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December 16, 2021
Part of Animikii’s social impact mission is empowering the next generation of Indigenous changemakers in tech. In 2015, we launched our Technology and Entrepreneurship Scholarships for Indigenous Youth. These scholarships provide $500 in funding to each recipient for books, tuition, or supplies for post-secondary education.
Learn more about the 2021 Technology and Entrepreneurship scholarship winners below!
Technology Scholarship winner Jaden McGregor, whose traditional name is Wasseyaa Giiwe Nibin, is in his first year of studies in the Geography and Aviation program at the University of Waterloo. Jaden is from Manitoulin Island in Ontario and says he has always had a passion for exploring and experiencing the world.
Jaden’s program is a unique blend of classroom geography instruction and hands-on aviation instruction. By the time he is finished, he will log over 200 flight hours and acquire his Commercial Pilot’s licence.
His studies in Geography remind him that the world is incredibly connected while learning how to fly a plane is a reminder that even with technologies that make a pilot’s job much safer, there are still a lot of time-intensive skills that go into learning how to fly.
Inspiration to excel in his program comes from his family. “They’ve always pushed me to do things,” he says. “Whatever I did, they were always there to support me and inspire me.” He also mentions that Waterloo’s Indigenous Centre helps keep him grounded and gives him a sense of home during the more stressful periods of his studying.
We are looking forward to Jaden’s continued growth and learning. “I [want] to help inspire other Indigenous youth to join the aviation centre and help other Indigenous communities that don’t have access to reliable transportation,” he says when asked about what excites him about his studies.
Our Entrepreneurship Scholarship winner is Shannon Bear from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. Shannon is in her second year of the Masters in Developmental Practice program at the University of Winnipeg. This unique program focuses on how Indigenous knowledge and experience can help shape a sustainable path for development, rooted in culture and identity.
Shannon says that education has always been a priority in her family, and she is proudly the first child in her family to go to University. She has always had a desire to work with youth and is inspired to complete her Masters degree to create better on-reserve education in her career as a teacher.
“I wanted to further my education to see how I can bring resources and access resources within the reserve for youth,” she says. She mentions that she wants to be able to access better funding and opportunities for youth engagement programs.
Shannon already has a Bachelor of Arts degree and an Education degree and has spent time working as a teacher and educational assistant. “I love that feeling when students feel they are able to put pieces together on their own from conversations and things we cover in class,” she says.
Shannon received a lot of inspiration and support from her parents and husband, who she says encouraged her to pursue as much educational experience as possible, and to make change in her community.
“I was a child growing up in a reserve that was full of love, community, safety. It’s a beautiful place to grow up,” she says, referring to her experience in Peguis First Nation. Leaving the community to study was a new experience, and she began learning more about systematic racism and the political, social, and economic history of Indigenous communities.
She learned more about residential schools and other difficult topics, and this led her to think about how to bring conversation and awareness back home to break cycles and help the healing process. “I was asking myself these questions and thinking there’s gotta be a reason that I am learning this. There’s gotta be a role that I have to play within this process.”
We are excited to witness Shannon’s growth as a leader in education in her community and beyond.
Do you think you know someone who could be a candidate for our next round of scholarships in technology and entrepreneurship?
Point them to our scholarship application page. We accept applications throughout the year, with a deadline of October 31st and award winners selected on November 30th of every year.
Read our blog post on what makes a great scholarship application for some pointers on putting your best foot forward while applying for this and other awards.
December 16, 2021
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