2020 Graduate Student Mentorship Stipend Winners
Congratulations to our 2020 Graduate Student Mentorship Stipend Winners!
Ashley Cornect-Benoit (Mi’kmaw, French and Irish - Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, Port au Port Payun Aqq Payunji'j, Newfoundland Ktaqamk) is a third year PhD student in the Community Health Sciences program specializing in Population and Public Health at the University of Calgary. Ashley achieved her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Health while attending Laurentian University, which is located on the traditional territory of Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg.
Ashley’s understanding of wholistic health and Western medicine has guided her lifelong career goals and has aided in the development of the current health project she has been welcomed to be a part of in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. As an academic and Indigenous health advocate, Ashley is committed to developing relationships with Indigenous communities across Canada to bring forth communally determined health initiatives that nurture intergenerational relationships to address health inequities faced by Indigenous people including mental health, notions of well-being and brain aging in First Nation youth and older adults.
Ashley is currently the program coordinator for Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement (SAGE) UCalgary and is actively collaborating with AIM-HI mentors and students.
Eileen is a descendant of the Anishinaabe (Saulteaux) originally from Treaty 4 territory in Manitoba. Her passion has been to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into her teaching methods. Eileen continues her dedication to teaching by mentoring new teachers to understand the importance of implementing First Nations curriculum into their programs and the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action (2015). She is committed to recognizing and valuing Indigenous knowledge, promoting the use of culturally-responsive pedagogies and practices, and promoting partnerships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners, families and communities. Eileen's research interests focus on the establishment of professional development and information-sharing sessions for staff and education stakeholders, to include First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives in the curriculum.
My name is Morning Star and my English name is Nicole Eshkakogan. I am Anishnawbe/Blackfoot from Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Ontario and the Piikani Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Southern Alberta. I am completing my Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Alberta with a focus on Indigenous gender and wellness to increase our understandings about violence as a key determinant of health for Indigenous people and communities. My specialization exam study used Indigenous Storytelling and Sharing Circles as cultural representation to understand the context of Indigenous women within urban culture and shelter life about how they construct and understand culturally safe support and its impact on helping them to address their experiences of violence. My dissertation study focuses on exploring the experiences of Indigenous family members providing care for children whose mothers are victims of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Katherine is a proud member of the Manitoba Metis federation. She earned her B.Sc (Hons). in biology at Mount Allison University and is now working to complete her M.Sc in Public Health Policy at the University of Alberta. More specifically, her research focuses on Indigenous health systems in the North. Katherine utilizes community-based, participatory methods to better understand what health system responsiveness means to Indigenous communities in the circumpolar world.
As a writing mentor for the University of Alberta’s First Peoples House, Katherine works with Indigenous undergraduate students to improve various writing skills. Katherine is also on the Circumpolar Students Association, which is a student-led association dedicated to discussing logistical problems, funding opportunities, and exchanging experiences relating to research in the north. Katherine has a large sense of adventure that stems from having lived throughout Canada and abroad and is thrilled to be able to combine her love of learning about different cultures with her love of academia. Katherine hopes that her research will increase access to culturally safe care within northern, remote and Indigenous communities.
Erica Samms-Hurley is a Mi’kmaw women from Newfoundland who earned her BN (2004) from Memorial University-Grenfell Campus and her MN (2014) from Athabasca University. Erica is currently enrolled in the PhD in Nursing program at the University of Alberta. She has worked in nursing education for over 10 years and is currently a Nurse Educator at Western Regional School of Nursing- Memorial University of Newfoundland, Grenfell Campus. Erica is adjunct professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences (Humanites) at Grenfell Campus. Since a young age Erica has been dedicated to volunteering. SHe has had the opportunity to sit on numerous committees locally, provincially and nationally, such Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Health Advisory Committee and the Canadian Institute of Health Research Institutes Advisory Board for Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. Erica attributes her success to her connection to culture, community and family. She is a fancy shawl dancer, wife and mother of two children, 13 and 11.
