The mission of the Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation is to increase the number of Indigenous students graduating from pure and applied science, engineering, and mathematics programs in Canada.
The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation Program addresses the under-representation of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students at Canadian universities. One of the factors contributing to this is the lack of academic role models for Indigenous students.
Our Foundation addresses this by offering scholarships to Indigenous students in grades 11 and 12 to spend a week at a Canadian university, interacting with scientists in their research laboratories. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our week-long program is offered and will return to in-person lab research when it is safe to do so. During the week instruction on campus (or virtually) the students have the opportunity to meet role models, learn about the support systems that are available to them on campus and experience the excitement of doing research. The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation Program develops motivated role models who foster the importance of graduating from high school and obtaining a postsecondary education
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