Metro Vancouver, B.C. – Samantha Peters says she’s a bit of an anomaly when it comes to her situation as a student.
A member of the Gitxsan First Nation, the 29-year-old’s band has funded her entire education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), where she is pursuing a degree in entrepreneurial leadership. It’s an act of generosity she says she’s extremely grateful for, especially since she knows many Aboriginal students face challenges when it comes to funding the pursuit of higher education.
“I was lucky that my education has been completely funded by my band,” said Peters, who will graduate from KPU later this year. “I simply wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that funding, I wouldn’t be where I am on my own.”
This year, KPU is introducing a new scholarship program available for Aboriginal, First Nations, Metis and Inuit students enrolling in any program at the university. Two awards of $5,000 are available for the fall semester and one award for the same amount will be available for spring.
“Some students' bands won’t fund them. This scholarship ensures that students who can’t get the funding support from their band will still be able to pursue an education,” Peters said. “They show the interest in being in school but they need help, so why not help them?”
Peters herself was drawn to KPU because of the university’s small class sizes and hands-on training opportunities. “I’d heard from students at other universities that the classes were so big that you don’t get recognized by the professor,” she said, “and I really wanted that connection.”
Her courses have also connected her to industry: she found work at HSBC Bank Canada as a fraud detection specialist through a KPU co-op program. She also added that the classes she’s taken have prepared her for a real-world career.
“I didn’t want to walk out of a degree program with just a piece of paper. I’ve been a consultant and I’ve written reports, I can show employers that I can do that. Other programs just aren’t as hands-on so that was a big draw for sure,” said Peters.
“This experience has been really rewarding.”
The application deadline for KPU’s Aboriginal Entrance Scholarship is April 11. More information is available at kpu.ca/awards.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has served the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 learners. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs in business, liberal arts, design, health, science and horticulture, trades and technology, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 120 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at kpu.ca.