While the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) has provided mentorship to Indigenous students in Saskatoon and northern communities in the past, it’s now partnering with the University of Regina to bring its program to the Queen City.
On National Indigenous Peoples Day, the SRC announced the expansion of its Aboriginal Mentorship Program.
The program pairs First Nations, Inuit and Métis post-secondary students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with a mentor in their field and provides internship opportunities.
“Indigenous participation in STEM professions has traditionally been low and we felt as a science and technology company, we could help reverse that trend and promote more participation,” said Craig Murray, vice-president of mining and minerals with SRC.
Murray has been involved with the program from its early stages, even before the official launch four years ago.
That first year, one student was involved. This year, seven students are enrolled with three being from Regina.
Chennoa Tracey is Métis and took part in the program last summer as an industrial engineering student.
“It’s very valuable for someone who can’t get a summer job in their field regularly because they’re hard to find,” said Tracey, who now works at SRC.
She said the mentorship program allowed her to get her foot through the door at the SRC along with other companies.
Tracey added the experience also brought her closer to other Indigenous students.
“It helps me connect with other Indigenous cultures because there’s a lot of Indigenous culture, but we’re not always the same, so it’s nice to learn more about each other through our relationships.”
Members from the U of R, SRC and Gabriel Dumont Institute signed memorandum of understandings to further their partnerships as well.