Awards help First Nations achieve their goals

UNBC student Bianca Michell was helped in her studies by a TransCanada Corporation award. UNBC photo

Bianca Michell loves to learn. She also cares about her community.

Michell is from a First Nations community in northern B.C., and first graduated from UNBC with her Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Studies.

After she completes her Master of Health Sciences degree in Community Health at UNBC this spring, she plans on continuing her studies at the University as a PhD candidate in Health Sciences and either do her thesis on the prevalence of H.pylori (a bacterial infection in digestive tracts) or diabetes in First Nations communities.

“I want to be a role model for First Nations communities,” she said.

Last year Michell received a financial award that was created by TransCanada Corporation, which has made an impact on reaching her educational goals.

“This award helps me out quite a bit,” she said. “It pays my tuition so I can put other funds towards my living expenses.”

TransCanada Corporation has offered awards and bursaries to UNBC students from First Nation communities since 2014 and have renewed their commitment for two more years.

The new TransCanada Corporation Indigenous Community Development Awards were created with a $60,000 donation. 

This year, seven UNBC students from First Nation communities in Northern B.C. have each received a $3,000 award to assist them in achieving their educational goals.

They will be awarded again in 2017/18 to students from First Nations communities along the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Corridor. A maximum of 10 students are eligible to receive $3,000 each. 

“TransCanada is proud of our long-standing commitment to education and we want our projects to leave a lasting legacy of stronger communities, a higher standard of living and a greater quality of life,” said Rick Gateman, President of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project.

“UNBC is grateful for the financial support from TransCanada Corporation and encouraging students from smaller communities in the North as they strive to achieve their educational goals,” added Dr. Mark Dale, UNBC Dean of Regional Programs. “It’s one example of how we can work together to transform lives and communities in Northern B.C.”

The TransCanada Corporation Indigenous Community Development Award is available to a full- or part-time undergraduate or graduate from any of the following First Nations communities along the Coastal GasLink Project corridor: West Moberly First Nations; Cheslatta Carrier Nation; Blueberry River First Nation, Salteau First Nations; McLeod Lake Indian Band; Ts’il Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band); Haisla Nation; Lheidli T’enneh First Nation; Halfway River First Nation; Moricetown Indian Band; Nadleh Whut’en; Nee-Tahi-Buhn Band; Hagwilget Village; Saik’uz First Nation; Doig River First Nation; Skin Tyee Nation; Stellat’en First Nation; Wet’suwet’en First Nation or Yekooche First Nation.

Preference is given to students enrolled in Environmental Engineering, Environmental Planning, Natural Resources Management, First Nations Studies, Northern Studies, Public Administration and Community Development, the Northern Medical Program, Nursing or other health sciences programs.

-UNBC