Gone west

The program a fully funded, professional development program for Indigenous fourth year students, grad students and recent graduates.

Thomas is no stranger to campus involvement. He’s been the Aboriginal rep on MUNSU for the last two terms, is involved with the Aboriginal Resource Office, sits on the Aboriginal Advisory Committee, is a member of the Siawi-ta'nej council which addresses campus wide Aboriginal issues, has acted as the vice president of the HKR student society, and at one point was a strength coach for the varsity cross country team.

“Although as a high school student I thought that a four year undergrad was a long time, it goes by surprisingly fast. For that reason I've gotten involved with as much on campus as possible. When I received an email for the opportunity to explore another school, I jumped at the opportunity instantly.”

“I'm also very fortunate that our faculty is very understanding and willing to work with us, the students, to jump at every opportunity possible,” he added.

Thomas says he is most looking forward to meeting with the faculty of exercise science at UVic to discuss what research and course opportunities are available and the cultural activities that the Office of Indigenous Affairs has planned. “Some cultural activities planned include welcoming prayers from elders, a drum-making workshop with elders, and elders talking circle. This will also give me the opportunity to experience many different Aboriginal cultures. I am Mi'kmaq from Nova Scotia and many of the BC tribe’s cultures differ from my own.”

According to Lalita Morrison, Indigenous community liaison and outreach coordinator at UVIC, this is the second annual Indigenous Graduate Student Orientation program, which is funded by the Royal Bank of Canada. “This is our last year of funding, but as last year was so successful for bridging Indigenous students to come to campus and explore their graduate studies, we are again offering it this year … Students have a variety of workshops geared towards entering graduate studies, as well as an opportunity to meet with their faculty of choice.”

Thomas, who is scheduled to graduate with a B.Kin. next year, is seriously considering UVIC’s masters in exercise science program. He also likes that there are a lot of services available to Aboriginal students at UVIC. After completing a masters he’s hoping to apply to Dalhousie University’s medical school.

At UVic, Andrea and Thomas will stay on-campus in residence for four days, have campus tours, meet Indigenous graduate students and faculty, and participate in a variety of graduate studies preparation workshops.