Awards honour Indigenous youth
Seven students from the University of Manitoba received Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Awards Nov. 24, honouring outstanding endeavours.
The annual awards recognize Manitoba Indigenous youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in areas including academic accomplishment, community involvement, culture, business and athletics.
A committee of Indigenous youth chose this year’s 15 winners. The U of M recipients include students in the Asper School of Business’ Aboriginal Business Education Partners (ABEP), the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Engineering’s Access Program (ENGAP).
“It is a tribute to the University of Manitoba’s Indigenous programs that U of M students received so many awards,” says Randy Herrmann, director of ENGAP. “At every award ceremony I am impressed by the incredible abilities of the Indigenous youth in this province.”
The awards were formed in 1994 to celebrate the achievements of Indigenous youth and to showcase their success in the community.
Carter Wilson, who was a 2015 award winner, co-hosted this year’s event. Wilson studies in the Asper School of Business and is the president of the U of M’s Association of Aboriginal Commerce Students.
“Utilizing past winners as emcees and as presenters is a great opportunity to provide today’s youth with powerful and successful role models,” Herrmann says.
By Kaitlin Vitt
The U of M recipients of the 2016 Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Awards are:
Kailey Atkinson – Business – Linda Park Award for Business/Entrepreneurship
Kailey Atkinson, who is Ojibwa from Austin, Man., was accepted into the Asper School of Business this fall and is part of ABEP. She is the vice-president of operations of the Association of Aboriginal Commerce Students and was the first-year representative last year. She co-emceed the 2016 ABEP graduation and currently works for Indspire, a charity focused on Indigenous education.
Kailey plans to graduate with a bachelor of commerce (honours), majoring in human resource management and minoring in Aboriginal business studies. After graduation, she wants to work with youth in a rural Indigenous community.
Julie Desrochers – Education – Cultural Female
Julie Desrochers, of Métis descent, is in her final year in the Faculty of Education and wants to be a French immersion teacher. She is the treasurer of the Metis University Students’ Association.
She is involved with Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum, where she has delivered programs, including beadwork, sash weaving and jigging, to teach people about Métis culture.
Julie played hockey and was involved with the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships, GEN7, the Manitoba Metis Federation’s Road to Gold Program and the Wayne Babych sports school.
Emma Gillespie – Engineering – Academic Junior
First-year student Emma Gillespie is part of the Engineering Access Program. She is Métis and is from Selkirk. She has recently won multiple awards, including the Governor General’s Academic Medal for her high school, the Queen Elizabeth II Entrance scholarship and the Price Industries Limited Entrance Scholarship for Engineering.
Emma is bilingual in French and English and can communicate in Spanish. She plays ringette, winning bronze with Team Manitoba at the Western Canadian Ringette Championships in 2014. She also volunteers as a timekeeper at ringette games and is a coach.
Emma plans to graduate with a degree in biomedical engineering.
Alex Hosfield – Business – Community/Volunteer Senior
Alex Hosfield, of Métis descent, is in his third year at the Asper School of Business through ABEP. Every event ABEP hosts, Alex is there to volunteer his time proudly. He co-emceed the 2016 ABEP graduation.
Alex was the first-year representative for the Association of Aboriginal Commerce Students, and in his second year he was the vice-president of operations. This year he is the executive co-ordinator for the Metis University Students’ Association, where he emphasizes promoting and teaching Métis culture.
Alex plans to start his own business or work in a management position at a large technology company.
Kyle Monkman – Electrical Engineering – Academic Senior
Kyle Monkman, of Métis descent, is in his fourth year of electrical engineering. He is a student in the Engineering Access Program, where he mentors other students. He has a GPA of 4.33 and won the U of M Open Mathematics Competition this past year.
Kyle has volunteered with the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Education Program, working to get more Indigenous youth studying math and science in Canada. Kyle has done research through the Undergraduate Student Research Award and plans to get a masters or PhD in engineering.
Kyle is also a blues and jazz guitarist.
Christian Toupin – Business – Athletic Senior
Christian Toupin is in his third year at the Asper School of Business and is a member of ABEP. He is pursuing a bachelor of commerce (honours) degree. He is of Métis descent and grew up in St. Claude, Man.
Christian played sports in high school and university, including hockey and broomball. He has played in the broomball nationals for the past four years and has been named an all-star at nationals. He recently attended the World Broomball Championship where his team placed second.
Since being accepted into the Asper School of Business, Christian has volunteered with the Association of Aboriginal Commerce Students. He mentors other students and participates in community outreach projects and fundraisers.
He plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration and own or manage a business.
April Wilson – Business – Personal Achievement Senior
April Wilson is of Ojibwa descent from Peguis First Nation. She majors in logistics and supply chain management and will graduate with a bachelor of commerce (honours) from the Asper School of Business in 2017. She is part of ABEP.
April moved to Winnipeg to complete Grade 12. She’s worked a variety of jobs since moving, including as a cashier and at a call centre. April currently works at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
She has represented the Asper School of Business at the Alberta Not-for-Profit Case Competition in 2016, and in October she co-emceed the 2016 Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Awards. April is also a competitive dancer.
Creating Pathways to Indigenous Achievement is an institutional priority for the University of Manitoba, where over 2,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit students are welcomed each year. Last spring, the graduation of over 350 Indigenous students was celebrated at the U of M’s 27th Annual Graduation Pow Wow.
Indigenous Achievement is a pillar of Front and Centre — the campaign for the University of Manitoba, with $65 million directed toward this priority. By collaborating with Indigenous communities and stakeholders, the University of Manitoba is striving to be a welcoming place that translates into success for Indigenous students and their families.