Four Grade 11 students will be travelling to the University of Manitoba to take part in the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Program this June. The program is a registered Canadian charity founded in 2009 with the goal of increasing the number First Nations, Métis, Inuit students in Canadian universities majoring in science and engineering.
The four students going are Kelsey Carriere, Victoria Hickes, Brandon Nowlin and Thomas Nowlin. “It’s just basically spending the week in classes depending what you choose,” explained Carriere.
The Nowlin brothers found out about this opportunity through their pre-calculus teacher, and both girls found out through their biology teacher Nicole Harwood.
Hickes says this opportunity is a step in the right direction because it will look good on a resume, and may even help getting a job. Hickes added that “it’s understanding what university is like before actually having to be there, and deciding if we do want to go, which I am sure we will.”
During the application process, the students picked what they wanted to study for the week-long program, although a spot is not guaranteed. Thomas was accepted to the Department of Microbiology. “I took it because it’s the only thing that has a chemistry-based focus. The others are bio, math, physics, stuff like that.” Thomas hopes to have a career in the chemistry field, although he’s not sure exactly what that career will be just yet.
His brother Brandon wants to become a video game programmer. He’s been accepted into the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Since the mechanical engineering thing is very physics-based it was the closest to it. It’s talking about robots, physics principles, programming.”
Both Carriere and Hickes applied to be in kinesiology. Hickes, who hopes to become a nurse one day, was accepted. “It will help prepare me.”
Carriere also hoped to study the body for the week, but instead will be studying bugs, as she has been placed in entomology. “It turns out there were too many people that were placed in the kinesiology group, so people had to be moved and I was one of them,” Carriere said.
Although it wasn’t her top pick, she’s still excited. “I’m still looking forward to it. I mean, I’m not a big bug person, but it is what it is, and it could help me. It’s still something science-based, and it’s an experience regardless. I’m looking forward to it.”
The four Thompsonites travelling to Winnipeg won’t even have to spend a dime. The program is paid in full for them, including flights, dorms and food.
The program takes place from June 1-5.