Keith is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, born and raised in Region 6, Treaty 8 territory. With Cree/Métis and settler Scottish, Russian, and British heritage, Keith graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2004. His early career included research, nursing in neurosciences and plastic surgery, and mental health nursing. Early experiences growing up on a farm in rural Alberta helped to inform my research and career interests, as I was interested in social inclusion, exclusion, stigma and marginalization that I observed.
In 2012, Keith completed his Masters of Public Health from Curtin University in Western Australia. He worked as an RN and educator in Toronto at St. Joseph's Hospital's Mental Health & Addictions Program, before relocating to London, England where he worked and studied in a number of roles in the National Health Service, City University of London, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, focusing on the intersections of acute and community nursing, infectious diseases, and mental health and addictions. Returning to Edmonton in 2014, Keith joined Alberta Health Services Quality & Healthcare Improvement as a consultant focused on improving health service standards, before transitioning to the University of Alberta in 2017 as an Assistant Teaching Professor.
Keith is very active within the community, providing leadership in the Hospital Privileges Appeals Board for the Government of Alberta, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Faculty of Nursing, and volunteering with the University of Alberta Alumni Association, the Board of Directors for the Pain Society of Alberta, and various charitable organizations including the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, the Alberta Society for the Promotion of Sexual Health, and First Peoples House at the University of Alberta.
Keith's PhD research aims to generate Métis knowledge around the prevention of cancer, exploring HPV prevention in the unique context of Métis people in Alberta.
Anita Lafferty is a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Secondary Education. She is of Dene and Cree descent and a member of the Liidlii Kue First Nation in the NWT. Her doctoral research examines approaches of Indigenous curriculum perspectives that focus on Indigenous science for secondary students and the relationship with on the land learning. She takes a multidisciplinary approach in her research drawing on the fields of multimedia, art, poetry, storytelling and Indigenous methodologies.
She holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Management from Royal Roads University, that investigated the influence of junior high transition programs created for Indigenous students entering high school. She was awarded an Emerging Scholar Award (2020) from the Learner Research Network and is currently completing her first poetry book that reflects on her experiences of being an Indigenous woman, student, and scholar. Before undertaking her doctoral studies, Anita was a high school teacher implementing successful practices for Indigenous youth. She advocates for leadership and educational policies that endorse the principles of responsibility, respect, reciprocity and sustainability.
Of mixed Metis and Settler ancestry, Sara was born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and is a registered member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. She has lived in Calgary for 13 years with her husband and three children. Sara is a registered nurse with over 10 years of nursing experience working in acute care in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Ontario, with a predominant focus in nephrology. She is currently in her second year of the Master’s in Nursing program at the University of Calgary with a focus on exploring culturally tailored peer mentorship for Indigenous people self-managing type 2 diabetes.
Sara’s career objective is aimed at leveraging her experience and knowledge of chronic illnesses and peer mentorship to enact reconciliation by responding to the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada’s (TRCC’s) 19th and 22nd Calls to Action (2015). Call #19 asserts healthcare providers must work towards reducing the marginalizing conditions Indigenous people face, as a result of Canada’s colonial legacy, which has led to high prevalence and poorer outcomes of chronic illness (TRCC, 2015). Furthermore, Call #22 asks for recognition and value to be placed on traditional healing practices and to incorporate such practices in healthcare (TRCC, 2015). Sara will explore culturally tailored peer mentorship with a focus on empowerment and connection to culture and identity as an adjunct intervention for Indigenous people managing T2DM in Alberta. This intervention will have the flexibility to incorporate Indigenous culture and traditional healing practices into the discovery based on the participant’s collective learning interests and goals.
