Reducing the barriers to achieving success is one way in which scholarships and bursaries can help support post-secondary students and their aspirations. Recently, three Haida citizens: Skil Jaadaa Vanessa Fladmark, Maluu Annika Martynuik, and Guud Xangii were selected for scholarships and bursaries through the competitive process by the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society in two different categories: Masters/Doctoral Degrees and the Teachers Education Award. By sharing their successes, these esteemed students hope to entice others to apply for the many scholarships and bursaries that are available.
Skil Jaadaa won a Masters award. When asked about the value of the award, she responds, “Scholarships really help alleviate the stress of attending post-secondary, it’s one less thing to worry about. Grad school is difficult enough without the added financial strain, so it allows me to really focus on my work. If I had to work at the same time as attending school, I don’t think university would be a viable option for me.”
Skil Jaadaa studies juvenile pink and chum salmon feeding ecology in coastal British Columbia. Using microscopes, she looks at their stomach contents to find out what the migrating juvenile salmon eat on their journey through the Strait of Georgia.
“After I graduate from UBC with a Master of Science in Biological Oceanography, I want to continue my work as an oceanographer so I can best understand and protect Haida Gwaii’s marine ecosystems. The coastal ocean holds so much wonder, in terms of the unique ecology surrounding Haida Gwaii and how marine life helps sustain our way of living. It’s my life goal to research these ecosystems and ocean life and preserve them for our future generations,” Skil Jaadaa says of her career goals. She is looking forward to graduation in the spring and this award helped make that path much easier.
It’s my life goal to research these ecosystems and ocean life and preserve them for our future generations,” Skil Jaadaa says of her career goals.
The Teachers Education Award category winners include Guud Xangii and Maluu. This award is for those pursuing a teaching certificate. Guud Xangii studies at the University of Northern British Columbia.
Maluu is studying for her Bachelor of Education at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. “I would like to teach back home but I would also like to teach abroad,” she says. Winning the award is confirmation that her community believes in her and she is honoured by that recognition. Like Skil Jaadaa, the opportunity to focus on education without needing a part time job was also of value to Maluu.
Guud Xangii, Maluu, and Skil Jaadaa advise Indigenous students to apply for all of the scholarships and bursaries they can.
“Apply for all of them. Even the ones you may not qualify for. So many are not even applied to, so it increases your chances,” Guud Xangii says. There is also the option of when you win an award one year, you can often reapply the next year as well.
“Apply for all of them. Even the ones you may not qualify for. So many are not even applied to, so it increases your chances,” Guud Xangii says.
“Scholarships are so helpful for your resume, your bank account and your self-esteem and remember, it’s not just about you. It is about your family, your community, and the impact that you want to have on the world,” Skil Jaadaa says about the benefits reaped from successful applications.
Skil Jaadaa encourages other students to “be honest when writing personal letters in applications. They want to hear about who you are and what motivates you, and hear about inspirational stories on overcoming struggles, since school and life isn’t easy for anyone.”
To help make school easier for Haida citizens, the education coordinators at Skidegate Band Council and the Old Massett Village Council often write support letters for students they sponsor. With sufficient lead time, the letters can be used to meet the application requirements. “Make sure to write down the dates they’re due and send in applications early,” says Maluu.
All three students wish to put their education to work on Haida Gwaii or for its benefit in the future. By sharing their success, they hope to help other students succeed as well.
“We’re very proud of all our students and congratulate the award winners,” says Kwiigaay iiwaans Sharon Matthews, OMVC Education administrator.
Scholarships and Bursaries List
2020/21 applications for scholarships are now open. Scholarship opportunities can be found online or through education sponsors, academic advisors, or financial aid offices at every post-secondary institution. Haida high school graduates are reminded to watch out for the CHN’s Educate Us awards coming out in early spring.
Other websites (not an exhaustive list)
Irving K. Barber Scholarship Society