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Education

Four NWT women win De Beers university scholarships


Four NWT women entering the first year of their post-secondary programs have received scholarships from De Beers Group valued at more than $3,000 each.

Winners Angelina Arrowmaker, Caitlyn Beck, Isabelle Boucher, and Jena Lyons are studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – or Stem – programs at Canadian universities.

De Beers said they join seven other Canadians already receiving multi-year scholarships from the company, five of whom are also from the Northwest Territories.

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More than 260 people applied for the four scholarships, which prioritized Indigenous women from the NWT, Nunavut, northern Ontario, and southern Alberta.

Mpumi Zikalala, De Beers’ managing director of managed operations, said in a news release the company hopes the scholarships will remove barriers for women to enter careers in Stem fields. 

“We recognize that girls look up to the women in their communities who are paving the way in areas traditionally dominated by men,” Zikalala said.

“The young women who have received De Beers Group scholarships will serve as an example to future generations and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. It is exciting to be a part of this legacy.”

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Meet the scholarship recipients

Wekweètì’s Angelina Arrowmaker, who goes by Angie, is in her first year of biomedical physiology at Simon Fraser University. Coming from a small community, she said, she didn’t know all of the opportunities available to her until she moved to Yellowknife for high school.

“You’re not aware of all the things you are able to do outside your community and you’re not taught or encouraged to dream big,” Arrowmaker was quoted as saying.

“This scholarship will go toward financing my education in hopes of living out my dream of working in the North as a healthcare worker.”

The Tłı̨chǫ student hopes to inspire others from her community by demonstrating they are “strong and resilient people, and are fully capable of doing great things.”

Caitlyn Beck, a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, is studying life sciences at the University of Toronto.

“This award means that I will be able to continue my educational pursuits, which include being one of the few First Nations students in this field at the University of Toronto,” she said, noting the money helped make the transition to university easier.

“There needs to be more representation of Indigenous women in this area. Being awarded the scholarship allows me to show others that academics are an important factor to success in the future.”

Isabelle Boucher, a francophone student, hopes to return home to the Northwest Territories as a doctor. She’s studying health sciences at Queen’s University.

“I would love nothing more than to help the community that contributed to making me who I am today,” said Boucher. “It will be inspiring for the francophone, female, and northern communities to see that they helped raise a young woman who won this significant and prestigious scholarship.”

Social worker Jena Lyons returned to school this year to get her psychiatric nursing diploma from MacEwan University. 

“It became apparent that to further support my community and grow my capacity, I needed more knowledge in order to become a mental health nurse,” she said. 

“Living in the North has opened my perspective on the social issues and challenges faced by women who are living within colonized, isolated communities. I see this award as an opportunity to be a role model for young women and girls, as they watch us and are inspired when women pursue their dreams.”

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