Melissa Shouting is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy from Kainai (Blood) Nation and is of Blackfoot, Plains Cree and Gros Ventre descent. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge. She recently received her undergrad degree in Health Sciences majoring in Public Health, with a minor in Aboriginal Health, from the University of Lethbridge. She is also the recipient of an inaugural fellowship from the Sovereign Bodies Institute, which is an affiliate of the Seventh Generation Fund in the United States. She has a deep understanding of how historical and societal factors continue to influence current health outcomes within Indigenous populations. Areas of interest include: Addictions, Harm Reduction, Women’s Health, Gender and Sexual Violence, and HIV/AIDS, all within the Indigenous population. Her current research includes examining current health trends and outcomes within Indigenous populations utilizing Indigenous research methods that are grounded in Siksikaitsitapi Ways of Knowing and Being.
Supervisor: Dr. Em Pijl, University of Lethbridge
Deanna Starr is from Little Pine First Nation in Treaty 6 territory. She is of Cree and German descent living in Edmonton, Alberta. Deanna is currently in her second year of the Master's of Occupational Therapy program at the University of Alberta and is in the Indigenous Focus cohort of her program. Deanna is also a writing mentor at the First Peoples House at the University of Alberta. Deanna has a bachelor's degree in Sport, Health and Physical Education. Her current research focuses on supporting Indigenous Occupational Therapy Students.
Rochelle Starr is from Little Pine First Nation, which is located in Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan and is of Cree and German descent. She presently lives in Edmonton, AB, Treaty 6 territory with her three children who are from Thunderchild First Nation, SK. Rochelle is a Ph.D. candidate in the specialization of Indigenous Peoples Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies, Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. She also holds a Masters of Education, and Bachelor of Arts, specializing in First Nation Studies and Political Science. Rochelle's work focuses on Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous understandings of Crises (colonialism, oppression, racism, and Indigenous & non-Indigenous relationships), Indigenous research methodologies, Indigenous pedagogy, Cree language, and leadership and young Indigenous women, Rochelle is also the Director of the Young Indigenous Women's Circle of Leadership, a program housed at the University of Alberta which provides access to Cree language, ceremony, land, and culture to young Indigenous women. Rochelle is committed to inspiring and creating ways of being that are deeply rooted in the power of our ancestors and that are therefore life-giving and bring about love, strength, and freedom.
Andrew Stewart is Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine. As a student in the University of Calgary's Leaders in Medicine program (combined MD-PhD program) Andrew's work focuses on the risk factors associated with infections in children living with autoimmune disease. Andrew is a proud member of the Metis Nation of Alberta and is looking forward to using the resources provided by AIM-HI to further deepen his connection to the Metis community.
Oki Niisto Niitanniko Annastisinski, Hello My name is Pretty Badger Woman, my english name is Tisha Bromley-Wadsworth. My husband and life partner of 29 years is Billy Wadsworth Iskotoohka. We have 1 daughter, Keely Wadsworth, Apoyakii, and 1 Grandson, Ashkii Diyin. I received my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Lethbridge in 2005. Currently, I am enrolled in the 3rd year of the Master's of Education program- research stream at the University of Calgary. I am a member of the Blood Tribe-Kainai which is part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. During the summer we participate in powwows all over Indian Country. My passion is the retention and participation of Blackfoot language, culture and ceremony!
William Iskotoohka Wadsworth
Iskotoohka is from the Blood Tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy and a member of the Motoispitaiks Clan - All Tall People Clan. He is married to Tisha Wadsworth and they have a daughter and a grandson.
He is currently employed with the Treaty 7 Chiefs Association while simultaneously working on his Master of Arts program at the University of Lethbridge. In his prior positions he has worked as a researcher studying many aspects of First Nation Data Sovereignty and Treaty Assertion. Iskotoohka is also the lead singer for the competitive drum group Bullhorn.
Pearl Yellow Old Woman
Pearl Yellow Old Woman- Healy is a member of the Siksika Nation and is of both Blackfoot and Oji-Cree ancestry. She is a PhD Candidate in the Community Health Sciences Program specializing in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary. Her current research is Siksikaitsitapi informed health care for Indigenous children with disabilities. Pearl is the Graduate Representative for the Alberta Indigenous Mentorship in Health Innovation (AIM-HI) Network.