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$10,000 scholarship to help Indigenous Algoma U. student pursue her dreams

Desiree Boulter wants to branch out into the health sciences field
Desiree Boulter (1)
Desiree Boulter, of Bruce Mines, is a member of the Red Rock Indian Band and a third-year biology student at Algoma University.

An Algoma University student is one of three Indigenous students in Ontario to receive a $10,000 scholarship from Ontario Power Generation.

Desiree Boulter, 20, was not only surprised to receive word that she was awarded the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship but was shocked by the amount as well.

“I was so excited. I was screaming and kind of crying because when I applied, I didn’t think I was going to get any scholarship at all and it was a really big scholarship I got,” said the third-year biology student.

Named after a notable engineer in OPG’s history, the scholarship was established in 1995 by OPG’s predecessor, Ontario Hydro.

Boulter applied for scholarships in November through Indspire, a national Indigenous registered charity that disburses financial awards, delivers programs, and shares resources with the objective of increasing graduation rates for Indigenous students.

Candidates are considered for all applicable bursaries, scholarships, and awards.

Boulter, of Bruce Mines, is a member of the Red Rock Indian Band.

While the money will help pay next year’s tuition and the rent, the scholarship, she said, has also boosted her confidence and made her feel supported – both of which will help her better handle school-related challenges.

“Sometimes when you’re going to school it can get pretty stressful and overwhelming so it’s nice to know there are people out there who support you and want you to go out and get this education,” she said.

Boulter also appreciates that the scholarship is Indigenous focused. She says scholarships like this help Indigenous youth receive the financial support they need to pursue their educational goals.

“Indigenous people are under-represented in a lot of different fields right now so it definitely encourages Indigenous youth to go out and pursue their dreams.”

After graduation, Boulter wants to continue her education and branch out into the health sciences field and find a career on the medical research side of things.

She’s not yet sure what specific type of research that will be, but one thing she does know is that she will remain in Northern Ontario.

“I definitely want to stay in the north. I’m not a fan of big cities,” she said.

Brittney Pigeau, a Carleton University student from North Bay and member of the Marten Falls First Nation, and Tiffany Plain, a Lambton College student and a member of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia, are the other two recipients of the scholarship this year.