Brock University student Jessica Leslie Turgeon is the 2015 Rose Nolan Scholarship winner.
The third-year student, a member of the Matachewan First Nation, is majoring in Labour Studies with a minor in Aboriginal Studies.
She said the $5,000 scholarship will help relive some of the financial burden of school and allow her to focus on her studies rather than her credit card bill.
Turgeon has been able to reconnect with her Indigenous language and culture with help from her Aboriginal instructors and courses- including making moccasins, hand drums and soapstone carvings.
She recently volunteered in a local election campaign and made a presentation to Brock’s Annual Social Justice Community Forum. The workshop focused on issues surrounding the missing and murdered Native women in Canada.
Jessica hopes to work in the field of policy development and analysis to advocate on behalf of First Nations communities.
“Receiving the phone call from Ted Nolan himself to tell me that I was chosen for the scholarship was truly an honour,” Turgeon said. “Ted Nolan is a well loved and respected leader within the Indigenous community and for my studies, hard work and career goals to be recognized by him was very special. Growing up in Northern Ontario (Elliot Lake), I often drove by the infamous bridge “This is Indian Land” which is located on Ted Nolan’s First Nation community – Garden River First Nation. Having someone so close to home do so so much good for Aboriginal people is very inspiring.”