The University of Winnipeg



Four MDP students earn prestigious awards

Alexandra Nychuk, Kiera Kowalski, Courtney Bear, ©UWinnipeg

clockwise, Alexandra Nychuk, Kiera Kowalski, Courtney Bear, ©UWinnipeg

Four outstanding Master’s in Development Practice: Indigenous Development Program (MDP) students have earned national awards. Courtney Bear, Racheal KalabaAlexandra Nychuk and Kiera Kowalski have been recognized for their work that reflects their commitment to their field of study.

Bear and Kalaba have both earned the prestigious 2020 Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada (SWAAC) awards. Bear was selected for the SWAAC Graduate Student Award of Merit and Kalaba the SWAAC Student Award in Equity, Diversity. These awards are awarded annually to women graduate students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the university or general community while maintaining exemplary academic records.

In addition to the SWAAC award, Bear was also the successful recipient of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Scholarship. This award is given to students who are descendants of survivors of residential schools or who themselves are residential school survivors.

Bear’s research with Dr. Jaime Cidro (MDP Director, Canada Research Chair in Health & Culture), in partnership with The Winnipeg Boldness Project, measures children’s education through holistic success, in addition to school readiness in the north end of Winnipeg.

This community-based research will result in a published paper along with experience and knowledge in conducting this type of research.  Courtney states that “winning these awards helps with not feeling worried financially. And I am very grateful and honoured to have received the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada (SWAAC) and the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada (TRC)”.     

Racheal Kalaba, ©UWinnipeg

Racheal Kalaba, ©UWinnipeg

Kalaba’s research focuses on emergency disaster management and Indigenous people. The research will contribute to an understanding of how to involve communities, institutions, and governments in disaster planning. It offers a unique empirical case example to growing literature on the urgency of engagement of technology and social media in disaster management and planning. Racheal is also currently working with the Canadian Red Cross of Manitoba and Cidro.

Nychuk and Kowalski have earned the 2020 Audreen Hourie Indigenous Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship was established by the Manitoba Metis Federation.

Nychuk is participating on a research project titled: Conversations with Indigenous Doulas and Administrators: Learning the Contemporary Logistics of Reclaiming Traditional Birthing Practices with Cidro.

It is such an honour to win this award, especially as it is named after such an incredible community member that has made such notable contributions to our Nation,” said Nychuk. “I became familiar with some of Audreen Hourie’s work while employed at the Louis Riel Institute as a research assistant this past summer working with the late Lawrie Barkwell.”

Kowalski is a research assistant with The Six Seasons of the Asiniskow Ithiniwak collaborative, multi-year project that works with northern Manitoba’s Asiniskow Ithiniwak (Rocky Cree) to reclaim their history by revitalizing their stories of cultural identity, with Dr. Mavis Reimer (Dean of Graduate Studies, Department of English).

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