Three Master’s In Development Practice (MDP): Indigenous Development students have been recognized with prestigious scholarships.
The scholarship will allow me to spend more time with my family and (on my) studies, and alleviates some of the financial pressure of being a graduate student.
Jessica Boucher-Cowie, Daniel Nychuk, and Amber Balan are half of the six recipients of the $3,000 National Indigenous Economic Education Foundation (NIEEF) Scholarship. This honour is awarded annually by the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO), which a Indigenous-controlled, community-based, membership-driven non-profit society.
“We enthusiastically congratulate Amber, Daniel, and Jessica on their recognition with a NIEFF Scholarship,” said Dr. Manish Pandey, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. “We’re proud to have them in the MDP program and look forward to supporting them as they grow as scholars and share their knowledge and perspectives with others.”
Meet the recipients!
Balan says her time in the MDP program has deepened her understanding of Anishinaabe-Indigenous worldviews, as well as historical and systemic issues facing Indigenous peoples today.
“The program places Indigenous culture and knowledge at the centre of sustainable development,” she said. “I am confident that I will be able to use my previous knowledge and skills in the health field and combine them with what I have learned in the MDP program to work in a career in which I will be able to advocate for the development of programming and policies that will address inequities and barriers to health and wellness of Indigenous people.”
After hearing about the NIEEF Scholarship through an employment counsellor, she decided to apply because of her interest in Indigenous economic development and appreciation for the relationship that exists between economic position and health.
When Balan found out she was one of six students to receive the scholarship, she was overwhelmed with gratitude.
“The scholarship will allow me to spend more time with my family and (on my) studies, and alleviates some of the financial pressure of being a graduate student,” said Balan, who is a mother of six children.
When Balan finishes the MDP program, she plans on pursuing a career in the health sector. She also hopes to one day get a PhD in community health sciences and do further research in maternal and child health.
Even though this is only his first semester in the MDP program, Nychuk says he’s already learned so many valuable lessons that he will carry with him to a career.
“My first term had courses like Indigenous Thoughts and Worldviews, Indigenous Research Methods, and Health and Sustainable Development, all of which were taught by Indigenous teachers and brought an Indigenous worldview that I had not experienced in prior classes,” he said. “I am also looking forward to the opportunity to apply my knowledge to the real world through the two work placements that are required in the curriculum.”
After learning about the NIEEF Scholarship from Jennifer Ledoux, MDP Career Counsellor, and while attending the CANDO Economic Development Youth Summit, he knew he had to apply.
Nychuk says he was honoured to receive the scholarship and excited to see two other colleagues recognized as well.
“I was happy to see that other MDP students had also been chosen. It not only shows how great the program is, but also the great work that my classmates are doing,” he said. “It was nice to read about the other recipients and to see that the future of Indigenous economic development is bright.”
When he completes the MDP program, Nychuk wants to use his education and skillset to strengthen Indigenous communities.
“My hope is to work in Indigenous economic development and build a foundation of knowledge and relationships to help strengthen and restore our Indigenous communities.”
Boucher-Cowie arrived on campus in 2013 and has a Bachelor of Arts double major in International Development and Conflict Resolution Studies.
After learning about the MDP program and how Indigenous knowledge and experiences are at the core of the curriculum, she knew she would be pursuing a master’s degree at UWinnipeg.
“The MDP program has allowed me to get in touch with my Indigenous heritage and study development through an Indigenous lens,” she said. “As I near my final term of coursework with MDP, I feel prepared to enter the workforce and value the skills, knowledge, and network that MDP has provided.”
While learning about scholarship, award, and bursary opportunities, Boucher-Cowie discovered the NIEEF Scholarship and knew it was a great opportunity for her.
“I was very excited when I found out I was one of six recipients of this year’s NIEEF Scholarship,” she said. “I am grateful for this scholarship and all of the support I have received over the course of the year to continue my studies, as without it I would be unable to afford a full-time course load.”
After Boucher-Cowie graduates in 2023, she plans on potentially pursuing a PhD.
While she’s not exactly sure what the future holds, she does want to make a real difference in the community.
“I would like to stay in Winnipeg, as it is my home city, and contribute in some capacity to the promotion of Indigenous rights and community development.”
Learn more about UWinnipeg’s Master’s In Development Practice (MDP): Indigenous Development program.