I am Alberta Metis but moved to Vancouver at 17 to pursue my degree in oceanography at UBC. I have always been interested in ocean science since I was young and although moving to Vancouver from rural Alberta alone as a teenager was challenging, the funding that I got from MNBC for my 3&4 year of undergrad meant I didn’t have to work part-time. This allowed me to focus on exploring my interests and volunteer, then I eventually got into research and published as an undergrad. This freedom would not have been possible if I didn’t have the financial freedom that MNBC awarded me.
I pursued an MSc after graduating, focussing on jellyfish ecology (youtu.be/TFYLaz7z2To) and I successfully defended my thesis in August 2021. During the 3 years of my MSc, I was involved in a lot of Indigenous youth science outreach in the Arctic (vimeo.com/549294299), I was chosen for an international UBC advertisement campaign (ourpotential.ca/clean-oceans/), and I’ve done many radio and TV interviews talking about my research with Global BC, Radio Canada, and other major networks. I also received an Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship from UBC to fund my research, owing to the experience I was able to get during my undergrad, which made my application competitive. I have created partnerships with NSERC, Connected North, and Student on Ice to do outreach for Indigenous youth across Canada in addition to supporting other Indigenous students at UBC through mentorship programs, tutoring, and a local chapter of AISES (aises.org).
I was recently awarded a $150,000 scholarship for my PhD beginning in January 2022 (bit.ly/3CBlGJq) and I am working with the Canadian Coast Guard as an analyst in the meantime. I don’t think any of this would have started without that initial leap that I took during my undergrad.