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Student Success Stories

Hear from students, in their own words, how our supporters are helping them realize their educational dreams.

Ashlee Pilon

I am entering my fourth year in the Accelerated Standing Track Nursing Program at Queen’s University. I have chosen to study Nursing not only because I want a career where I can help people, but also so that I can make a difference in the lives of others. Having a job that gives me the power to make someone’s experience, in such a vulnerable state, even just a little bit better, is an amazing opportunity. Additionally, I enjoy studying Nursing as it furthers my knowledge and understanding of the human body, a wide variety of disease processes, and how pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies can help heal those who are ill.

Shane Gordon

My name is Shane Gordon and I am from Inuvik, NT, Canada. I am an Inuvialuit status or Inuit. I am married just over 10 years. My wife and I have 4 children together. I have a YouTube Channel called Alaskan Assassin. I enjoy recording and editing videos. I am studying at Yukon College. I am in the Business Administration Program and I am in my third-year studying. I am hoping to receive my diploma in 2020.

Jody Turco

As a Métis woman who has worked with families for more than twenty-five years, I have had the privilege of working to assist families in working to better the lives of their children and the adults who care for them. Many of these years were with Alberta Health Services and early intervention, including high risk home visitation. Being welcomed into the homes and lives of these families has been a honor as we reach goals together while improving the tomorrows of children.

Jana Percival

My name is Jana Percival I am proud to be a Nisga’a citizen from the beautiful Nass Valley in British Columbia. Out of the 4 communities within the Nass Valley, I hail from the village of Gitlaxt’aamix. I come from the house of D’uuk wilps Gitwilnaak’il, and my family tribe is wolf (ksim laxgibuu niiy.) I am a continuing post-secondary student at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George B.C. I am in my final year with completing my Associates of Arts Degree in Aboriginal Studies.

Nicholas Flowers

My name is Nicholas Flowers and I am from Hopedale, Nunatsiavut. I am delighted to have been a recipient of the 2020 STEAM Horizon Award, and there is no doubt that this scholarship will greatly assist my future studies at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. Starting in the Fall of 2020, I will begin my studies for a Bachelor of Science at MUN as I attend a 4-year program of Environmental Science.

Serge Patenaude

First of all, I would like to say a big thank you for sponsoring my application. My name is Serge Patenaude a Métis student from the Georgian Bay Harvesting Area. I am currently going into my 4th year of university at the University of Ottawa, studying political science and communications. This money will help me because it will help cover my rent and groceries. I worked 2 jobs all of last year to make ends meet, and this money will help relieve some of that stress, which will let me commit extra time for studying.

Zachary Mandamin

I am writing to express my gratitude for making this award possible. I am an Anishinaabe student from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. I study at York University in Toronto, Ontario. I am pursuing an Honours degree in the Bachelor in Environmental Studies program and I will be starting my second year in the fall. After transferring from Seneca College, I am technically enrolling in third year courses and I will be adding a certificate in Sustainable Energy.

Marie Duquette

It is such a pleasure to receive this amazing award. I am currently a couple weeks away from graduating from a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph in Animal Biology. In September 2020 I will be starting in a 2-year diploma program for Protection, Security, & Investigations at Conestoga College in Kitchener. My hopes are to become an animal cruelty investigator or animal control officer.

Letitia Pokiak

I am Inuvialuit (Inuit) from the Western Arctic in the NWT, and in my second year of a 2 year Anthropology Program at the University of Victoria. Eventually when I have graduated, I hope that my MA Anthropology Degree will be an example and achievement for all Indigenous students, to portray that they too can attend post-secondary studies for the benefit of their home communities. I would like to work in policy development of as a consultant, in efforts to bridge the gap between Indigenous groups and organizations that consult with Indigenous groups, to great better understanding and establish meaningful relationships, in efforts to move forward in a good way.

Clayton Coutou

I’ve just received a bursary through Indspire that was made possible through your generous support. I’d like to extend my appreciation towards your effort to fund ingenious students in their pursuit of education, and to provide a bit of background for who you’ve sponsored. First, thank you! This award has made a positive impact on the financial situation of me and my wife, we’re incredibly grateful. I’m a second-year master’s student in experimental astro-particle physics at the University of Alberta (U of A), studying nuclear recoils; a process that describes how a particle scatters off nuclei without electromagnetic interactions. My research is in collaboration with PICO, an international group pushing the limit for direct detection of dark matter (non-luminous weakly interacting mass predicted to exist based on mounting evidence from observational astronomy).

Grace Racicot

Thank you so kindly for this generous award presented to myself, Grace Jane Racicot.  I am a full status member of Dokis First Nation, located in Monetville, ON.  I am a proud indigenous single woman,  who has been raised solely by my Mother. This award means so much to me, as it directly reflects on my own efforts within my education and plays a huge role in building my own future.  This generous award will enable me to provide the necessary financial means to engage more in depth in my program and purchase items that I would not be able to easily afford within my educational means. 

