Meet the 2023 recipients of the FNIGC Student Bursary

The First Nations Information Centre (FNIGC) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 13th annual Student Bursary, which recognizes outstanding First Nations college or university students studying in fields related to the advancement of First Nations data sovereignty.

This year’s FNIGC Student Bursary recipients are Elizabeth Hunter, Jessica Chiblow, Kelsa Carmen, and Zach Bishop, each of whom will receive $2,500 and complimentary registration to FNIGC’s The Fundamentals of OCAP® online course.

Since it was first established in 2011, FNIGC’s Student Bursary program has awarded more than $73,000 to 35 First Nations post-secondary students. This year, FNIGC received 64 applications from First Nations post-secondary students from across Canada. The four finalists were selected by a committee established by the FNIGC’s Board of Directors.

“FNIGC believes that education is not only a tool for personal growth but also a catalyst for positive change within First Nations communities, a belief that is underscored by our continued commitment to our Student Bursary program” said FNIGC CEO Jonathan Dewar. “On behalf of FNIGC, I want to commend and congratulate this year’s bursary recipients. We are proud to support your academic progress and look forward to tracking your journey in the years ahead.”


Elizabeth Hunter

Elizabeth (Liz) Hunter is a member of the Stoney Nakoda from Goodstoney First Nation located in Mînî Thînî, Alberta, and works as a research analyst with the Centre for Collaborative Action on Indigenous Health Governance at Simon Fraser University. Simultaneously, she is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences with a minor in Indigenous studies.

With more than five years of experience working within Indigenous health organizations (which includes a recent role at the First Nations Health Authority) Liz brings a wealth of expertise to her work. Additionally, she is a certified doula drawing on Indigenous teachings and world views. Liz’s interest spans various areas including exploring sleep, women’s health, sustainability, biodiversity, disability, traditional food systems and Indigenous food sovereignty. She is preparing to begin a Master of Science (MSc) program to further explore Indigenous disability research.

Jessica Chiblow

Jessica Chiblow, from Mississauga First Nation, recently completed her second year in George Brown College’s Construction Engineering Technology program, which she did while juggling her responsibilities as single parent. As a 36-year-old single mother of one, she feels that the FNIGC Student Bursary has significantly lightened her load.  Jessica’s goal of becoming a Project Manager is fueled by a passion for construction and a dedication to sustainable construction industry practices.

Jessica is determined to excel academically and contribute to innovative, community enhancing projects. She wishes to express her sincere appreciation for FNIGC’s investment in her future, which not only alleviates the burden of expenses but also enables her to focus on her education and career aspirations.

Kelsa Carmen

Kelsa Carmen, a proud member of the We Wai Kai Nation (Cape Mudge Band), originates from Vancouver Island. Rooted in her Indigenous heritage and upbringing, her path into healthcare was motivated by a profound sense of duty to address the pressing needs of Indigenous communities. Armed with a Licensed Practical Nursing Diploma from Vancouver Island University, Kelsa is continuing her educational journey as she pursues a Bachelor of Health Science degree through Thompson Rivers University’s open learning program.

Kelsa envisions a future where healthcare delivery embodies a culture of accommodation, inclusivity, and respect. Kelsa aims to forge a healthier, more robust future for Indigenous communities across Vancouver Island and beyond.

Zach Bishop

Zach Bishop, a proud Indigenous student, is currently in his second year of the Commercial Flight and Aviation Leadership program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. He is a member of Rainy River First Nation and holds a deep passion for aviation, setting his sights on a career in commercial aviation. Despite numerous obstacles and challenges, Zach remains enthusiastic about continuing his studies and flight training. As an Indigenous student, he is committed to advancing Indigenous representation in the aviation industry, aspiring to serve as a role model for future generations. Zach expresses profound gratitude towards his mentors and community for their unwavering support in pursuing his aspirations.

For more information on the bursary application process, email [email protected].

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