My name is Kyle Thomas and I am the Eastern Regional Manager for the In.Business Program through the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies (PCC) at Cape Breton University (CBU). Early in 2015, CBU partnered with Nipissing University in North Bay, ON as part of the nationwide expansion of the In.Business Program. As an employee of the PCC in the Eastern Region and as part of the partnership agreement between the two universities, I am based at Nipissing University and work closely with its Office of Aboriginal Initiatives. The PCC wanted to partner with universities across the country who share their vision and who are trailblazers in Aboriginal education initiatives, hence why Nipissing University was approached to be a partner. The Office of Aboriginal Initiatives at Nipissing University is very busy throughout the year by hosting leadership conferences, cultural activities, and recruiting Aboriginal high school students.
On February 10, 2016 Nipissing University’s Office of Aboriginal Initiative hosted the Aasgaabwitaadwin Leadership Conference here on campus. There was roughly 60 secondary school students that participated from Nipissing First Nation, North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Mattawa and Sundridge for a day of teachings and leadership activities. The day started out with an Elder Teaching Circle, outdoor leadership activities, as well as a workshop by local artist Sid Bobb from the artist-run company Aanmitaagzi. Students demonstrated their leadership skills throughout the day by participating in these activities and going out of their comfort zones while working with students from different schools.
Another important part of the day was the launch of www.futurefurther.ca featuring welcoming remarks from Nipissing University’s President Dr. Michael Degagne and student leaders. Future Further is a new initiative which has partnered with multiple universities in Ontario, including Nipissing University. The website is a dedicated resource that provides information on supports and services to Aboriginal students interested in, or already attending an Ontario university. Some items that can be found on the website include student Role Model videos telling their stories about their university experiences, as well as information/resources on admissions, financial aid, Aboriginal student services, and student life.
Eastern Regional Manager, In.Business