The University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Graduate Studies launched the Pathways to Graduate Studies (P2GS) program in 2019.
Step out of your comfort zone and learn from a professor whose discipline differs from yours, as you may find new interests.
Now entering its fifth year, P2GS is a staple event on the University’s summer calendar and it has opened the door for dozens of Indigenous students to gain valuable research opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Student applications are currently being accepted for 2023 until Wednesday, March 29.
“We’re excited our program is continuing for its fifth consecutive year, as we have a record number of faculty members hoping to be paired with students,” said Dr. Melanie Martin, Professor in the Department of Physics. “We hope for a record number of applicants so we can pair them with exciting projects and talented faculty members. We’re also looking forward to some of our past participants and new students to become instructors in the program.”
P2GS is open to Indigenous students who have declared a major in a natural science and engineering field, or are planning to declare a major in a natural science and engineering field and will be enrolled in UWinnipeg classes for the 2023 Fall Term.
Throughout the four-week program, which runs from May 1 to 26, students will engage in science education during the morning and participate in a paid research program under the supervision of a UWinnipeg faculty member during the afternoon.
Eye-opening experience for both students and faculty members
Tegan Ledoux learned about the P2GS program last year and spent the summer working with Dr. Ed Cloutis, Professor in the Department of Geography and Director of the Centre for Terrestrial and Planetary Exploration (C-TAPE).
Ledoux, who’s long-term goal is to become a psychiatrist and work in the northern regions of Canada where health workers are scarce, says her time in the program was an eye-opening experience.
Originally entering P2GS as a neuroscience major, her time with Dr. Cloutis led her to discovering her passion for geography.
“I was fortunate to work with Dr. Cloutis and his research team, because they were very patient and understanding as I was initially majoring in another discipline and had no prior knowledge of geography,” she said. “My research was focused on Mars and Lunar meteorites using methods such as reflectance spectroscopy.”
Along with the research aspect of the program, Ledoux says she really enjoyed the workshops and the excursions, which included medicine picking, astrology, and dragon boat racing.
Going forward, Ledoux plans on pursuing a master’s in geography after finishing her undergraduate degree.
Last year was Dr. Cloutis’ first time as a researcher in the program.
“I think P2GS is a great program,” he said. “I recognize that diversity, not just in terms of what area of science you study, but also cultural and heritage, helps us broaden ways in which we can tackle these big science questions.”
He says the research being conducted at C-TAPE could apply to students studying a broad range of topics. This was true for Ledoux, who had no previous experience with Dr. Cloutis’ work.
“One of the great things about planetary exploration is that it involves so many fields of study, like geology, geography, chemistry, biology, and physics,” he said. “So, it can appeal to, and use the education gained by, students from many fields of science.”
He says Ledoux was a great addition to his research group and he was very happy to persuade her to continue working with him beyond the program.
Ledoux’s advice for students thinking about applying for the P2GS program is simple:
“Step out of your comfort zone and learn from a professor whose discipline differs from yours, as you may find new interests.”