Aiming for higher education

Create: 12/01/2015 - 19:40

Wunnumin Lake’s Pamela Angees saw plenty of opportunities during Lakehead University’s Aboriginal Discovery Day.
“Next year I’m going to applied bio-molecular science,” Angees said, explaining she has already been accepted to science courses as part of her long-term goal to attend medical school. “I’d like to get into medical school here at Lakehead. I’ve always wanted to do something like that to help people.”
Whitesand’s Emily Anderson is considering a variety of options in university.
“I’d like to study psychology and sociology so I can really understand people,” Anderson said, explaining she also enjoys debating, politics, theatre arts and fashion design. “I’d like to be like someone who inspires and motivates Aboriginal people to become successful. I have a little sister who is 11 years younger than me and I don’t want her to witness all the struggles I have seen.”
Aboriginal Discovery Day was held April 27 with about 160 high school students and about 30 mature students.
The high school students and other youth-aged students toured eight different activity stops relating to different faculties and Aboriginal Cultural & Support Services.
“At each stop they are getting a sense of what they can do at university, what they can learn at university,” said William Perry, Lakehead University’s Aboriginal liaison intern. “In the Aboriginal Cultural & Support Services centre they are going to learn about the different events that happen here and the recognition that Lakehead University has for Aboriginal students.”
The high school students also participated in a scavenger-style hunt with prizes for each member of the winning team.
“In structural engineering there was a bridge design out there,” Perry said. “In mechanical engineering there was a Formula 1 race car out there. A lot of the students were really interested because it is really hands on.”
Fort William’s Austin Morriseau was impressed by the Formula 1 race cars in the mechanical engineering exhibit.
“They are going to be in the speedway next year for National,” Morriseau said, explaining he has been thinking about playing university hockey and eventually study to be a lawyer. “We saw sociology, psychology, a lot of cool stuff.”
Education talking circles were held for the mature students during the morning session where they spoke with Aboriginal faculty, support staff and current students.
“Our current students were sharing stories about their first day at school, the worries they had,” Perry said. “The main goals were reassurance and inspiration. Reassurance is removing doubts from people but inspiration is giving people hope.”
Beverly Sabourin, vice-provost Aboriginal Initiatives at Lakehead University, said it is important to demystify university life for potential university students.
“We want to encourage our students to feel welcome and supported when they decide to come to Lakehead University,” Sabourin said.