, and I am working on completing my Honours Degree in Arts with Indigenous and Urban and Inner City Studies majors.

Indspire, thank you for believing in me. Your support has allowed me to make my dreams a reality.


My name is Daniel. I am an Inuk of Nunatsiavut (Labrador). This is my story about how Indspire changed my life.

In the summer of 2010, after graduating from Memorial University of Newfoundland, I was admitted into Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Excited for the future, my fiancée and I packed our belongings in a U-Haul trailer in St. John’s and headed for Ontario. About halfway there, I received an unexpected email: I would not receive funding from the Nunatsiavut Government’s education program for the coming year. This was devastating news as student loans would not even cover half of my tuition. Upon arriving in Toronto, I contemplated packing everything up and returning home to seek employment. My law career was nearly over before it started.

Later that summer, I learned that I had been successful in my Indspire application. The bursary made up the monetary shortfall for the coming year, and I knew then I could start my first year of law school. I have since completed law school, been called to the bar, and I am practicing law.

Indspire had a huge part to play in this, no doubt. For me, Indspire’s support was the difference between a life-changing career path and the status quo. Very few organizations, I’m sure, can have this type of impact, so thank you!

rebecka_jpgMy name is Rebecka. I am from the Ojibway Nation of Aundeck Omni Kaning, Ontario. I attended elementary and high school off-reserve.

I am studying to become a social worker at Sir Sanford Flemming College. Eventually, I want to move back to my community. Social work is a great way to give back to my community and to aid in educating future generations through being a positive community role model. What led me to the field of social work was the inspiration of my grandmother who raised me. She has nine children and is a residential school survivor. She graduated from college at the age of 50. She instilled in me a strong sense of self through her love, care, and dedication.

Challenges that I have experienced include stereotypes and assumptions about being an Indigenous person. Teachers in off-reserve schools assumed I had a learning disability because I learned in a different way than my non-Indigenous classmates. I experienced racism from some of my classmates who didn’t want to be my friend because they didn’t understand me or my culture. I had to educate my classmates and teachers about the realities that my people face.

What has helped me stay committed to my studies is the motivation I get from my grandmother. I wish to be a positive role model like her, teaching children the importance of education and resiliency.

lynn-kilabukLynn Kilabuk has a passion for helping children. Her dream to become a teacher is now within reach as she is completing a Bachelor of Education program at Nunavut Arctic College. “I chose to study teaching because I want to help build my community and be a great leader. I have always worked around children and knew it was a career for me. There is a high rate of dropouts in our high school and I believe introducing new programs and activities can enhance the child’s possibilities for the future.”

tyson-bullTyson Bull is in the Juris Doctor program at the University of Saskatchewan and shares some inspiring words on perseverance. “My dream is to become either a Crown prosecutor or a criminal defence lawyer. In becoming a lawyer I hope to serve as an example to other young Métis and Aboriginal people that higher education and academic achievement is possible. This past year was the hardest I’d ever worked at anything. All my life I have been so afraid of failure that I’d never really tried to do anything challenging. I know it sounds cliché, but this year I discovered that if I put in the effort, I can do better than I ever dreamed possible.”
braddon-tailbossiBraddon Taibossigai, who is currently completing the Welding program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, encourages other Indigenous students to take up a trade. “I am a journeyman welder (Red Seal) and have been in the trade since the summer of 2003. I love what I do and enjoy the work a lot. In today’s world, a trade can take you a long way. It is fun and a fantastic way of meeting new people to work with.”
doreen-saulisIn her final year of a two-year Master of Education program at the University of New Brunswick, Doreen Saulis wants to contribute to a broader understanding of how Aboriginal literacy has an impact on the social, economic, health and spiritual aspects of Aboriginal people. “I want to focus on how it impacts our capacity to pursue and be successful within employment, training, education and the broader learning agenda. My focus is on a holistic perspective of Aboriginal literacy.”
tommy-moarTommy Moar is in his final year of a three year Bachelor of Arts in a Social Communication program at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. “I am eager to finish my studies to be able to do my part to inform people so they better understand the stakes for us. That is my motivation, my expectations and my dreams in terms of my studies. I want to work for the Atikametkw Nation Council, because I believe that is where I will be able to make a difference.”
willow-thicksonWillow Thickson, a Human Kinetics in Kinesiology student at the University of British Columbia has set her sights on becoming a leader in the health field. “The more I understand how important physical activity, nutrition, and health is for me, the more I want to know how to inform others. I have started spreading my knowledge to my sister, who like a lot of Aboriginals, has diabetes. After realizing that not only do Aboriginals as a Nation have large problem with overall health issues, they also have a lack of health leaders. I hope one day that will be me.”
parry-burnstickAs the recipient of an Oil and Gas Trades and Technology bursary, Parry Burnstick recently completed his Period 1 Ironworker program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. “I chose ironworking as my trade and I love it. The thing I find most rewarding is knowing that my handywork will still be standing long after I’m gone. Just think that a young man, 26 years old, from a small reserve is building huge things! I’d love to see more Indigenous youth doing what I do and enjoying it as much as I do.”
bayli-sinclairBaylie Sinclair’s patience and perseverance in completing a five year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program at the University of Saskatchewan will be for the benefit of her clients. “Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals which is very appealing to me. I find that I can form relationships with patients and enhance their quality of life whether they are suffering from acute or chronic conditions. I feel my personal attributes of patience, problem solving skills, communication skills, and gentle nature would be a great benefit for my pharmacy career.”
desiree-pachikowDesiree Pachkowski, an honour student in the University of Manitoba’s Bachelor of Commerce program has a fierce drive to succeed. “I have chosen to pursue my education in Business to better myself and my community. My upbringing has inspired me to rise above my circumstances and pursue a higher education while staying connected to my community. My own difficulties experienced in overcoming obstacles to achieve my dreams have naturally compelled me to assist others experiencing similar situations.”
tyler-ayersAn honour student and a determined young man, Tyler Ayers is completing his Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Electrical) program at the University of Saskatchewan. “I have always been taught that with hard work and dedication to the project at hand, any goal can be reached. I have been challenged in many areas, from academic to moving away from home. I believe that I have risen to these challenges and have learned new things as well as gained knowledge from my experiences at university.”
adam-russelAdam Russell wants to become a chiropractor so that he can provide health care to the people of his community. “With the support I have been given from Indspire, as well as my family, friends and community, it is my dream to open a wellness centre and offer affordable health care to everyone. It is my lifelong goal to give back to the community that has helped me every step of the way.” Russell is halfway to reaching his goal of completing a four year Doctor of Chiropractic program at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.
jodi-lyn-raskJodi-Lyn Rask, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Grant MacEwan University believes in social justice. “Every human being should have fair access to housing, education, clean drinking water, and a health care system that is accessible regardless of location or race. As a nurse, I hope to be able to provide some of these services to help better the lives and health of the Aboriginal population and to help empower and educate all women who experience racial oppression so that both they and their children have the potential to experience a healthy life.”