Three new scholarships have been created to support Indigenous students as they pursue programs in Brock’s Faculty of Mathematics and Science (FMS).
Created through the Faculty’s Dean Strategic Discretionary Fund, the initiative will see 15 students provided with scholarship funding through FMS contributions of $110,000.
The Faculty worked with Brock’s Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement as well as Aboriginal Student Services to establish the scholarships, with the process guided by the common goal of fostering a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.
“The scholarship series will assist Indigenous students at both the undergraduate and graduate level to attend and thrive at Brock,” said Ejaz Ahmed, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science. “We must create opportunities for Indigenous students to ensure they have the access, tools and welcome they deserve in our Faculty.”
The entrance scholarships are available for individuals who identify as First Nations (status and non-status), Inuit and Métis.
Interested students can learn more about the application process here.
“I think students will be ecstatic about these scholarships,” said Robyn Bourgeois, Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement. “We are seeing increasing numbers of Indigenous students entering STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and this funding will help them achieve their dreams.”
The undergraduate scholarships encourage students to choose the Faculty of Mathematics and Science as a premier destination for their academic pursuits. The master’s and PhD program scholarships will foster the next generation of brilliant student researchers to complete their graduate degrees at Brock, paving the way for increased inclusiveness in the science community.
“We need more Indigenous people trained in STEM because this knowledge and experience is not only beneficial for the student but also their communities,” Bourgeois said.
She also hoped to clarify misconceptions that exist around funding opportunities available to Indigenous students.
“There is a problematic belief that Indigenous people have their education paid for,” Bourgeois said. “While many receive funding from their band or other organizations, this is often a minimal amount the doesn’t even cover the basics of schooling.”
Bourgeois said that Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately living below the poverty line and the cost of post-secondary education is often out of reach.
“These scholarships can provide a student with an opportunity for post-secondary training that might not normally be possible,” she said.
In addition to the Dean’s Office and Bourgeois’ contribution, Sandra Wong, Director of the Aboriginal Student Services was instrumental in the creation of guidelines that ensure scholarships meet the needs of Indigenous students.
The adjudication process will be a joint effort between the Faculty of Mathematics and Science Dean’s Office, Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement, and Aboriginal Student Services.
“These scholarships make it clear that Brock is attempting to walk its talk when it comes to decolonization and Indigenization. It also makes it clear that Brock is eager to welcome Indigenous students into the University,” Bourgeois said.
Deadline to apply for the first round of funding is Tuesday, June 1. More information on the scholarships is available here.