Blankstein Momentum Program is on track for a second successful year
Now into its second year, the Blankstein Momentum Program has been a source of support to returning Indigenous students looking to improve their academic performance and expand their social networks.
The program is designed with a holistic approach, blending cultural and spiritual care with learning workshops, tutoring and community activities. The Blankstein Momentum Program has a maximum intake of 25 students, and has already seen eight returning students this year. This year’s students represent 15 Indigenous communities, including Cree, Anishinaabe, and Métis ancestry, and come from various programs and faculties. Their GPAs range anywhere from 1.0 to 3.29 and include students who are pursuing a second degree.
Students are referred to the program by advisors, staff and peers, while others, such as Faculty of Science student Kayla McIvor, are self-registered.
Due to the stress and insecurity of her first year, McIvor says she did not do as well as she would have hoped. “I knew I needed something that would help me into my second year,” she says, “and I thought the Blankstein Momentum Program was perfect just for that.”
The program includes a welcome orientation, meetings with Academic Learning Centre specialists and set appointments with student advisors throughout the year to ensure students stay on track. The program also includes workshops that focus on coping skills to combat academic anxiety, such as time management courses, test-taking strategies and spiritual care.
Above improving study skills and boosting her GPA, McIvor also figured building relationships with fellow Indigenous students and the overall community at Migizii Agamik – Bald Eagle Lodge would help her with self-confidence and social skills. A self-described shy and quiet girl from up north, McIvor says the program was immensely motivational for her. She gained the ability to step out of her comfort zone and nominate herself as the director of finance for the University of Manitoba Indigenous Students’ Association. McIvor was successful in her nomination.
McIvor became familiar with many other academic supports offered through the Indigenous Student Centre — something she believes would not be possible if she had not enrolled in the Blankstein Momentum Program. “Seeking the help and assistance that is offered through Migizii Agamik is now a habit for me,” she says.
For students who require that extra push into their second, third or fourth year, McIvor highly recommends applying for the Blankstein Momentum Program. Excited for her second year with the program, she cites the kindness of the program’s coordinator, Denise Proulx, as well as the support and knowledge provided as a reason she eagerly applied again.
McIvor is also looking forward to connection with students who are on a similar academic path. “Knowing that someone is walking the same path as you is comforting,” she says. “You will always have someone there for each stride.”
The Blankstein Momentum Program is currently full for the 2019-20 academic year, but students are encouraged to watch for applications as early as spring 2020. Those looking for supports to enhance their university experience are encouraged to make an appointment with an ISC student advisor, check out the Indigenous events calendar for a list of workshops and/or consider applying for the Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program.
The program is supported by University of Manitoba alumna Dr. Marjorie B. Blankstein [C.M., O.M.; BA (Man.); MSW (Minnesota); LLD (Man.)].