My name is Ryan Powder. I am from Conklin, Alberta, and am of Métis heritage. Over the past two years, I was enrolled in the Natural Resource Technician (NRT) program at Portage College in Lac La Biche.
After receiving my high school diploma, my plan was to enroll myself in the NRT program for two years to receive the NRT diploma and have the title of an environmental technologist. I faced the challenge of finding income or financial support. I was considering working part time while I was in school, like many other college students do, but I also wanted to devote myself to my studies. In order to achieve giving all my time to learning and studying, I decided not to work and I started to look into funding programs for Indigenous people.
For the first year I applied and received funding from Rupert’s Land Institution, which was great, then I was told that Rupert’s Land only funds students for so many weeks, and my time was up. My counselor at Rupert’s Land Institution then told me about the Alberta Aboriginal Women’s Society ISET program, and that if I applied with them then they may be able to help me with funding for the last year of my studies.
My counsellor at Rupert’s Land then helped me connect with AAWS and apply with them. Right off the bat I dealt with Debra Schapansky, who helped me out greatly. Debra got me set up with AAWS to get funding for my last year. The money I received went into living allowance like, food, gas, bills, as well as to school costs like tuition and books. I am very grateful for the help I received from AAWS and recommend them to Indigenous women that wish to fulfill their dreams but have a financial barrier in the way.
With the help of AAWS I was able to focus, finish my studies, and I got my NRT Diploma. I am currently employed by an environmental company near my home town, and I thank the Alberta Aboriginal Women’s Society ISET program.