Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s department of geography and the environment is celebrating the life of KPU student Brian Nadjiwon by creating a scholarship in his honour.
Hosted and administered by Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (EGBC) so it can reach a province-wide audience, the Brian Nadjiwon Scholarship will support Indigenous students studying geosciences at B.C. post-secondary institutions. The scholarship will accept its first applicants this fall.
Nadjiwon had completed a bachelor of technology in information technology at KPU and was studying for a bachelor of arts in geography at the university when he died in August 2020.
“Brian loved the geological sciences and to lose his potential contributions to the field is really sad, for the science and for Brian,” says Dr. Leonora King, a geography instructor at KPU who had Brian for three classes. “What I thought was, Brian couldn’t achieve his dream but maybe we could help someone else do that.
“One of the things I love about Kwantlen is that we have small classes and a pretty diverse student body, including mature students. So, Brian came in for class and what stood out to me immediately was his huge passion for the geosciences, right away his hand shoots up and he is asking questions and almost testing me to see how I could help answer his questions.”
While this scholarship commemorates Nadjiwon and his passion for geology, the aim of this scholarship is to increase representation of Indigenous people in the geosciences. Indigenous peoples are typically underrepresented in the geoscience and natural resource workforce, despite geoscience-related sectors frequently operating on unceded Indigenous lands.
Nadjiwon’s Indigenous identity, the historical treatment of Indigenous peoples and the complex relationship between the geosciences, Indigenous peoples and lands made it feel appropriate to memorialize him this way, says King.
A member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, Nadjiwon moved to B.C. from the Toronto area. He had worked for Microsoft, IBM and the Federal Government's CRA department where he helped install Canada's first national computer network.
“Soon after Brian passed, Leonora and the KPU geography department let me know that they wanted to create a scholarship in my brother’s memory,” says his brother Brent Nadjiwon. “I felt so honoured that they wanted to pay tribute to my brother in this way.
“Brian and I both had difficult lives and we only reconnected a few years ago before his passing. I was grateful to be able to spend those years with him and I happy that KPU is creating this scholarship to keep my brother’s memory alive.”
Eligible students can visit the EGBC Brian Nadjiwon Scholarship web page for details on how to apply.
Visit the fundraising page to make a financial contribution to the Brian Nadjiwon Scholarship. A tax receipt will be generated.