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16 Nov 2021
De Beers Group is pleased to announce the 2021/2022 recipients of four post-secondary scholarships for Canadian women enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
This year’s award recipients – Angelina Arrowmaker, Caitlyn Beck, Isabelle Boucher, and Jena Lyons – are from the Northwest Territories and are enrolled in post-secondary studies in biomedical physiology, health sciences, life sciences, and psychiatric nursing, respectively.
These students join seven other Canadian women who are receiving the third instalment in a three-year scholarship, bringing the total scholarship amount awarded this year to US$43,200.
Of the seven renewing recipients, five are from the Northwest Territories, one is from Nunavut, and one is from Northern Ontario. Their fields of study include Bachelor of Science programs, neuroscience, chemical engineering, and engineering.
Mpumi Zikalala, Managing Director of De Beers Group Managed Operations, said: “As a global leader for inclusion and diversity, we are investing in scholarships to remove barriers and smooth the way for women to enter careers in STEM. We recognize that girls look up to the women in their communities who are paving the way in areas traditionally dominated by men. The young women who have received De Beers Group scholarships will serve as an example to future generations and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. It is exciting to be a part of this legacy.”
The scholarships are part of De Beers Group’s partnership with UN Women and the company’s commitment to Accelerate Equal Opportunity in the countries in which it operates. Priority for the scholarships is given to Indigenous women and women living in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Northern Ontario and Southern Alberta. The scholarships are administered by Scholarships Canada, which received more than 260 applications this year.
Since launching in 2018, 64 scholarships have been awarded to Canadian women through the De Beers Group/UN Women partnership. Twelve recipients attended the University of Waterloo, 18 were at the University of Calgary, and 34 scholarships were funded by De Beers through Scholarships Canada to help women from the NWT, Nunavut and Northern Ontario attend post secondary programs.
In March 2021, De Beers Group announced that it was extending its global partnership as a HeForShe Thematic Champion for UN Women for an additional five years. The five-year commitment will see De Beers Group enhance talent development and succession programs, extend training and awareness activities to encourage dialogue and challenge stereotypes, conduct regular reviews based on metrics and ongoing feedback, and enable access to STEM careers and education.
De Beers Group has also launched its Building Forever commitments in four key areas, which includes a focus on advancing women within our business and in local communities and will feature new scholarships to support Canadian women in STEM and women in trades.
Angelina (Angie) Arrowmaker
Simon Fraser University
Bachelor of Science | Biomedical Physiology
Angie Arrowmaker is an Indigenous student from the Tłı̨cho community of Wekweeti in the Northwest Territories. She is starting her first year of a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical physiology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Angie explained why it was so important for her to continue her education: “When you’re from a small community, you are not yet exposed to the rest of the world. You’re not aware of all the things you are able to do outside your community and you’re not taught or encouraged to dream big. It wasn’t until I moved to Yellowknife for high school that I became aware of all the opportunities out there.
“This scholarship will go towards financing my education in hopes of living out my dream of working in the North as a healthcare worker. I wish to serve as an inspiration for my community to show that anything is possible. I want them to know that although it may seem like the odds are not in our favour, we don’t have to allow barriers to define us. We are strong and resilient people, and are fully capable of doing great things.”
University of Toronto
Caitlyn Beck is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and is beginning her degree in Life Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is the first person in her family to leave the Northwest Territories to attend university in person directly following high school.
Caitlyn recognizes the positive impact that receiving the De Beers Group scholarship will have: “Receiving this award has not only helped me prepare for post-secondary education but has allowed for a more comfortable entry into a new and unknown environment. This award means that I will be able to continue my educational pursuits, which include being one of the few First Nations students in this field at the University of Toronto.
“This scholarship will allow me to be a positive role model to those in my community, as well as reinforcing a positive correlation between academic achievement and success after high school. I believe it is beneficial to have someone pursuing a STEM field, as there needs to be more representation of Indigenous women in this area. Being awarded the scholarship allows me to show others that academics are an important factor to success in the future.”
Bachelor of Health Sciences
Isabelle Boucher is a student from the Northwest Territories who is pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences undergraduate program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
With a passion for science and mathematics, Isabelle realized that a career in medicine would be the perfect way to fulfil her wish of helping others. With the support of her parents, she developed a strong work ethic and maintained a strong academic standing. “Receiving the De Beers Group award is bringing me one step closer to graduating in the medical field and attaining my goal of helping those around me. It will also allow me to give back to my community when I return as a doctor. I would love nothing more than to help the community that contributed to making me who I am today. It will be inspiring for the francophone, female, and Northern communities to see that they helped raise a young woman who won this significant and prestigious scholarship.
“Growing up in Yellowknife as a francophone and a young woman came with some painful challenges. Although those realities were difficult, they also taught me the importance of community. My community came together and supported each other when times were difficult. Growing up in the North also showed me the significance of receiving and giving in times of need; we are a strong community that always comes together when life is difficult.”
Psychiatric Nursing Diploma
After spending the past few years living and working as a social worker in several communities in the Northwest Territories, Jena Lyons is now pursuing a Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.
Jena explained why she decided to take the next step in her education: “It became apparent that to further support my community and grow my capacity, I needed more knowledge in order to become a mental health nurse. The De Beers Group Scholarship is significant, as it disrupts the narrative about women in society and particularly in education. This award encourages ongoing education, opportunity, and acknowledgement for women in the STEM field.
“I believe that the female perspective brings unique value to the medical profession. Living in the North has opened my perspective on the social issues and challenges faced by women who are living within colonized, isolated communities. I see this award as an opportunity to be a role model for young women and girls, as they watch us, and are inspired when women pursue their dreams.”