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- Indigenous Graduate Students
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- Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies in Graduate Studies
Hey Indigenous students!
Join our panelists as they discuss their MEd, MA and PhD experiences, including some challenges and the current supports available at SFU.
An ample amount of time will be set for a Q&A period so that both undergraduates interested in applying to graduate school and those already in MA & PhD programs can ask questions.
- Do you want to go to grad school?
- Are you a current grad student looking for ways to weave Indigenous ways of knowing and being into your defense/thesis/dissertation?
- Do you feel isolated, overwhelmed or uninspired in your studies?
The intent of this event is to demystify graduate school.
- The importance of relationships and utilizing the SAGE network
- Connecting your program through the annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium
- Resources available at the SFU Library
- How to “Indigenize” your MA or PhD defense/thesis/dissertation writing
- Supervisory committees
Jessica La Rochelle
Indigenous Student Recruitment & Admission
Jessica La Rochelle is the granddaughter of Siyamtelot and Swelimeltxw (Shirley and Rudy Leon). She shares her traditional name, Lhkwemiya, with her mother. Jessica is Stó:lō, Okanagan, and Trinidadian. Jessica joined SFU as the Director, Indigenous Student Recruitment & Admission in August 2020. Jessica completed both her Bachelor of Arts degree and MEd in Educational Administration and Leadership with a focus on Leadership in Indigenous Education at UBC in 2006 and 2018, respectively.
Learn more about Jessica →
Jessica La Rochelle is the granddaughter of Siyamtelot and Swelimeltxw (Shirley and Rudy Leon). She shares her traditional name, Lhkwemiya, with her mother. Her great-grandfather gave her mother the name and it was passed on to Jessica by her maternal grandparents. There is a set of mountains known as the three sisters near her home territory; her name refers to the third sister as her mother is the third sister in her family. Jessica is Stó:lō, Okanagan, and also has Trinidadian ancestry on her father’s side. She was raised in Sts’ailes (Chehalis Band) by her kwiyó:s (aunt and uncle) as a daughter of their heart. Jessica joined SFU as the Director, Indigenous Student Recruitment & Admission in August 2020. She was previously the Assistant Director of NITEP, the Indigenous Teacher Education Program, and the Manager for Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) from September 2010 to July 2020. Jessica completed her both her Bachelor of Arts degree and MEd in Educational Administration and Leadership with a focus on Leadership in Indigenous Education at UBC in 2006 and 2018, respectively. Jessica continues to be motivated and inspired by current and future Indigenous students to provide an engaging and positive learning experience and evoke change in education.
“I am so grateful to work in an environment that fuels my passion for Indigenous education and feeds my spirit. Through my work, I am able to connect with Indigenous communities to engage with potential students and educational leaders to recruit them to our programs, work with an amazing team of educators and strong advocates, engage with leaders in Indigenous education to promote and facilitate reconciliation and resurgence, and connect with colleagues within Simon Fraser University to support and empower Indigenous students. My former roles as a Wellness Liaison, the lead for the NITEP Mental Health and Wellness program and member (former chair) of the Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellness Working Group, I am passionate about creating and maintaining safe spaces for students to have meaningful discussions about mental health and also what it means to be an Indigenous student at a mainstream university.”
Ashley Edwards is a Métis, Dutch, and Scottish librarian with SFU Library. She holds a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta, a BA in Adult Education and a library technician diploma from the University of the Fraser Valley. Her current position is Indigenous Initiatives and Instruction, and she has been developing the library's Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre. Ashley grew up on Stó:lō territory, in the Fraser Valley, and feels a deep connection to the landscape. While learning Stó:lō stories of the land, waterways, and animals, she developed an interest in how libraries can bring land based stories and teachings into a space that is traditionally textual.
Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian is a visual storyteller, scholar, writer and editor who is from Splatsin, one of the 17 communities of the Secwepemc Nation. She also honours her Syilx ancestry. She is the eldest of 10, has one daughter and over 65 nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and as of Oct 2021 two great, great nieces. She serves as the Associate Director, Indigenous Policy & Pedagogy in the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies at SFU. Dorothy Cucwla-7 also sits on the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory at SFU.
Indigenous Student Centre
Kaylena Ryan comes from the Secwépemc, Gitxsan and Tsimshian Nations, born and raised on unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territory and a proud mother of one daughter. She is the current Associate Director with the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) at SFU. She was previously an Indigenous Student Life Coordinator with the ISC and is an SFU alumnus from 2017. Kaylena believes in the power of education for Indigenous peoples, she takes great care in supporting and advocating for Indigenous students and their success at SFU.