Jakob Keats

I am writing to say thank-you. I received great news recently that I will be receiving a bursary, Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures Bursary, made possible by Indigenous Services Canada. I am of Inuk ancestry and I was born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL and I wholeheartedly embrace my culture and truly love Labrador. I am currently enrolled in the Fire Rescue Program at the Marine Institute’s SERT (Safety and Emergency Response Training) Centre in Stephenville, NL.

Jen Pritchard

My name is Jen Pritchard and I want to thank you for your generous support and choosing myself as one of the recipients of the Indigenous Student with Dependent Children Bursary. As well as recognizing my strong academic performance and promise to my studies. The support will help my young growing family in many ways. I appreciate the support tremendously and cannot begin to thank you enough.

Darren Peter-Paul

I learnt a while back that small businesses make up 98% of Canada’s employer businesses. Around this exact same time I listened to a TED Talk by Shadeed Wallace Stepter called The New American Hustle. At minute 7:48 he said “ You see, I have come to believe that entrepreneurship is the vehicle that can allow all street hustlers to successfully transition out of the street life.” A lot of what he said I could relate to growing up on a reservation. At that moment I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I knew I wanted to consult for First nations businesses and startups.

Mishael Gordon

My name is Mishael Gordon, and I am currently studying for a master’s diploma in Indigenous Policy and Administration at Carleton University. I am currently doing this program part time and just began my 3rd course. I began this program in the summer institute of 2019. I live in Nunavut, and this scholarship helps to support my cost of tuition as I have to pay this out of my own pocket. As you may be aware, Nunavut is an expensive territory to reside in and this scholarship will help to cover the cost of the tuition for each course.

Maison Leitch

Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for your generous support. I will begin by sharing a little bit about myself: I am a Métis first-year medical student at the University of Alberta set to graduate in 2023. So far, the experience has been incredibly fulfilling. I love learning medicine and have been able to maintain a high standard of academic performance. I am involved as a member of the Indigenous Medical and Dental Student’s Association, and co-leader of the Medical Student’s Mountaineering Club. Staying physically active is important to me, so I make time for intramural volleyball, curling, weightlifting and the occasional ice climbing trip. 

Jerry Jonathan-Shawana

I would like to thank you for donating to me and my struggles through school.  I have been struggling to pay my bills lately and with all this craziness with the COVID-19.  My school has shut down most of my courses and I have only a few online classes.  I’m not sure how this year will turn out but it is a hell of a lot easier with your donation. 

Samuel Huyer

Your financial help has given me the opportunity to pursue my dream job of becoming an Indigenous Studies teacher. I am an urban Inuk from Gjoa Haven, Nunavut but have not been to my home community in years. I have been living most of my life in Nova Scotia and now reside in Peterborough, Ontario. Before I attended Trent University, I was a Combat Engineer with 4 Engineer Support Regiment located in Oromocto, New Brunswick. I served Canada for over six years because I believed I could help those who needed it most. Now you are helping me, and I am so very, very grateful for your generous contribution.

Mariah Mazer

I am a fourth-year, Métis nursing student at the University of Alberta. Caring for people is my passion and I am so grateful to have the opportunity pursue an education in a career that I love. I am especially passionate about using my personal experience and knowledge to address health disparities experienced by indigenous people. Indigenous people – especially women, experience significant disparities regarding their health. The life expectancy for Indigenous peoples is significantly shorter than non-indigenous peoples. This statistic is unacceptable.

Sandra MacLean

My heart is so full of gratitude for the support that I have been shown financially as I take this journey toward earning my Master of Social Work degree from Memorial University (on-line). I am a full-time student and I am very proud of my progress; at this time, I have completed two semesters and a total of 6 courses. I truly want to begin by saying nakurmiik which means thank-you in the Inuktitut language.

Miranda Berard

I would like to express my gratitude for your generous donation to Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards program. Your contribution plays a huge role in the steps it takes for students like myself to pursue our dreams.  I am currently studying at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley, BC, in the Kwantlen First Nations territory.  It is my second year as a music student at Kwantlen, and I plan to continue my studies to receive a Bachelor of Music. I study both classical and jazz music, and my primary instrument is the double bass. Upon completion of the degree, I plan to attend UBC for their Elementary School PDP Program, to become an elementary school music teacher.

Alexandre Ross

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for making Royal Architecture Institute of Canada bursary possible. I am overjoyed to be the recipient of your bursary and I am deeply appreciative of your support. I am currently finishing my final year in the Masters of Architecture at the Université de Montréal. I have found the program challenging but very exciting and rewarding. My first year was especially hard transitioning from an English school to a French school while being alone in a new city. Now, nearing the end of my program, I’ve adjusted and I am looking forward to using both languages while working in Montréal. When I graduate with my masters in architecture I intend to tackle the big questions our society faces. I plan on being part of the change that will benefit the environment and our community. 

