Convocation Reflections: Emerald UnRuh

October 05, 2021

I'm Métis, and plan to have a career focussed on serving Indigenous communities - choosing to major in Indigenous studies at SFU seemed like the perfect way to honour my community and family while taking the time to ground myself in Indigenous knowledge. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to study in this area during my time at SFU, as I was exposed to Indigenous literature, ways of knowing, and community that I may not have otherwise been able to access. My minor in Political Science has really enhanced and complemented my studies, as it's another area of interest and one that will likely serve me as I am quite drawn to policy work.

As a transfer student, I had only been at SFU for six months when the pandemic began and we made the sudden transition to online classes and extracurriculars, but I was so lucky to find belonging and community at the Indigenous Student's Centre (ISC). The ISC is so supportive and provided a space to bond with other students, access services, find guidance, and have a place to belong. With online learning during the pandemic, participating in book club meetings, check ins, and cultural activities created community and helped me stay connected.

One of my favourite courses was INDG 327: Aboriginal Women in Canada with Dr. Jeannie Morgan – I learned so many valuable things in that course that affect the work that I do everyday! I still regularly refer back to the assigned readings from that course and recommend it to anyone who asks. My favourite professor was Maddie Knickerbocker, and I took absolutely every course possible with her! She was incredibly supportive, and helped me both in and outside of the classroom with learning, scholarship applications, and advice on my career. I'm so incredibly grateful to her, and hope that she is enjoying her new position at KPU!

Now that I'm finished my degree, I'm looking forward to starting my career! I just made the move to Victoria to start my new job as a policy analyst with the Ministry of Health, and am excited to be learning new things and growing professionally. In the future I would like to return for a graduate degree, but I am happy to be taking a break from the classroom to really think about my next steps academically. I'm also hoping as things start opening up and getting safer that I'll be able to travel and see more of the world!

For me, the support of my friends, family, and community have meant everything, and I am so grateful for everyone who has been rooting for me. My advice to new undergraduate students would be to not be afraid to reach out to your loved ones – they are here to support you, and this won't always be easy! Take your time, make mistakes, be gentle on yourself and learn all you can both in and outside of the classroom during your time at SFU.