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Indigenous students recognized with achievement awards

Posted on 2020-02-11 in Students & Campus Life, Indigenous

Students from across the University of Saskatchewan were recognized at a ceremony at the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre during Indigenous Achievement Week on Feb. 6, 2020. (Photo: David Stobbe)

As part of Indigenous Achievement Week at the University of Saskatchewan, students from across campus were honoured with Indigenous Student Achievement Awards on Feb. 6.

Eighteen undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Arts and Science were among those recognized at the 2020 awards ceremony held at the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre.

The Indigenous Student Achievement Awards honour Indigenous students who have excelled in their studies, undertaken unique or compelling research, made significant contributions to the community or demonstrated leadership.

2020 Indigenous Student Achievement Award Winners—College of Arts and Science


Paydahbin Aby-Hester

Academic Excellence Award
T’it’q’et First Nation, B.C.

In her “Introduction to Biology" course, Paydahbin demonstrated intelligence, hard work and commitment. She actively took on a leadership role through leading jigsaw activities and encouraging her classmates to seize the opportunity to lead themselves. She contributed to all case studies, playing an active role in group activities and class discussion.

Jerilyn Alderman-Hansson

Leadership Award
Saskatoon, Sask.

In her "Women Writers and Activism" seminar, Jerilyn exemplified extraordinary relational leadership. She added a new dimension to class discussion and has provided a community of transformative learning through voicing her opinions and asking critical and incisive questions. She models anger and frustration, as well as humour and collaboration.

Christy Anderson

Academic Excellence Award
Pinaymootang First Nation

Christy is a first-year PhD student in Indigenous studies. She is a member of the Pinaymootang First Nation in Treaty 2 Territory. She achieved first-class standing in her master’s degree and has been excelling in her PhD coursework since beginning at the University of Saskatchewan. Her PhD research will make significant contributions and advance knowledge in various fields, such as Indigenous studies, women’s and gender studies, criminology and socio-legal studies. Further contributions will include resources directed at policy change and community-based empowerment.

John Bird
History PhD student John Bird holds his award plaque. (Photo: David Stobbe)

John Bird

Leadership Award
Peguis First Nation

In 2017, John earned his Master of Arts in history. The resulting project focused on Anishinaabe celebrity author George Copway’s engagement with newcomer culture and it went on to win a Graduate Thesis Award. He is now completing a PhD in history, with his dissertation exploring ways the nineteenth-century Anishinaabeg remembered and told their histories. John has also served as a student advisor at USask, and as a research assistant on various projects including the VP Indigenous Engagement’s work with the local community to develop an Indigenous engagement strategy.

Travis Black

Academic Excellence Award
Saskatoon, Sask.

Travis is a fourth-year student in the interdisciplinary honours program of mathematical physics. He maintains a superior average of 91 per cent in his major. In addition to his excellent performance in a challenging combination of mathematics and physics courses, Travis volunteers weekly at Gabriel Dumont Institute as a mathematics and physics tutor. He is respected amongst his peers and participates enthusiastically in activities of the Mathematics Student Society, MS^3.

Sarah Blom

Leadership Award
Métis

Sarah is a fifth-year history honours student, minoring in math, with plans to pursue an education degree. She has been actively involved in the Newman Sounds Glee Club and the Newman Centre Executive since her first year.  As a glee club member, she sings second soprano, and as a member of the Newman Centre, she helps plan different events such as the centre’s annual retreat. Her leadership has noticeably enriched the life of the St. Thomas More College community.

Kate Boyer
Kate Boyer received an Academic Excellence Award. (Photo: Carey Shaw)

Kate Boyer

Academic Excellence Award
Métis

Kate is culturally and academically talented; she is known for her commitment and ambition towards her Métis citizenship. She is artistically talented, an athlete and she is extremely gregarious. Kate is dedicated to life-long learning and strives for excellence in all that she does.

Bailee Brewster

Academic Excellence Award
Métis

Bailee is a third-year student in the College of Arts and Science. She plans to pursue law at the University of Saskatchewan next fall, after completing her three-year psychology degree. She is a Métis woman who plans to study Aboriginal law and family law and to further educate herself on the beliefs and practices of her culture. Bailee excels academically, having obtained the highest average among St. Thomas More College’s Indigenous student body.

Lorin Gardypie

Academic Excellence Award
Saskatoon, Sask.

