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Parent / Guardian FAQs

2022 VJKF Student Experiments

Who we are: 

The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation Program addresses the under-representation of First Nations, M├ętis, and Inuit students at Canadian universities. One of the factors contributing to this is the lack of academic role models for these students. The Foundation addresses this by offering scholarships to Indigenous students in grades 11 and 12 to spend a week at a Canadian university interacting and learning with professors and their teams. During their week on campus 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 VJKF Program develops motivated role models who foster the importance of graduating from high school and obtaining a postsecondary education.

What is required to apply?

Our VJKF In-Person Program is open to grade 11 and 12 high school students, with a prioritization of grade 11 students. Our application can be done online through our website or it can be printed and mailed or emailed in. The application requires a brief essay telling us why you want to attend the program, a letter of recommendation from a teacher or someone at your school, and a signed consent form from a parent or guardian if you are under the age of 18. 

Is it safe to go to campuses even though Covid-19 is still around?

The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation does not take Covid-19 protocol lightly. We are aware that many of our students are from vulnerable communities and access to resources such as healthcare can be limited. With that being said, the Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation looks at what our university partners are doing and projecting, how Covid-19 is trending, and extensive talks have been had to ensure the safety of our students and their families. If you or your student wishes to wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, etc. our team will have extra resources available for the duration of the Program.

Will the universities be open while the VJKF Program is happening?

Yes, the university will be open during the VJKF Program. However, the university will not be as busy as it would be during their Fall and Winter semesters which start in September and end in April. 

Will my student be staying with university students while at campus?

Typically our group will stay in the university residence halls with our group on the same floor in the same area. Most residence halls will not actively be housing university students. There can be instances where other groups are at the university and are staying in the residence as well, they can range from all age groups. It’s likely that we won't be the only group staying at the residence hall.  

How supervised are the students during the week? 

For each VJKF Program, the student's arrival is met by someone from the VJKF team. The number of students at each Program ranges from 10-30 students. The larger Programs will have more supervisors. Our team takes student safety very seriously, however as this Program is to show the life as a university student we will not have a direct eye on them 24/7. It is the students responsibility to arrive at breakfast, their class, and dinner on time. Our students are required to travel in their group pair to and from their classes. It can be arranged that a graduate student or mentor can meet the student and take them to and from their classes.

If my student is travelling by plane, who will pick them up from the airport and take them to the university?

You and your student would have spoken with a member of our team throughout the application and travel accommodation process. Our team will document a travel itinerary which will include pick up and drop off protocol. You and your student will know who will be meeting your student at the airport, and they will have a VJKF marker, or way to ensure the student knows who to look for.

Are all expenses really paid?

Thanks to our sponsors, donors, and fundraising efforts, students accepted into the VJKF Program are granted VJKF Program Scholarships. These Scholarships cover the cost of travel, accommodation, meals, and attending the Program along with campus activities. The costs not included are if the student wishes to purchase things from the university gift store, airport or snacks outside of meal times. 

My student told me about your Program but I would feel better having them apply if I knew more about the VJKF Program. Can I set up a meeting with someone on your team?

Yes, we want this process to go as smoothly as possible and our Program Director, Morgan Laboucan would love the opportunity to be able to schedule a phone call or virtual meeting. You can contact Morgan via email to coordinate a meeting. Her email address is:

Program Video


The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation logo

To increase the number of Indigenous students graduating from pure and applied science, engineering, and mathematics programs in Canada. Charity Registration #822843629 RR 0001

Picture of student in a lab with a microscope behind them.

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