Caden Chabot

I am writing to thank you for your generous sponsorship of my Indspire Bursary. I was very happy to learn that I received this bursary and I want to express my sincere gratitude to you.

To provide some background about myself, I have just completed my second year of the Computer Science Honours program at the University of Manitoba. I am very dedicated to my studies and have been quite successful so far, having been on the Dean’s Honour list every term and being a President’s Scholar. I am currently working at Manitoba Hydro, developing software to facilitate power systems studies. I am also currently in the process of applying to the Computer Science Co-op Program which involved three four month work terms in the industry before I graduate. The program starts next year and I am very excited for the opportunity to continue applying my learning and to gain valuable experience.

Cassandra Coman

Today I received wonderful news from Indspire saying I am a successful applicant for the 2018-2019 school year, thanks to you.

My name is Cassandra Coman; I am a 22-year-old Inuk from Iqaluit, Nunavut. I am currently studying at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. It is my second year in my Bachelor of Arts Law Program, with a minor in Indigenous Studies. I am coming close to completing my four-year program, and afterwards I wish to attend more school. I hope to attend the University of Ottawa for law school since I am familiar with the Ottawa area already. In the far future, I aspire to open the first Inuit owned and operated law firm, in either Ottawa or Iqaluit to give my fellow community members legal advice and aid.

Charlene Menacho

Charlene Menacho

Dear Sponsor of the Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards:

My name is Charlene Menacho. I am Dene from Tulita, Denedeh (Northwest Territories). I am currently enrolled in the two-year diploma Indigenous Studies program at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia. I am currently in my second year and will be graduating in June 2019. I would like to say mahsi cho (thank you) for your generous financial support, this is helpful in ensuring that my family and I’s needs are met while I attend college full-time. This will help with groceries, after-school care, and other living expenses which allows me to feel at ease to continue on my education journey without any worries.

Crysta Perak

Crysta Perak

My name is Crysta Perak and my background is of Inuit (Iqaluit) and Croatian descent. I was born in New Brunswick. I moved to Vancouver in 2010, temporarily for my studies, but I never left. I wanted to thank you for reaching out to me and supporting me through my studies.

I am currently in my 4th year of a Bachelor of Motion Picture Arts at Capilano University’s North Vancouver campus in British Columbia. It has been hard for me to get this far and be the first generation of both my family to acquiring higher education. I’m not shy to say my father is very proud of my accomplishments, and I must say I am too.

Kyle Aitchison

Dear sponsor of Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards,

My name is Kyle Aitchison and I am 24 years of age. I come from a small community located in the Northern region of Quebec called Kuujjuaq. Last year, I graduated as an Engineering Technician out of John Abbott College and this is something I am extremely proud of. Now I am studying in my first year of Civil Engineering at Concordia University in Montreal and so far, I am enjoying it very much.

Lacey Lizotte

Lacey Lizotte

Thank you so much for your contribution to Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships & Awards Program. I am extremely grateful to be chosen as a recipient of this award, as it will contribute to my successful completion of the Licensed Practical Nursing Program that I am currently enrolled in at Northern Lakes College. I am in my first year of the program and hope to graduate as a Practical Nurse in May 2020. I live in Fort Vermilion, which is a remote Metis community in Northern Alberta. Upon completion of my program I plan to use my training to provide healthcare to those who don’t have regular access to the resources and services that they need, such as our First Nations communities on isolated reserves. I do plan to eventually further my studies and specialize in midwifery, but we will see what the future holds.

Quinn Meawasige

Quinn Meawasige

I would first like to start by introducing myself. My name is Quinn Meawasige, I am 24 years young and am an Anishinaabe from Serpent River First Nation which is located along the North Shore of Lake Huron. My community is a signatory to the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850. Currently, I am living in Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie ON.) while I study at Algoma University. I am enrolled in the Community Economic and Social Development 4-year Honours program and have just completed my third year of my four year program. I am also working towards an Anishinaabemowin Language Certificate from Shingwauk Kinomaage Gamig, which is a sister institution of Algoma University. 

Sophia Elliott

Sophia Elliott

My name is Sophia Elliott and I am a member of the Cowichan Tribes located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I’m currently a third year student at Vancouver Island University majoring in Indigenous and Xwulmuxw Mustimuxw (First Nations People) studies. Last year was my first year back from academic suspension but despite my performance in the past I obtained a 4.02 GPA for the fall, spring and summer semesters. With awards such as this I feel very proud of my accomplishments and feel that I can continue to strive for academic success without the additional stress of financial burden.