Lorin has a drive to acquire knowledge and compare it to his Indigenous worldview. He is a quiet leader with a humble presence that leads others to listen respectfully and attentively. Lorin is a natural storyteller who predicates his questions by relating stories based on his oral cultural skills and is infused with Indigenous knowledge.

Gaelene Lerat

Research Award
Saskatoon, Sask.

Gaelene is the first female Indigenous graduate student in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics. Her Master of Science work covers how huge currents flowing into and out of the atmosphere are related to the brilliant displays of aurora that we can see—a phenomenon known as a “geomagnetic substorm.” She loves to travel and is a wonderful ambassador for the university, for Canada and especially for the First Peoples of Canada.

Jillian McLeod

Leadership Award
Saskatoon, Sask.

Jillian is a fourth-year music education student who has consistently excelled academically. Due to her high academic standing, Jillian has received numerous Department of Music awards, including the prestigious Kaplan Scholarship. She demonstrates leadership as an elected member of the USask Music Educator’s Society (USMES), as a section leader in the Wind Orchestra and as the Student Executive President with the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra.

Brisa Paskimin
Third-year Indigenous studies student Brisa Paskimin was presented with her award by Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith (PhD), dean of the College of Arts and Science. (Photo: David Stobbe)

Brisa Paskimin

Community Award
Tlacopan and Itzalcalco Clans in Mexico City

Brisa is a third-year student majoring in Indigenous studies. She is Nawa from the Tlacopan and Itzalcalco (Place of the Salt) clans in Mexico City. Brisa has been dancing her peoples’ traditional Aztec dances all her life and is from the Salinas family.  She and her daughter created Mexika Designs, which highlights their original and very popular earring designs. Through her artwork, she strives to step outside the prevailing stereotypes and celebrate Indigeneity in everyday life.

Alexandria Smith

Academic Excellence Award
Nelson House, Man.

Alexandria has demonstrated a capacity for academic excellence at the highest level, averaging 92 per cent in her anthropology courses this semester after resuming her studies under extremely difficult personal circumstances acting as caregiver and principal supporter for others. Alexandria is Nisichawayasihk Cree and is determined to reclaim her Indigenous heritage and language lost through her family’s experience with residential schools. Alexandria has been actively involved in Indigenous student activities, participating in numerous workshops and conferences.

Jeremy Smith

Academic Excellence Award
Métis

Jeremy is a proud Métis man and is involved in many cultural events on campus and in the community. He takes on leadership opportunities and works hard in his studies. Jeremy is a proud father and works at culturally engaging his learning with his family. He is pursuing a degree in computer science.

Chloe Stainbrook

Academic Excellence Award
Martensville, Sask.

Chloe has excelled academically and has demonstrated leadership within the Philosophy Students’ Society. She has found her groove and is now consistently producing solid “A” work and excellent research papers. Beyond her academic achievements, Chloe has demonstrated initiative, stamina and personal leadership in a variety of ways. She has a passion for her work, especially as it concerns the environment, and is an extremely hardworking student.

Shicona Thomas

Academic Excellence Award
Prince Albert, Sask.

Shicona is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree as a first step toward her goal of studying medicine. In her first term, Shicona excelled in her "Literature and Composition Reading Narrative" class by exhibiting a deep understanding of the subject matter and engaging with the course material on a sophisticated level. In her “Studying in Science Essential Skills and Strategies” class, she aligned her first-year undergraduate research project with her future goals, investigating potential therapeutic roles for human parasites in the treatment and prevention of immune-related health challenges.

Whitney Willcott-Benoit

Academic Excellence Award
St. Albans, N.L.

Whitney is a proud Mi’kmaq First Nations woman from St. Albans, N.L. In May 2018, she graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in psychology. That fall, she began studies at USask, where she is completing her PhD in clinical psychology under the supervision of Dr. Jorden Cummings (PhD).

Aurora Wolfe
Academic Excellence Award winner Aurora Wolfe with Dean Peta Bonham-Smith. (Photo: David Stobbe)

Aurora Wolfe

Academic Excellence Award
Saskatoon, Sask.

During the "Digital and Integrated Practice" class, Aurora engaged with every project at a high level of understanding and found unique ways to bring her Indigenous background into her work. Aurora had two stand-out assignments, one in which she utilized traditional beading to create a performance between her and nature, and another where she situated herself within the context of a Renaissance painting, all while teaching the class about her traditional language.

 


This story aligns with the following Think Big – Be Bold: Arts and Science 2025 plan goals:

  Put Students First
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