Queen’s Aboriginal community leaders gathered at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre last week to celebrate the launch of a new province-wide campaign.
The campaign, titled “Let’s Take Our Future Further”, is an initiative by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) to celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal university students and graduates in Ontario.
In attendance were Four Directions Director Janice Hill and Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney. Marlene Brant Castellano, co-chair of the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, and recent Queen’s graduate Haven Moses, Sci ’15, were also present.
According to the Queen’s Gazette, Tierney and Hill served on the COU working group that developed the campaign.
The COU prepares undergraduate and graduate students for a successful future, in part by promoting university education and research. Through the COU, the Future Further initiative provides information on resources for Aboriginal students interested in attending an Ontario university.
The website provides resource kits to Aboriginal students along with profiles and videos of Aboriginal role models sharing their stories.
Haven Moses, Sci ’15 and a Queen’s civil engineering graduate, is featured in one of the profiles. In his profile video, Moses says that surrounding himself with a good group of people helped him through university.
The first female Inuit cardiac surgeon, Donna May Kimmaliardjuk, ArtSci ’11, is featured in one of the profiles. Kimmaliardjuk credits Four Directions, for helping her adjust during her undergraduate years.
“It was such a great environment with other Aboriginal students and strong Aboriginal women where I could feel supported and get their advice and just feel that I had a sense of community and family here,” Kimmaliardjuk says in her video on the Future Further website.
In a statement in The Gazette, Hill said the initiative at Queen’s will support the University’s recruitment and outreach activities.
Since 2011-12, applications to Queen’s by Aboriginal students increased 30 per cent, offers of admission have increased 61 per cent and acceptances have increased by 93 per cent.
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