THUNDER BAY – RBC today announced the 10 recipients of the 2012 RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program, selected from over 500 applicants who are pursuing post-secondary education. Marc Labelle from North Bay Ontario who is attending the Northern Ontario School of Medicine is one of this year’s RBC winners.
“With the Aboriginal population growing nearly six times faster than the general population, it’s never been more important for Aboriginal youth to overcome the financial obstacles that prevent them from pursuing higher education,” said Chinyere Eni, national director, Aboriginal Markets, RBC. “With the right resources and educational support, Aboriginal youth can contribute to Canada’s economic prosperity.”
As part of RBC’s ongoing commitment to support Aboriginal youth in their education journey, the scholarship has successfully encouraged many Aboriginal youth to fulfill their career aspirations and give back to their community.
Amanda Carling, a 2010 award recipient and a student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, aspires to practice criminal law and eventually help remedy the root causes for the troubling problem she observed first-hand, in a Manitoba youth court.
“While job shadowing a judge for a criminology course at the University of Manitoba, I couldn’t help but wonder why so many Aboriginal youth were before the courts,” said Carling. “It was on that day that I decided to become a lawyer and help my community. Without the support of the RBC award, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Carling now sits on the board of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, participated in the Faculty of Law’s Aboriginal Youth Summer Program in 2012, to encourage Aboriginal youth to pursue law, and is articling with the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.
“Over the past 20 years we have seen a dramatic increase not only in the number of Aboriginal students pursuing post-secondary education, but also those working toward graduate and post-graduate studies,” Corinne Mount Pleasant-Jetté, president and CEO, Mount Pleasant Educational Services Inc., one of the originators of the RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program and a member of the Order of Canada. “Scholarships will continue to boost Aboriginal success in the post-secondary system and help bridge the education gap between Aboriginal communities and the rest of Canada.”
This year’s recipients are:
- Gerald Anawak, Nanaimo, BC (Nunavut Beneficiary)
Vancouver Island School, Geography & Digital Media GIS
- Zachary Azure, Saskatoon, SK (Métis Nation-Saskatchewan)
University of Saskatchewan, Kinesiology
- Chantal Dienstbier, Anola, MB (Manitoba Métis Federation)
University of Winnipeg, Business Administration
- Russell Evans, Kingston, ON (Matachewan First Nation)
Queens University, Management/Accounting
- Vanessa Fladmark, Vancouver, BC (Old Masset Village Council)
University of British Columbia, Bachelor of Science
- Matthew George, Burnaby, BC (Anishinaabeg of Naongashiing First Nation)
British Columbia Institute of Technology, Construction Management
- Marc Labelle, North Bay, ON (Métis Nation of Ontario)
Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine
- Marlene McDougall, Winnipeg, MB (St. Theresa Point First Nation)
Red River College, Business Administration
- Brittany Smith, Strathmore, AB (Métis Nation of Alberta)
University of Saskatchewan, Veterinary Medicine
- Farrah Stevens, Eastern Passage, NS (Pictou Landing First Nation)
Saint Mary’s University, Environmental Sciences
Since the RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program was launched in 1992, over $1.2 million dollars has been awarded to 118 First Nations, Inuit and Métis students across Canada pursuing post-secondary education. Each year, the RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program provides $4,000 annually, for a maximum of four years, to 10 students pursuing a post-secondary education.